Part two of buying more intentionally – interrupted

Good morning.  Part two was promised for yesterday, but I was interrupted by having to mindfully buying a vacuum cleaner, having managed to blow up mine.  Blogging time was, highly ironically, taken up by shopping online instead.

I cannot say I enjoyed the vacuum shopping particularly though – utterly boring.  We did discuss whether or not we should repair the vacuum, but as it was a fairly dramatic blowing out of motor and the remaining carcass smells really quite bad, we are abandoning it.  Fixing rather than replacing is of course a really important part of the process.  It is specifically not-shopping, rather than shopping.  My focus here is on the times when it feels we have run out of choices.

Yesterday’s shopping was a good example of the budget I mentioned earlier this week helping me enjoy shopping a bit more.   Buying things for the house used to be a bit freeform.  Sometimes I would not buy things that would be useful, because I thought they were too expensive, other times I would randomly buy things we probably did not need (Ikea I blame you).  Having to decide how much money to put aside for house decoration and maintenance (pretty much the same thing in my book) has helped make those decisions really clear and relatively painless.

I have found reducing plastic has been another way to simplify shopping.  It’s a good way to stop mindless purchase of beauty and hair products. It surprised me how much I did this.  Instead I have found one shop which sells bars of shampoo so I am working my way through their selection.  It will take me a while as the bars last a long time.  I stopped buying shower gels and liquid hand soaps and moved to soap instead, it has been great fun experimenting with different soaps and scents.  Some are great.  Some are awful, but it is definitely a more intentional process than buying whatever is on sale.

All in all, it seems that reducing choice and having some internal rules about what I can and cannot buy has helped enormously.  Less sense of overwhelm, a shared hobby or a specific purpose and surprisingly shopping has become much less of a dread.

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Buying more intentionally

One of my goals for this year was to be slower in life, to do things with more intention and more deliberately.   A surprising manifestation of this has been in shopping.  I am not a  lover of shopping, I found it stressful – there is too much choice, too much expectation to be buying things to make life better.  That never sat comfortably with me.

Somehow this year, I am enjoying shopping.  I have not yet managed to totally overcome the impulse to just buy things mindlessly and then feeling guilty afterwards, but a few things have definitely helped.

A decision to be more ethical in my purchasing, specifically about environmental impact of what I buy has been a transformation in my mindset.  The fashion industry is one of the major environmental culprits, guilty of mass-producing clothing in appalling working conditions, using and damaging a wealth of natural resources and all with the intention of forcing a complete change of wardrobe every month or so.  It seems that a seasonal wardrobe is no longer enough, we now have transition wardrobes, party wardrobes, holiday wardrobes.  I struggled hugely and refused to buy anything for ages and then overbought on impulse. I have found a form of clothes shopping I love – charity shops.  Not just any charity shop, but a specific few close to home, which I visit in a specific ritual involving hanging out with a teenage son, him browsing for vinyl and DVDs and us both having a fortifying coffee before we even contemplate shopping. So, a new wardrobe and a shared hobby with a teen.  Great result.

It is rather odd to realise that I look forward to clothes shopping, but I do.  I changed work hours this year and changed them to make sure I could still go shopping.  Ok, the coffee and hanging out with the teen are crucial parts, but still, there is also weekly shopping involved.

And it turns out that I have so much to say about shopping that this is going to be a two-part blog post – which is astounding me.  Part two tomorrow.

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Clothes shopping

I hate buying clothes. I think I always have.  As a young person it was lack of financial resources that seemed like the problem.  Now I am really clear it is the process.  I feel overwhelmed with choice, I feel confused by what will suit me, I loathe the whole trying it on process.  The problem gets worse because  I go shopping for clothes so rarely that the pressure on each shopping trip is way too high. I have to find something that suits me/fits/is affordable/right for purpose of the outfit and it all feels like the last chance saloon, because if I don’t find it today, I ain’t coming back.

Online shopping doesn’t seem any easier.  I buy things and leave them in the parcel for days whilst I pluck up the energy/courage/enthusiasm to try them on.  I feel like a failure when I have to return anything.

This is all totally ridiculous and I have no idea where it comes from.  Right now, is a crisis period, I need some new clothes and it all feels far too difficult.  I suspect the old problem of lack of financial resources is a problem still.  In order to find bargains it seems like you need to really shop around, and that is just not going to happen.  I love the concept of a capsule wardrobe, but lack the confidence to decide what goes into it.

For a while a friend sold seconds of high street brands and she had an excellent eye for what suits me, so it was like having an amazing personal shopper with really bargain prices for the clothes.  Sadly, for me anyway, she decided to move on from that venture.

I probably just have to bite the bullet and blinking well go shopping don’t I?  Wish me luck.

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