I do have to admit that the model in this photo looks super glamourous. …Big Celine tortoise sunglasses, a trendy velvet dress, layered necklaces, shopping bags, and an ear-to-ear grin. At first thought, I would say, “Ooh I should go get some new sunglasses” or “Ooh, I wish I had necklaces like that!” or “I could really get my mind off of stuff if I just went shopping right now.” But during this past year of my simple living journey, I’ve come to realize that most often when I feel the urge to go shopping it’s when I’m bored, feeling down, or I’ve been watching too many shopping haul videos on YouTube. You know the feeling.
The problem with compulsive shopping or constant mall wandering, though, is that it usually never solves the immediate issue that I am actually trying to remedy. In time, those issues often pile up unattended to and I end up having a huge pile of junk that I ended up buying as “retail therapy” instead.
SO WHAT DO I DO IF I FEEL THE ITCH FOR SOME RETAIL THERAPY?!
- Take a breath and smile. This may sound really weird, but I’ve recently discovered the power of making myself smile. I’m not saying that you should pretend to be happy ALL the time, but for some reason, when I take a moment to breathe and physically make myself smile I almost always get a little rush of contentment for even just a moment. Somehow the physical movement of wearing a small does wonders to help change our moods. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. If you don’t believe me, check out this article from NBC news about how smiling can trick your brain into happiness.
- Ask yourself some questions. Start with “Will this make my life easier?” “How will I store it?” “Do I already have something that serves the same purpose?” “What if I wait until tomorrow?” or one of my favorites, “If I don’t buy it, what will I be able to do/buy instead?”
- Try a capsule wardrobe challenge. There are tons fo great ones to try online. Project 333 by Courtney Carver is a popular one or you can glean some inspiration from Caroline Joy from Unfancy. I don’t stick to a strict capsule wardrobe, but I use a rotating system similar to the one Signe uses on her YouTube channel UseLess. Basically for the season, I have a set number of items (usually 50 or so) that are hung prepped and ready to be used daily in my closet. Everything else is stored away in a bin to be “shopped through” at the end of the season (this leads me to number 4).
- Go “shopping” in your house. Do you have items you haven’t used in a while? It can be so fun to rediscover them or try to use them in ways you hadn’t thought of before.
- Call a friend just to say “Hi.”
- Go “Marie Kondo” and start thanking your stuff out loud.
- Write down a physical wish list.
- Brainstorm outfit ideas on Pinterest Boards.
Avoiding impulse shopping can help avoid lots of guilt, shame, clutter, and a nasty credit card bill.
Try using these tips and your mental health and wallet will thank you.