Thursday, January 28, 2016

Minimalisim - Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

Confession time:  A few weeks a friend asked me about my capsule wardrobe after reading the post I had written on Minimalizing My Life.  I was embarrassed to tell her I hadn't been following it too closely the last few months. Actually, I hadn't been following it at all; after I wrote that post I had a set back.

It all started before I went to Chicago with my best friend......

Here I was headed to a fashionable city with my equally fashionable friend and I felt frumpy. Because of this, on a whim, I went out and bought 3 new tops to take on my trip. One was something I had planned to buy for the fall, but the other two were not. I proceeded to wear the tops on the trip and felt frumpy anyway.......Actually, the times I felt chic and stylish were when I was wearing something I had already owned, items that I had given thought to purchasing, styles that looked best on my body type.
One of my impulse purchases. 

You would think that would have taught me a lesson? No, not really. The consumerism bug had bit me and I proceeded to buy several more things over the course of the last quarter of the year.  Ten new things to be exact.  Three were on my list of things I wanted to purchase for fall, four were things that were on my list of "wants" for the future, and three were something that were not even on a list. I also shopped up a storm for things for my house, although at least these things had been planned for.

I have talked before about how I used to be a shopaholic, and like any other addiction, it is easy for a person to get sucked back in to the addiction. This was the case for me over the last few months. Fortunately, I was not charging up a storm, using money I did not have.  I had a few successful eBay months which gave me the cash for my frivolous spending.

But it was frivolous consumerism just the same, and I have felt quite guilty about it even before my friend had asked me about my capsule wardrobe. My reasoning behind having a capsule wardrobe and not buying anything for a certain period of time is not only to help my shopping addiction, but also to get away from mindless consumerism that seems to be a plague in our country.

One thing I always struggle with is balance.  I could never be the minimalist who just gets by with the essentials in life, but on the other hand I don't want stuff to rule my life. I want to make thoughtful purchases, making sure what I am buying really is something that would be useful or needed.  On the other hand, I still love fashion and want my home to be comfortable. Not over the top with things filling ever surface, but comfortable, welcoming, and attractive.  What is a semi-minimalist to do?

Because of all my mindless spending the last part of 2015 I have recommitted myself moving forward to buying less and to thinking through my purchases.  This will encompass shopping for my home, my wardrobe, and even gifts to other people.   To help me along with not getting sucked back into the consumerism trap, I have started "Wish List" in a notebook.  In this notebook, I write down things that I'm wanting for my home or my wardrobe. Things on the list are things I have been actually thinking on for a long time, not something that caught my fancy this week.  Hopefully this list keeps me in check so I can differentiate between the purchase being something I've wanted for awhile, or something I randomly buy because it's cool.

 I've also been reevaluating the capsule wardrobe concept and will follow up with a blog post on that soon with my plans for it this year. I want to get to the point when my only reason for buying clothes is because something has worn out or become to big/small.  I also want to be able to give myself permission to wear any of the clothes in the wardrobe if the weather dictates....not just a certain set.

My warm waterproof boots had been on my list to buy ever since we moved here.  They will be perfect for walking on cold, wet days this winter and spring.  No regrets with this purchase after the snow storm last week! 

So that is my confession and plans for the future.  Hopefully my plans moving forward will help me stay strong and avoid consumerism driven purchase's in 2016.  It's really been two steps forward and one step back .....Maybe had I continued to blog about it I would have controlled myself because I was accountable to you all!!

How about you, friend?   How do you avoid getting sucked into consumerism? Any tips for me?


  1. I can relate to so much of this post! I get sucked it when I am anywhere near retail stores that I used to frequent, so I try to avoid them! I also try to make sure I am unsubscribe from any emails that want me to buy something. Additionally I don't follow many big brand retailers on social media. Lastly, I try to work on appreciating what I do have. (For example, all my clothes are on nice wood hangers..) That helps me a lot!

    1. I just need to stay out of TJ is my downfall every time! I have nice wooden hangers, too, and it is good for keeping myself on track. I am not going to buy new ones for new things. :-) I SO agree appreciating what I already have is key to being happy with less. Great tips, thanks for stopping by!

  2. I have recently picked up Garance Dore's book from the library and she makes some good points about style, including how when we start to know ourselves better, what works for us and what we really enjoy, it makes it easier to focus. I have struggled mostly with impulse buying. In that, I have found helpful to to make slow decisions. For instance, when I get way overexcited about an item (a sure trigger for me) I go to Polyvore and exhaust my creativity around it. I build boards to my heart's content until the feeling dies off. If it doesn't, I put myself on a time-out for about a week or two. I've been doing this for about three years now and I've found that over time, things have gotten easier. But give yourself a break, it takes time...

    1. Thank you for your encouragement and for stopping by! I will need to see if my library has that books, it sounds like it would be a good read for me. :-)