I am inside a Super-Store. Stuff is brimming out of shelves (with more in stores behind), Insanely filled shopping carts as if a potential nuclear war has been announced and people are stocking their bunkers for tough days.
Cash counters (many of them) are manned by happy looking people who want you to shop more and occasionally suggest you deal you may not need but may take anyway.
Men are shopping, so are women, kids, veterans, seniors like this is the last day and this is the last deal.
“I may need it and this seems to be a good deal.”
Shopping is no longer a chore.
It is how we celebrate,
It is how we relax.
It is how we beat stress,
It is how we feel adequate.
We go shopping!
When We are Happy,
When We are Not so Happy,
When We want to be Happy,
When We want to make someone else Happy.
Shopping is a therapy, hobby, addiction, and a stair to higher social order in this consumerism inflicted world.
Welcome to the world – Where companies, banks and media teams up every day to make you buy more stuff.
Guess Who wins every day?
Not Sure, But the consumer loses more often.
We are busy buying stuff (more of it), stocking it, not using it and feeling gloomy on the way (in the long run).
Does having more stuff brings more happiness?
Most agree, except a few.
For these Few, the world works on different assumptions about how things make you happy ? (if they do?)
Welcome to the world of Minimalism.
The world where ‘Stuff is Just Stuff’;
The world where ‘ Less is More’;
The world where ‘Happiness comes from Independence, Gratitude and getting away from the insane pursuit of buying what you don’t need’.
Mojo of Small Things decided to explore minimalism in action, and this is what we tried as a part of ‘Exploring Minimalism Article Series’-
Shopping like a Minimalist – The 4 Questions a You as a Shopper needs to ask?
Minimalist Shopper Question 01:
Do I really need to go shopping?
Conventional Shopper: Goes Shopping anyway.
Minimalist Shopper: Goes shopping with a purpose and a list in hand.
While conventional shopping helps you get great deals and lots of stuff – it rarely improves your quality of life.
You may end up buying stuff, which you may not use, with money that you may need later for the important stuff.
A minimalist shopper doesn’t relish shopping just for the sake of hoarding stuff – they shop to make their life better by having less but using it better.
‘Once you need less, You will always have more’
What to do?
- Make a list of all the stuff you consume regularly – refill them anyway.
- Before you buy see if you can rent the stuff that you don’t use regularly.
- Move on to the 2nd Question.
Minimalist Shopper Question 02:
How is this thing going to make my life better?
Conventional Shopper: HOPES that the purchase will make their life better.
Minimalist Shopper: KNOWS that the purchase will make their life better.
While a conventional shopper sees a product in isolation and just buys for direct benefits;
A minimalist shopper sees a product holistically and is clear about the potential benefits.
If you love going outdoors, Buying good quality sneakers and joining a walk-enthusiast community will make you walk more than paying through your nose for a glamorous and upscale gym membership.
The real value of a thing lies in what it does!
What to do?
- Before you buy, Visualize Whether that product makes your daily routines, habits and health better?
- Do you already have something which serves the same purpose? If Yes, better go for a nature walk (it may be a temptation – you don’t need to go actual shopping).
- If No, Move to the 3rd Question.
Minimalist Shopper Question 03:
Do I really need to buy it?
Conventional Shopper: I must OWN the stuff.
Minimalist Shopper: I must ensure that the desired benefit is delivered, with a minimum trade-off.
A conventional Shopper believes that owning stuff is the solution,
whereas A Minimalist shopper looks at the resulting benefit.
For instance: A conventional shopper may buy a vacuum cleaner irrespective of how frequently they do the cleaning stuff, whereas a minimalist shopper may either rent it, share it or better design a house which needs less vacuuming.
Get Stuff Done Now, Own things later (or never).
What to do?
- Believe in fair exchange and collaboration – the community you create is the community that helps.
- Rent, Share, Exchange and if required BUY Stuff.
- (if you are using it more than twice a fortnight – BUY.)
- Move to Question 04.
Minimalist Shopper Question 04:
If I buy it, Where am I going to keep it?
(which also covers – How much to buy?)
Conventional Shopper: I need to buy this, will sort out everything else later.
Minimalist Shopper: It will occupy space, which is my most prized stuff- let me sort this out first.
Sometimes buying new stuff, leads to more stuff being brought. So buying an additional car may prompt you to redo your garage or buy more space or install a surveillance system etc.
A minimalist shopper will work out the stuff-utility-space trade-off and then make the decision.
When you buy stuff, You just don’t buy stuff – You buy much more.
What to do?
- Before you go and buy stuff, Think of getting your old stuff sorted.
- Go back to Question 03- If the answer is YES – make space first- having less space may impact your life quality more than having some new stuff.
So before you Shop- Ask
Do I need to Buy this?
How is it going to make my life better?
Do I really need to own this stuff?
Where Am I going to store it?
And this will make all the difference.
Welcome to the world of shopping carts that are not loaded, credit cards bills that are not insomnia-inducing, shelves that hold the stuff you need and a sense of freedom from owning what you don’t need.
Welcome to Shopping like a Minimalist.
You may love to read
Minimalism 101: 05 Things you need to know to get better at (almost) everything.
Why ‘Owning’ may not be the right word when you talk about the things you have?
The 18 Day Minimalism Exploration Logbook.
We don’t add hyperlinks until and unless absolutely necessary – so as to ensure that you are not distracted while reading.