Monthly Archives: November 2014

Consuming and Acquiring

People who know I am intentionally going through a journey to change how I consume might either raise an eyebrow when I make a purchase or roll their eyes heavenward if I refuse to buy something that isn’t just right. Here’s one of my secrets: I still like to shop. It still gives me a thrill to buy something new – but it must be done intentionally in order for me to not regret my decision.

A huge part of this transformation from excessive consumerism to minimalism has been to re-wire how I look at purchases. Here are some thoughts from my current shopping woes with notes on how you can apply this to your purchases. 

Minimalism doesn’t mean you don’t want or need to acquire something new.

I need a new camisole. Well, need isn’t the right word. I have three camisoles and I would like to have another. One of my camisoles is very pretty, but it is black, so I cannot wear it under every shirt. The other two are pretty plain. So, I would like a pretty camisole I can wear under light-colored shirts.

The idea started as an observation turned goal-oriented shopping venture. I am petite in the torso which makes almost every undergarment mass produced for women unusable. Bras are hopeless. Who special orders a 28A? (Nobody.) And, I am a woman, after all. Acquiring a pretty camisole seems just the thing to do.

Minimalism frequently means you can enjoy the shopping experience and take your time. You know there is no urgency in acquiring something you have been living without for all this time. You also know that if you are going to add to your possessions every item you add should be something you either love or find useful.

Last week I stopped in a few shops to peruse the selections. Almost everything is made with synthetic materials, which means the shirt will not be comfortable in warm weather. “Pretty” camisoles are see-through. Not exactly suited to my purpose. Non-see-through camisoles are classified as “shapewear” or are made of this horrible, synthetic, stretchy material that rides up as you go through your day (and doesn’t even make a good dusting cloth when you purge it from your wardrobe). Can’t a girl just find a pretty undershirt made by free working adults with natural fibers?

This week I went online to shop around. I can, in fact, buy a wool undershirt for about $40 plus shipping. It is sporty/not pretty, so that is not really what I wanted. A pretty wool undershirt runs anywhere from $40 to $200 or more. This should not be so difficult. D can buy a package of cotton undershirts for $20. (Note: I know nothing about the companies hyperlinked here. They are just examples for my post.)

As you may know, I recently took a part-time job so I may maximize time at home. This fantastic lifestyle change tends to minimize the amount of unclaimed cash laying around.  I have three undershirts; spending $40 on something I do not need seems kind of silly. However, for some people this may be where the process ends. If I had the extra money, I might have purchased one of those expensive camisoles if I knew I would love it.

When you are sensitive about acquiring new things, you want to make each acquisition count. Buying from a company/individual you trust, or buying second-hand, are frequently great options. Sometimes acquiring something can also be journey through a craft or DIY project.

It finally dawned on me that I can make exactly what I want. I know how to knit and how to sew. You might even say I’m good at it. I’m entering a new era of parenthood where I find more blocks of time to do something for myself, which still feels kind of unnatural, which is probably why I didn’t think to look for a knitting or sewing pattern right away.

In the name of minimalism, I have not been buying yarn like I used to do. The yarn stash has been rehomed to two of my dresser drawers (take a moment to appreciate what I have gone through in order to de-stash to just two drawers of yarn, please). I am determined to either use it up or give it away before buying new yarn.  My favorite kind of yarn is finger weight, which is perfect for my purpose here.

Naturally, like a good knitter, I checked out before going any further. I found thousands of beautiful patterns. I am going to think on it a little longer, but I think I like this one or maybe this one. I probably have enough yarn to make both…

Minimalism also means you do not overload your own plate.

This project just moved up in my queue of things to do, which is great because I need free activities to fill up my time. However, I am working on D’s Christmas gift right at the moment. I have a strict knitting policy which states I may not start a new project while another is in progress, because that would sabotage both projects. When I have the cash handy this policy will be put on a plaque and hung on my bedroom wall. (Not really.)

So, for now, I am content with my three undershirts and knowing a fourth is in the research phase. And you know what? I’m enjoying the research phase. There is no rush, and this journey is actually pretty fun.

Did I miss anything? Feel free to add your own shopping insights to the comments to share with others.