I can’t even begin to tell you whether my problem was that I was frugal (or cheap, if you want to call it that) or whether I just didn’t want to waste money that I worked so hard for on “junk”. For one, I couldn’t afford high quality items. All I could afford was something that would last a short time, which just meant that I had to go out and buy another one soon.
Recently, I’ve been seriously contemplating giving myself a deadline on becoming a full fledged vegetarian. I’ve already cut way back on the amount of meat I eat, which, while healthier, was also less expensive. So I figured, why not? Then I watched a documentary called “Cowspiracy”, and that totally turned me off to consuming anything that had to do with animals. (You should check out the documentary if you haven’t seen it yet). It was then that I began to research becoming a vegan. After giving this a little thought, I realized becoming a vegan would mean that I could no longer wear my leather shoes, carry my leather purse, or use my leather wallet. Now, I’ve always loved leather because I thought real leather meant higher quality. I also would have to carefully monitor the products I was using, to ensure they weren’t tested on animals.
This was way too much.
In trying to decide whether to become a vegan, (because I didn’t want to eat or use anything that came from killing an animal or cruel treatment to them) I started to realize that it would be wasteful. I couldn’t become vegan! I couldn’t throw away the items derived from animals I already had. I started to ask myself, what would I do with my stuff? Would I donate it? Wouldn’t that encourage others to use animal products? Wouldn’t people call me a hypocrite if I continued to use them? This got me thinking about all the things I might have to get rid of, which in turn made me think of all the shit I actually had! Then I got to thinking about how much stuff everybody has. This caused me to freak out realizing how much unnecessary shit people waste their money on!
That’s when it hit me.
I don’t want to be a vegan, vegetarian, or any other label. What I did realize, is that I want to cut WAY back on the types of food I eat, the ingredients they contain and how long it took them to find me. I want to reduce the amount of things I used, the things I brought into my home, the amount of space they all took and the energy that was wasted on all of it.
I wanted to live a minimalist lifestyle and become a conscious consumer.
I shop at thrift stores and have for many years. Long before thrift store shopping was a trend. (My poor kids). I can’t imagine paying full price for something. My husband used to come home from Ross and tell me he got a good deal because the manufacturer’s retail price was $80 for a buttoned-down shirt he paid $40 for. “That was no deal. That was bullshit retail marketing” I would tell him. Besides, what about the 30 other buttoned-down shirts he had hanging in our tiny shared closet? I’ve also come to realize, I really dislike the Christmas holiday. I hate all the consumerism, that is. I know retail shops have to make money but everybody racing around and fighting over material items makes me sick.
I don’t even like decorating anymore.
Last year, we didn’t decorate for Christmas. I thought it was because my cats would destroy my Christmas tree, but if I’m being honest with myself, it was because I thought it was a huge waste of time and energy. I didn’t even want the outside of the house to be decorated, and I was glad my husband was too tired from work to drag down all the bins full of outdoor decorations from the attic, even though decorating the outside of the house is one of his favorite things to do.
And the stuff.
Oh, the stuff that we have up in that attic. Years and years and years of buying Christmas decorations, Halloween decorations, even Valentine’s Day decorations. I know it’s going to be crazy and exhausting. I also know, at times, I might want to just give up and burn my house down. But I’m determined to reduce the amount of material items in my home and really think about the items I want to bring into it. My home is my safe haven and I’m working really hard to make it a peaceful retreat for myself, my hard-working husband and our guests.
So I’ve created a list of 5 questions to ask myself as I begin this journey of conscious, minimalist living.
- Do my current commitments align with my priorities or are they just obligations?
- What 10 items are must haves that we cannot live without in our home?
- Are my thoughts full of things out of my control or am I giving my mind a rest regularly?
- Would this money in my wallet be better used to bring another item into my home, or to have an experience?
- Is what I’m about to read, hear or see enriching to my mind and body or is it just a time and noise filler?
How do you deal with sensory overload? I mean really, that’s what it all boils down to. Let me know, below in the comments. And if you liked this post, please share with your friends.
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This is such a great thought! I have been trying for the past few years to live a more minimalist lifestyle. The thing that really stood out for me was how much money I was spending on, like you say, “junk” items instead of just biting the bullet and paying more for high quality. Great post!
Thanks for your comment. It’s definitely a work in progress. The best thing is that the healthier foods that might be more expensive actual hold you over longer so you aren’t hungry sooner.