In January, I joined a Facebook Shopping Detox Group with some other women I am connected with via my former direct sales biz. The goal is to be mindful of what we are consuming and change behaviour, and stop spending money on unnecessary things. Of course, I have never felt that I was an over-shopper, or at least not over the last number of years. But the accountability of being in a group, even if they don’t know whether I purchased or not, has given me that small voice in my head, reminding me to be mindful.
Honestly…it has been life-changing.
As I said, I have been conscious of spending for a few years, since I had a large debt due to my retail business going bust several years back. But I was still consuming…just in a different way. When I looked at some of my more recent spending habits, I had replaced material things with spending on ‘knowledge’. I have taken online courses that I didn’t need, bought photography charts and filters and paid for other online stuff without thinking about it, because I was ‘investing’ in myself. And some has benefitted me. But I think twice now before clicking ‘Buy Now’. I think about whether I have time to complete the course, or whether or not that purchase is going to enrich my life in a way that I cannot get any other way.
I have been giving things away.
think know that I have mild hoarder tendencies. I equate things with memories. But since I started this challenge, I have been much more mindful about giving things away. Perhaps stuff I am not using, or stuff that was important to me in a venture of some kind, but no longer is important. I did quite a bit or jewelry hoarding after I left my jewelry biz – now I am doing another big purge and slowly selling things and giving it to people that need it much more than I am. If you are a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, you will know the song Give it Away, which is lyrically based on altruistic behaviour and selflessness. If you love something, giving it away brings joy to the recipient but also makes room for new energy to flow into your life.
Giving things away has brought me new riches.
It seems corny to say it, but by giving things away, I have made room for other spiritual stuff to come into my life. I have more freelance work than I have had in a year, and I have had to turn other things down. I am open to receiving new ideas, adventures and art has freely flowed for me, unlike it has in years past. The absence of ‘stuff’ or buying things to fill a hole, has completely left me. Funny enough, an old friend on Facebook said to me, “I always thought of you as the girl all about makeup and jewelry, but I am seeing a different side of you.” And I am still a jewelry and makeup girl – but with mindful shopping I know that purchasing more of that stuff isn’t what I need. I have to give and share the gifts that I have – like sharing about safe products, and mindful shopping (read here about where a lot of clothing donations end up…) and doing makeup, writing and helping others.
You might be asking yourself, well how can I do that if I sell jewelry or accessories or makeup or some other pretty thing that we want women to consume?
I am not anti-shopping by any means – I still love pretty things and I want to look nice – I am not saying to go 100% minimalist. But for me, every material thing should be replacing something or bringing me complete joy – and same for the people you sell it to, if that is what you do. I used to buy lipsticks almost bi-weekly because somehow I just couldn’t stay away from them. And since I wear lipstick everyday – and now I have two daughters scamming them also – I did use a lot of them up. But many I didn’t. So now I am mindful of what I buy, where it comes from and why I might need that colour of lipstick in my life. Think twice, buy once.
Some tips I can share about doing your own shopping detox:
- If you buy something new that you need, like shoes, take two pairs out of your closet that you no longer need and give them away.
- If your poison is home decor items, ask yourself if you really need it before bringing it home (most of us have way too many glasses, vases, tchotchkes than are useful). Is that item bringing you joy? How could that money be spent elsewhere?
- Ask yourself about that the money spent on what you are about to buy – could it be spent on a hotel weekend with your family? Or some other experience that will produce memories that will last way longer than the item?
- Every time you start to shop online – I always have windows open with items in shopping carts – wait 48 hours before submitting.
- Think of giving half of the money you would have spent to a charity, someone in need, or even your own retirement fund.
This may seem a bit woo-woo, but I can honestly say that I feel entirely changed by the process. And considering it was something I joined on a bit of a whim, reflecting on it 6 months in, I feel like I have – even just slightly – started living in a new way.
What are you going to give away? #giveitaway