Minimalism is still huge, right? Well, as far as I know it is, and whilst I genuinely admire and respect the movement (you’ll regularly find me purging our house to donate things we no longer use), I have my limits.
The truth is, I love to buy things. Not for the sake of buying things, but because I am a magpie and love having my surroundings filled with pretty things. Do these things need to be wildly expensive or one of a kind? No, but they do need to make me happy.
When you talk about minimalism, a lot of people assume that you don’t own any furniture and your life revolves around the washing machine. I’m sure there are people like that in the world, but that’s not me. I like having my walls covered in art, and I like having my books on display and I like collecting things that have meaning to me. I like having options when I get dressed in the morning, and I like buying beautiful clothes that make me feel confident when I wear them.
I’d like to brag about how conscious I’ve always been, and how I’ve never bought a thing I didn’t wholeheartedly want or need in my entire life – but that would be a big fat lie. I’ve always had a strange relationship with money, because I know how to save it, I know how to spend it, and I know how to earn it, but I’ve been known to abuse it. To spend for the sake of spending. To buy garments because they were cheap and because they looked good on the mannequin (hint: they rarely look as good on you as they do on the plastic doll). To splurge on things I didn’t particularly want or need just for the sake of being able to buy them.
It’s such a gross mentality to have, but hey, I grew up in a consumerism-based society. It’s normal, right? It’s funny because I knew I had a problem and yet continued to shop anyway. One memory will always come to mind when I think of this – I had just moved to Cairns and was going to be staying here for 4-6 weeks before moving out to my parents house for the summer and I had a decent bit of money saved up. We were staying near a shopping complex, so naturally, when I was bored after the first couple of days I went shopping. I bought SO MANY THINGS that made my already overflowing suitcase now refused to close, and by the end of the 6 weeks I had barely worn any of them. What made this all worse is that I didn’t have any source of income at the time. I spent a huge chunk of my money on clothing, for the sake of being able to own something new. It was disgusting. I was an idiot. But I was also a teenager who didn’t know any better.
Fast forward three years and I don’t have that luxury of spending to feel better. Yes, I still LOVE buying things, especially the things I put on my wishlist and get to cross off after months of lusting over, but I’m definitely a lot more calculating about it now. As in, bills and food first, leisure items last.
You’ve probably been reading this and wondering to yourself, what does this have to do with minimalism, Vivienne? Or conscious living, for that matter?
Well, I wanted to share that story because it’s important to remember that we aren’t perfect, but we can also change our ways if we want to. Even when I do save up and have a decent chunk of cash to spend, I only purchase the items I either instantly fall in love with, have been wanting for ages or things I know I’ll keep for years to come (books, records, overalls, etc.).
Particularly with the fast fashion industry – we can no longer deny the negative impacts it’s having on our planet. It’s horrifying and makes me so disappointed that we are willing to sacrifice the environment and create such a substantial amount of waste for the sake of being on trend. I’ve never been one for trends, but this knowledge has made me avoid them that much more.
Sure, it’s great that gingham is cool again and 70’s silhouettes are easier to find, but it doesn’t mean that we have to buy these things for the sake of buying, only to wear them a couple of times before throwing them out. I hate that I was even a part of that culture, and am definitely paying for it now knowing that I’ve given up some truly great jackets and shirts over the years (oh, the regret!).
It’s hard, because I don’t like the idea of holding on to things simply because I may one day use/wear them again. But on the other end of the spectrum, I loathe the idea of getting rid of something only to long for it a few months later. Stupid, I know, but it’s a predicament many of us face which usually leads to buying another version of the item later on, only to end up in the same ridiculous cycle.
If you anything from this post than I hope it’s to be more concious when you shop. Actually think about how much you like the item, and how often it will be worn/used, what other items (in your wardrobe) it can work with, and if it’s a pricier item, will the cost per wear be worth it?
I’ll never stop buying pretty things, and I’ll never stop decorating my house, but at least when I do, I can say that I did it with a clear conscious and a happy wallet.
Till next time,