Lifestyle,  Writing

My Life as a Half-Assed Minimalist (No-Buy Year Attempt)

“Babe”, I announced to my husband, Mike, as he sat on the couch, “this no-buy year is proving to be a wash.”

I had gone into it with the best of intentions last fall. I was inspired and riding the high of the minimalism blogs and podcasts I follow. This would be the answer! I would clean out every single superfluous thing. Our home would be tasteful and sterile like the magazines. I might even lose another fifteen pounds—-maybe shedding material possessions would coax my body to follow suit.

I was like a woman possessed. I tackled my books, and what I couldn’t sell, I donated. My shelves went from bursting at the seams to comfortably full. I cleaned out my skincare and streamlined it to only the products I would use over and over again. I brought three giant bags of clothes to Goodwill. I made a capsule jewelry wardrobe, which I mentioned here.

I was pleased with myself over all I had accomplished, but something loomed over my head: The No-Buy Year. This was, to me, the ultimate proof of my commitment to living a simpler life: an entire year with no purchases, save for the basic human needs, such as food and hygienic items. It would be amazing, freeing, and I would save so much money. I went into 2019 ready to embrace the new me.

I crashed and burned, hard. We are more than halfway through February, and I am absolutely not following this rule at all. As someone who is pretty hard on themselves, I was struggling to combat the idea that I had failed. I wasn’t a minimalist!

I felt like I was staring down my past as it taunted me, daring me to try to improve.

My parents went through a divorce when I was younger, and as a result, my mother struggled financially for years. When I finally found a good job, and then later combined incomes with my husband, I went a little crazy. I would receive packages in the mail I had already forgotten I’d purchased. I was buying just to buy, but I wasn’t happy, or fulfilled. I found it stressful to see all of the items in our home. It felt chaotic.

The concept of a minimalist, and the definition, is something up for debate. Some believe if you simply try to live with less, you are a minimalist. Some believe you aren’t one unless you can fit all your possessions into one box and own no furniture. There has to be a happy medium, and I am realizing I am exactly in the middle.

My purchases have changed, even if my no-buy goal didn’t come to pass.

The items I buy now are not products of a mindless shopping spree, but thoughtfully selected items that I get enjoyment from. Cotton cardigans that can be worn to work over and over without pilling. An insulated water bottle with a lifetime guarantee. High-quality jewelry. One designer blush to replace five other blushes in my makeup drawer. A book I’ve been wanting to read that’s on sale in the Kindle store.

Maybe next year I will finally be ready to really try a no-buy year. Maybe I won’t. I am thinking mindfully of my purchases like never before, and my house has much less clutter than it once did. When I remember this, I know my “fail” is not truly a fail, but just another step in the right direction.

P.S. This will be part of a series on this site, where I will be offering little tips that helped me curb my shopping addiction. I hope you all will join me!


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