My Guidelines for Mindful Consumption

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As I said in my last post, I learned a lot in this first month of my Summer of Enough. I learned that sales are a huge trigger for me (still trying to figure out why). I realized that my goal is less about refraining from buying things, and more about becoming more mindful about what I consume–and not just when it comes to clothes. I learned that I needed some guidelines to live by until these guidelines become habits of mind.

After reading Cait Flander’s book, The Year of Less, I was inspired to create some guidelines for myself–a list of things that I’m able to buy and things that I should not. (You can find her rules to her yearlong shopping ban here.)

So here are my guidelines for more mindful consumption for the rest of my Summer of Enough (and hopefully beyond)…

What I’m Allowed to Spend Money On (But Only When Needed): 

  • Groceries
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, feminine products, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, skin care, etc.)
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Books (but only when I’ve finished all others)
  • Candles and diffusers (because self-care, they bring me so much joy)
  • Gifts for others

What I’m NOT Allowed to Spend Money On: 

  • Shoes (absolutely NO exceptions. I have more than enough.)
  • Clothes (especially black dresses and black t-shirts) *
  • Notebooks and stationery (including pens)
  • Household items (decor, furniture, etc.)
  • Electronics and appliances
  • Take-out coffee (unless catching up with friends)
  • Reusables (tote bags, cups, bottles, etc.)

*Knowing myself and my shopping habits, I know that it will be impossible for me to NOT spend any money on clothes so I’m going to try something that other capsule-wardrobers have tried. I am going to keep a list–a physical list of clothes that are gaps within my wardrobe. This list will be added to the bottom of my Closet Inventory page. Because I live in LA, I only switch out my wardrobe twice a year–once for Spring/Summer and another for Fall/Winter. After each season (and maybe even during), I’m going to keep a list of things that I felt was a gap in my wardrobe so that I can be a mindful consumer for when that next time of year rolls around half a year later. I can only buy things from this list. I know that this is going to be what I struggle with the most.

With Brandon starting graduate school in a few weeks and us living on my income, we’ve realized that we need to cut back on some things–mainly take-out coffee and eating out. This is going to take more planning on our part, but I think it’ll also help us eat better and healthier. We also understand that grabbing coffee and meals with friends is a huge part of our social lives, so we will not restrict ourselves to that (though if our friends want to cook and eat in, we are more than happy to do that too!). It’s been weeks since we’ve gone out for coffee, and for us coffee addicts who would get take-out coffee every day (sometimes twice a day), this is a huge feat. We also won’t restrict ourselves if we’re craving something that we can’t cook (here’s looking at you, In-N-Out). This arrangement has been working out great this Summer so I’m hoping that we can continue this.

I want to continue my decluttering journey and continue to let go of things in my wardrobe and in our home. Our hands soon might be forced to do this seeing as how we might be moving at the end of this year, but I am looking forward to continue to pare down our belongings. For the basic approved consumptions (i.e. groceries, toiletries, and cleaning supplies), I don’t think these will be much of an issue as we’re pretty good about using these up. What I’m not so good about consuming entirely are shoes, stationery, and books. Everything else on my list of unapproved shopping list is just not necessary right now and can definitely be pared down some more (ahem kitchen appliances).

Finally, if these are to last longer than this Summer, these guidelines are not set in stone. They can ebb and flow naturally with my life, but I’m hoping that these become engrained in me. Mindful consumption is my main goal. And if I do stray, I’m going to be gentle with myself.

(velé simple wallet)

3 Comments

    1. It’s definitely been hard for me—I am trying to change 28 years of bad habits and it won’t happen in a few months or even one year! I’ve done month-long bans just fine, but my habits don’t change too much afterwards. I’m hoping that this works for the long term! Good luck to you!

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