Modern commerce is all about identifying the need for a certain product before you even know you need it and that’s a good thing, because it made innovations such as the smartphone possible but, at the same time, this attitude also has a darker side: it encourages consumerism and compulsive purchase. With brands advertising their products aggressively and targeting ads based on client profiling, it is now increasingly difficult for the average person not to be assaulted by temptations everywhere. We get push notifications, personalized newsletters, Facebook ads and promotional phone calls every day, so how can you break the circle and shop more responsibly, only for things that you need and use?
Step 1: clear the clutter
You’d be surprised to see how many objects take up valuable space in your home without actually offering you anything. When you have a free weekend, have a look at every room in the house and take out all the objects that simply do not have any purpose, whether they are old appliances or decorations that you don’t love. You’ll be left with extra space, more room for breathing, and you’ll realize which things are essential in your household and which are nothing but unnecessary purchase. As for the items that you’re not sure about and don’t want to risk throwing them away, you can always rent a self storage unit and keep them there until you’ve decided what to do with them.
Step 2: buy new things only when you need them
As difficult as it might be to treat yourself every week, remember that there’s a very fine line between this and compulsive buying. So, before completing a purchase, ask yourself if you’re buying that product because you actually need it or because it’s on sale. To get rid of temptations, unsubscribe from all the newsletters and avoid the Black Friday or sales shopping madness. Buying cheap things on sale might make it seem like you’re saving money, but adding up all the monthly purchases, you’ll realize that you’re actually spending a lot. When it doubt, go by the two-week rule: if you’ve been thinking constantly about purchasing something for two weeks, then you probably should. If not, it was just a momentary fad that’s better ignored.
Step 3: reuse items whenever possible
Because it’s so easy to buy a new item once the old one no longer works, most of us have got used to throwing away nice things when they could still be used as something else. Need new vases? Why not decorate some glass milk bottles instead? Need a new throw for your armchair? Why not make one yourself from sweaters you no longer wear? Reusing and recycling are not only the major pillars of the “zero waste” policy, but also fun ideas for projects with the whole family!