I am good at not buying clothes for one reason – I know they will not fit. Since they don’t fulfil their primary reason, I don’t buy them. Easy.
But, my goodness, am I terrible at impulse buying in other areas.
Waffle maker? Yeah, sounds good. I like waffles.
Oooh, a pomegranate and bay leaf reed diffuser! Faaancy. Wait, what does pomegranate smell like?
Ooh, a sheet mask that looks like a tiger?? I like sheets! And masks! And tigers!
Okay, you get the idea.
So I’ve starting asking my planet-anxious self a question:
If I buy this thing, what will I do with it once it’s dead?
Now, when I mean ‘dead’, I mean no longer serving its purpose (to me).
Also, clearly I’m a little bit morbid.
So for an electrical device (like, I dunno, a blender), I’d have to think about where I’d store it while I was using it and how I’d have to get rid of it once it was broken or no longer useful to me.
I have problems and issues with throwing things out, so sometimes just something even having an extra layer of packaging that I deem unnecessary is enough to put me off. Because if it’s plastic, it has to go in the bin but if it’s recyclable, then I have to get the recycling bin out and ARKKGH THIS IS TOO MUCH THINKING EFFORT.
It has seriously helped reduce and refine my product purchasing having to think about what to do with the after effects of giving in to my impulse. I mean, yes, the easy answer is ‘chuck it in the bin.’ But then I start thinking about where it goes after it’s in the bin and landfill and all of that environmental awfulness and I just don’t want to be involved.
So I put it back.
I also think of all the things cluttering up my house where I didn’t ask myself this question beforehand and now suffer the guilty aftereffects of not wanting to put them in the bin but not knowing what to do with them now they are ‘dead’.
Thinking about how many ‘dead’ things are in my house really slams the brakes on any more purchases for a while.
There are two major loopholes to this that I still struggle with:
- Gifts for other people – because its purpose is to be given, the ‘dead’ness of it is something I don’t need to worry about once I’ve given it away! It’s not in my house! Not my job!
This “It’s a gift!” purchasing is even worse now that there’s a baby in the house because I assume what they ‘need’ which is my ‘gift’ to them, but then it does end up in my house. Urgh.
Thank goodness I have friends also having babies. Re-gift-athon!
2. Food. I really like eating. Like, really. So disposing of food isn’t really…hard. But disposing of some of the packaging is!
Looking at my purchase list for last month, asking myself this question meant that I spent more money on experiences, like classes or outings…and cookies.
It’s not perfect but it’s definitely something that stops me in my tracks once I reach for something attractive and shiny in a shop.
Self-control. It’s a muscle I’m working out.