I'm the first one to admit that I don't really shop all that much anymore. Ever since I lived on our small 37-foot sailboat (for 3.5 years), I realized that having lots of stuff is completely unnecessary. Not only that but it's downright wasteful and it weighs you down. Sure there were often times when I missed or longed for certain items that I didn't or couldn't have in such a small space, but it was liberating to know that I could survive off of just one backpack of stuff. Nowadays I live in a much bigger space, but I still carry around some of those principals that I learned from small space living.
Here are a few of the guidelines I like to follow:
- Buy only what you need or what will make a meaningful difference in your life.
- Research first to find out what a quality product looks like and how it is made. If you are buying a specific item that you will be using often, then you don't want to replace it immediately because you bought something cheap. You may not go with the most expensive version, but you will know enough to make an informed decision.
- If you have the option (and these days you probably do), buy from companies that support sustainable manufacturing practices or who contribute to social or environmental causes. It just makes sense and it will make you feel good.
- Donate or recycle what you don't use. Get rid of the clutter! Seriously. I'm still working on this one myself - it is an ongoing battle.
- Be happy with what you have and take care of your possessions. That old pair of sneakers has walked with you all year - give them a wash and they may last for another season. :)