Nov 12, 2021
One of the benefits to helping my clients achieve their wardrobe needs and goals is to help them slow down their consumption and waste. They buy less clothes that they don't wear, therefore reducing the amount of waste in the land fills and oceans (and also less waste of their time and money).
This has led me to more deeply look at sustainability, ethically sourcing and the reasons behind "why we buy".
Is there such thing as "ethical consumption"? Is that a thing? What about instead, we call it intentional consumption? Especially with Black Friday coming and the Holiday season on its way.
I thought I would share what intentional consumption means to me:
- Knowing whether something is a want/need. Both are valid, but I want to know when I buy, if it's really a need vs a want. Can I afford that “want”? How will this “want” positively impact myself or others? Do I have to make sacrifices in other areas in my life? I WANT tons of pretty things and vacations, etc...but then I look at what will have to be sacrificed in order to make that happen. I want to be more mindful of why I buy and do a little self-check before buying. I want to get to the root of that “want”, what is it really serving me?
- Slowing down consumption made from boredom. Can I get that “new” feeling or variety elsewhere? Can we maybe change some furniture and decor around? Can I shop my closet first and spend 15 minute playing in my wardrobe instead of 15 minutes shopping for something new?
- Recognize that capitalism wants us to keep consuming, throwing away and consuming more. We are marketed to on an ongoing basis to keep consuming like never before. Then we have all this STUFF that we may not be able to afford or that overwhelms us and therefore can’t keep up with organizing, cleaning and maintaining.
- To be more content and happy in the present with what I currently have. There is nothing wrong with having wants, dreams and goals, but I get more satisfaction, contentment and fulfillment from being more present in the moment and having more gratitude for what I currently have.
- Recognize that buying provides a short lived happiness or hit of dopamine and that I have to keep chasing by buying more. Buying can make us feel better when we are sad, upset, etc… It IS fun to get new things. I will not deny this and I don’t think we have to deny ourselves. But I also want to be aware that the shine wears off and those feelings that we are trying to avoid are still there.
- Be aware of how my consumption and convenience may negatively impact others. I want to think about how my consumption may negatively impact the environment, as well as the people (mainly black and brown folks) who make the products (their working conditions and wages) for my consumption.
- To be more intentional and purposeful by having a list or a plan. When I don't have a clear plan, this leads to buying things that I really don't want or need. It doesn’t mean that I have to get rid of all spontaneous purchasing, but to make it be my go-to way to shop.
- Being mindful of sales. (This is not directed towards those who do not have financial security and rely on sales). I LOVE getting a good deal or having a beloved item go on sale. However, I only buy something on sale if it was on my list. I did not buy JUST because it was on sale. I have done this in the past and it leads to more clutter in my wardrobe or toys that don’t get played with. Be mindful of this around black Friday sales. If not, it can lead to overconsumption and waste.
- Starting to value experiences over stuff. This is not to downplay those in who need the basics to survive and to be happy. Stuff can ABSOLUTELY bring happiness, joy and fulfillment. But I do believe that our society produces WAY more than we actually are capable of consuming. Which leads to SO MUCH WASTE and our planet is suffering. What if we consumed a little less and prioritized experiences more?
I hope this helps you in the coming months as we feel pressured to BUY.