As I get older, I strive more and more to live a sustainable lifestyle. I am not perfect at it but I realize that changing little habits can help move me in that direction. In fact, this year, I am focusing on setting my family up financially in the hopes that we can become more financially free. Part of that freedom, for me, is the ability to spend more on items that are sustainably and ethically made. Another piece of that is buying less. For someone who tends to buy things when I am stressed, this is proving to be difficult. It’s so easy for me to think of a “need”, I use that term very loosely, and immediately order it on Amazon where it will be delivered in 2 days. One thing that has slowed me down IS the dedication to buying things ethically. That shit is expensive, and rightfully so. I have to think twice before purchasing a shirt that costs $98 vs one that costs $37. We live in a culture that consumes. We consume products, food, podcasts, books, etc. I have a stack of books to read and will still order something new. We are constantly inundated with messages of “buy this, buy that”. Even on my own IG, I share items with you I’ve purchased and though I’m not “promoting” them, I am adding to the message that what you have is not enough. I am not going to stop sharing the things that I like because at times, there is a need and I want to promote ethically made products as much as possible. I AM going to tackle a fun challenge this year and I thought I would share that challenge with you. I follow someone on Instagram that has done these types of challenges before. She is currently challenging herself to buy only 20 clothing items for the entire year. I don’t think I’m at that level yet BUT I was inspired by her challenge in 2018, The Year of 5 Finds. What Kate Finds has a YouTube channel and an Instagram account where she shares style, beauty, and more sustainable practices with shopping. I was inspired by her year of 5 finds and decided to try that challenge for myself.
When I first started thinking about this, I thought 5 items was going to be a bit excessive, but after a quick trip to Target, I realize this was going to be VERY challenging. Let me first start by defining what items will be included in this category. Obviously, we buy more than 5 items each month when we include necessities like food, gas, etc. I think Kate actually defined her items as clothing and accessories but for me, I am including clothing, accessories, “unnecessary” makeup, and home decor.
So what’s NOT included:
*Refills – if I run out of makeup, foundation, concealer, whatever – that counts as a refill and is consider a “need”
*Home – if I need towels, sheets, etc because something is ripped/torn/etc, that is considered a “need”
*Clothing – Same as home, if I have to replace something because it’s ripped or worn, that is considered a “need”
*New makeup that I don’t need like blush. I have a blush palette that will probably last me until I die, so if I buy a new blush, that is part of the 5 items
*Home – pretty anything that isn’t replacing something worn
*Clothing – same as above
Why am I doing this? While money plays a small factor in this (hello, I’d like to have lots of money for retirement), the bigger issue is my impact on the environment. I know that every time I buy something, sustainable or not, I am expanding my carbon footprint. I try to recycle, to buy things made with sustainable material, and all of that but every time a new product is produced, it uses a resource. AND every time I throw said item away, it creates an even bigger affect on the environment. I’m never going to stop using things because I exist and I don’t think that’s the point. I think the point is that by being more intentional about the things I buy, I am considering whether or not I actually NEED something. It slows down my rate of consumption and forces me to pay attention to what I’m doing. The other piece of it is that I can use shopping as a way to numb. The act of buying things sends me that little shot of endorphins and all is right in the world again, right? I am not interested in living that way anymore. I would rather channel that energy into my creativity, or doing something less harmful to the environment. This challenge seemed to be a way to actually practice that.
The reality is, I may fail at this. I may be 2 months in and quit. I am not sure what’s going to happen. I already feel like it’s going to be hard but I am ready to challenge myself. Shopping has always been a vice that felt overwhelming and I feel ready to challenge that limiting belief. The limiting belief is that I cannot stop shopping, that I am not able to control myself, and that I am bad with money. I know those things aren’t true, especially the bad with money part, but why not give myself the opportunity to succeed? By having an accountability partner (I have one lined up) and writing this for y’all to see and judge me later, I am taking a step in the right direction. I’ll share along on Instagram and write about it as I go along. So wish me luck! And feel free to join along!