3 simple rules to fix a mindless shopping habit.

mindless shopping clothes
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The other day I was in the city to meet a friend for dinner. I was early, so I popped into Athleta to kill some time before our reservation. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I’m mildly obsessed with yoga pants. They are my uniform, an absolute pleasure to wear, and one of the few things I never seem to have “enough” of.

So naturally, I came across a cute pair of gray leggings with white horizontal strips and my heart was aflutter. Lucky for me, they didn’t have my size, so I made a mental note and headed off to meet my friend.

The next day, I’m on Athleta’s website checking out these babies. Aren’t they beautiful?

athleta yoga pants

They’re pricey, but that’s not what prevents me from buying them. As my finger was ready to hit that buy button, I asked myself – what are these for, Caren? Are they really going to make me happier than I already am?

The short answer would typically be “hell, yes”, because I know I’d wear them on walks, to do yoga, meeting friends or curling up with hubby + dogs on the couch to watch a movie. I’d wear them for all the best moments of my day.

But I already have 18 pairs of leggings to do that in. I had to draw the line.

As much as I love leggings, buying more of them won’t bring me appreciably more pleasure and the thought of filling my drawer with one. more. thing. after all the painstaking effort that went into purging over 50% of my wardrobe left me with the right answer:

Leave them be.

I don’t need them.

I have enough leggings (<- did I actually just write that?)

So here are my first two takeaways:

how to stop mindless shopping

Rule #1 – Stay out of stores when you’re not shopping for something specific.

Never browse. You will always find stuff you love, but don’t need. Avoid temptation by avoiding knowing what’s out there.

Rule #2 – Before you buy anything online or in a store, pause and ask yourself:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Will it add to my long-term happiness (we know it will in the short-term)?
  • Do I have at least 5 other things to wear with it and 5 places I can wear it to?
  • After everything I’ve done to reduce clutter and spending, does this purchase still feel like a smart decision?

If you can say yes to all of the above, buy the thing. This isn’t about deprivation, it’s about conscious, smart spending and funding the areas of your life that bring you happiness. If it’s a no, put said thing down and move on. Pat yourself on the back while you’re at it because that was a badass choice you just made.

How to avoid mindless online shopping

Have you become addicted to Instastories yet? I have. I love watching clips of people’s day. It’s fun and I often get inspired by the food and fitness videos I see. However, the proliferation of “swipe up to buy” has become so obnoxiously overused, I’ve had to stop following a bunch of people I otherwise love watching!

I am going to point a finger at fashion bloggers for being the worst offenders of this bad behavior. I am all for bloggers making money from their work, and I have no issues with affiliate marketing, but why does every damn thing need to be linked? I don’t care where you bought your non-slip socks, diaper bag and the sweater that comes in 19 colors.

Please stop!

Anyway, perhaps you don’t fall for the constant temptations, but I do. And every time I find myself on a website with a cute pair of something that’s not only on sale but offers free shipping, I have to walk myself through those questions above and it gets harder and harder as the day goes on.

Plus, we know from research that if we’re tired, sad or in a post-wine state, we’re way more likely to make reactive, unnecessary purchases. I don’t know about you, but when I’m headed to Instagram, it’s typically when I’m in one or all of those three states.

Rule #3 – Until fashion and lifestyle bloggers can learn to behave themselves, step away from InstaStories indefinitely.

What about you? Are you with me on the swipe up madness? Do you need to be more conscious about your shopping?

don't follow fashion bloggers

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  1. Purging the fashion bloggers from my Instagram feed has been an amazing lift in my spirits. Honestly, no shame on them because that’s their passion, but I found the influence it had in my life- seeing new things every single day in their feed, the consumerism and the urge for new things every season (because it’s spring, stop wearing black, go buy floral prints!) was stressing me out.

    I’ve since downgraded my wardrobe to something boring but happy for me- black tops (long sleeved sweaters in the winter, tees in summer) and pants. I have dresses I bought 5 years ago from a thrift store I wear when I don’t feel like pants.

    When I want to splurge, I’ll get a crazy statement necklace from etsy or a new layer- like a kimono or something… but that’s it. It’s been a huge relief.

    Again, nothing on fashion bloggers, but I find that when I see their work, I’m immediately dissatisfied with what I have. I feel the need to buy new nail colors (too many already)and lip colors on top of the fashion. I have a bunch of Kate Spade purses I’m planning on selling that I bought during a phase where fashion bloggers were really influential for me, and I’m ready to move on.

    Great post!

    1. Hi Shannyn, you and I are on the exact same page. I have nothing against fashion bloggers, but I just can’t expose myself to the constant temptation to BUY!! I’m also with you on the wardrobe basics. I work from home, so all I ever wear are yoga pants and sweatshirts anyway! I’ve been making a huge effort to purge my unused clothes. Doing that makes me realize just how much I have that I never wear. It’s a painful reminder that most of this stuff will end up in a landfill somewhere.

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