• Manon Raath

4 Tips to shop more mindful...

They say a change is as good as a holiday, right? Well, since most of us had to cancel our holiday, or are stuck at home with COVID-19 restrictions, we might as well make a change then. I’m talking about changing the way we shop.

What is mindful shopping?

First of all, let’s just define what ‘mindful shopping’ means. I’m not talking about being ’mindful’ of not running someone over with your shopping trolley, although that is something to be mindful about too. When I talk about mindful shopping, I mean shopping with intent. Being mindful of what we are buying, being aware of the item we are buying - its origin and what we will do with it. It is sort of the opposite of ‘impulse-buying’.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:

[Mindfulness is] the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”

We need to re-evaluate how we shop.

Have you ever bought an item just because it was on sale or quite cheap but you didn’t really need it? And then just as easily got rid of it again? I have noticed that we don’t attach value to items anymore. Since we only paid $3 for that top, it’s ok to get rid of it after 1 wear. Or: “I’ll quickly get a new dinner set for this party since it’s only $10, afterwards I’ll donate it to the op-shop”.

We do not attach value to items because so many items are so cheap. We stopped thinking where it came from, who made it, and where it will go once we are done with it.

4 tips on being more mindful when we shop:

· Ask yourself: Is it a need or a nice-to-have?

Is the item you are contemplating buying something that will fulfil a need or is it just something that caught your eye and would be nice to add to your collection of other ‘useless’ things.

· Find out where it was made.

Do you know the brand? Do you agree with their values? Do your research before you support a brand. When you buy from a company, you are voting for them with your wallet, so make sure their values and your values align.

· Will it stay on trend for a short while or is it a timeless piece?

Usually inexpensive, mass-produced items are made to last a short season so you, as the buyer, will chuck it out in a few months and buy a new one that goes with the new styles. Handmade items are a better way to go if you want to invest in an item. It will last longer and usually is a timeless piece.

· How much value do you attach to it?

The cheaper the item, the less value we give it. It makes sense. Unfortunately, the less value we attach to something, the easier it is for us to discard it, which adds to the massive waste problem we have worldwide.

In the end, the most important thing to keep in mind is how much value we give something. Before we buy that lovely psychedelic throw “because it was a bargain”, ask yourself: “Do I really need it?” Most of the time your answer will be “no”. Impulse buying is a big thing in our modern world, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing.

So, this month, let’s change the way we shop. Add meaning to the small, insignificant details of life, and you will have a richer life because of it.

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