Growing up with an Asian Mother, I was always taught to find a good bargain. We would shop at our local discount stores like TJMaxx or Marshalls for good deals on designer goods. My Mom and I would also use coupons that came in the mail from Macy’s or Lord and Taylor.
From a pair of shoes 50% off at Target to a $1,000 Marc Jacob purse on clearance for $400, I had to have it if it was a good deal. My stockpile of Calvin Klein work dresses for $30-$40 a piece would be the envy of any young professional. This bargain loving mentality and all around American materialism led me to over buying things that I did not need. With dozens of stores filled with fast fashion that goes out of style too quickly, I needed to keep buying clothes.
To top it all off, I am a classic hoarder. I hate letting things go because of their sentimental value.
My Introduction to Minimalism
I first found minimalism before I even knew that it was even minimalism. My old manager had introduced my to The Art of Tidying Up by Mary Kundo. This led to a small mindset shift in the way that I looked at the stuff that I had in my closet. Kundo introduced an idea that your room was a reflection of your mind. My room was messy and filled with things that I didn’t need, so was my brain. In need of a clear head, I started to purge.
Coincidentally, and thankfully for me, the Minimalism documentary had just been released on Netflix. My interest was piqued when I saw it as a new release so of course I added it to the ever growing “My List.” I don’t know if I was just in the mood for a documentary or was happy that it was only an hour long, but I watch it. And this documentary changed me. I highly recommend giving it a try, it can really have a huge impact on your life too. I quickly saw these 5 benefits of adopting more minimalism into my life.
My Buying Habits Were really Bad
I had no idea how much value I had been putting on things. Not only was I valuing the things that I was buying but I loved, I mean really truly loved, the rush I got when I bought something. The documentary showed me that I was buying things to compensate for how unhappy I was. I needed that rush to feel good.
When I looked at my life at that point, I saw another huge red flag. I was going shopping out of boredom. Whenever I needed to get out of the house, I didn’t go on a walk, I went to the mall. If I was feeling a little bored and needed a pick me up after work, I went to the mall.
I was using shopping and spending money that I had made at a job that I hated, to make myself feel better. That is no way to live life.
The documentary really taught me that, there are very few things that i really love in my wardrobe. I don’t need to have more things, I actually had plenty. When I was picking an outfit for any occasion I always had a go to. Why did i need more stuff? When I could be saving that money for something else.
How I Adopted Minimalism
When you first think of minimalism it seems daunting. I know when I first heard about it, the first thing that came to mind were hippies or those people who lived off of the land. The word minimalism makes it feel like you have to give everything up. When that is not the point at all. There are degrees to which you can adopt minimalism and I adopted it in my own way.
To me minimalism is having what you need and only buying things that have a purpose. When it comes to minimalism purpose is the number one word you need to remember. Does this thing, this material good that I am about to buy serve a purpose? Do I need it or am I just buying it to show off or to get the rush of buying something? Now whenever I am out buying things like clothing or home goods, I ask myself those question.
Sometimes, I do have the occasional slip up. Recently I was at TJMaxx after I was stressed out. I went in to buy some coffee because I had ran out but I came out with an amazingly soft hooded shirt and zero coffee. I told myself that it served a purpose and I could wear it for traveling. But in the back of my mind, I knew that I had plenty of Nike pull overs that I could wear instead. I am happy to report, a few days later, I ended up returning it and I don’t feel any regret about it.
But, then what can I buy?
When a lot of people talk about minimalism they only talk about how you should stop buying things. That’s no fun! I also want to talk about the things that you are allowed to buy.
Obviously, food and water are one of them because you need those to survive. But you do not have to cut out all worldly things that restrict yourself to 3 articles of clothing in a tiny house. No one is asking you to go to that extreme unless you want to.
You are allowed to buy things that you enjoy and give you pleasure, or things that serve a purpose like a new pair of sunglasses after your old ones broke. It’s still going to be sunny outside even if you adopt minimalism, you still need a pair of sunglasses.
My biggest pleasure is skincare. I allow myself to buy things that people would consider a splurge but I buy it because it has a purpose. The products that I buy give me pleasure not because of the act of buying it, not because of an ad I saw, but because taking care of myself makes me feel good. The purpose of skincare is to relax at the end of the day. I also want to look like I am in my 20’s forever!
I also would never recommend giving up buying experiences. If you have always wanted to travel the world, save up the money you didn’t use to buy things you didn’t need to go some where new. Maybe you want to cross sky diving off of your bucket list, go for it! Things that you will never forget are things that you should buy instead of that pair of designer shoes you will only wear once.
Minimalism doesn’t have to be an extreme way of living. You can adopt minimalism into your life to whatever degree you wish. The first step I would recommend is watching the Minimalism Documentary on Netflix to learn more about the topic and be inspired. Then I would do an inventory of the things you have just to put it into perspective, and then purge away.
We are fed millions of advertisements for things that are the latest and greatest. We buy them for that rush and feeling we get of having something new. Or because we want to show off to other people. But the rush of these good feelings never last long. So stop chasing a rush when you can invest in experiences and the things you truly enjoy!
Thank you for reading! Come back for new posts every Tuesday! Or click here to follow me on Instagram for updates
© 2017, Asian on the Outside, All Rights Reserved