Wow, has it been 60 days already since I announced by shopping-ban? I should have called it “Shopping-and-Blogging-Ban”, but the last part of that came about rather involuntarily. If you hung around until now, reward yourself with a nice orange juice (you deserve it!), and get ready for my Shopping Ban Review:
A few weeks into the ban, I completely forgot that I had a shopping ban in place. I kept on remembering at random times, trying to remember whether I had bought anything at all in the meantime. This shows me that my purchases are very infrequent and mostly so small that I won’t notice. Nonetheless, I had actually hardly purchased anything in these last 60 days, so it was an overall success.
From the acceptable list, I only bought batteries (used for filming equipment). Funny enough, I managed to completely avoid buying medicine, light bulbs, bike stuff, and fortunately none of my clothes broke.
I cleaned my bike and used products from the Green & Blue Space, so I wouldn’t need to buy my own. I was close to getting more stationary, but then realised that I only need one folder, and could donate some of mine in exchange, which brought the count back to 0.
I didn’t even buy hygiene products, as the only product I usually buy is liners. But incidentally, someone from the Green & Blue Space made me aware that they had lots of liner donations they could not re-distribute, as the cartons were opened. The liners themselves were perfectly fine, so I took them home to use and saved myself having to buy any.
For the most time, my shopping ban went without anything notable. I bought food, food, and sometimes more food. Did I mention that I mainly buy food? After a few weeks, I purchased a piece of camera equipment for a film that I was supposed to make for my employer. The piece only matches a certain camera which I don’t even own, and I gave it to the person owning the camera after filming ended. The fact that I didn’t keep it made it equal to a gift, therefore it was exempt from the ban.
I also purchased a vegetable brush I eyes for a very long time. I made sure I got one from all-natural materials, that will last me and be compostable (and look very pretty with my dish brush). Slight violation here, but anything that’s good for the environment makes me happy rather than annoyed that I bought it.
Besides, I kind of ended up never buying that pocket knife I wanted for my birthday. I still fancy getting one, but the amount of time I did not miss having one could probably be a sign that I really don’t need one after all.
Towards the end of the ban, when I was seeing myself victorious, I impulse bought two items: Firstly, a radiator drying rack that laughed at me at a particularly sunny day, and I determined that I would start hanging more items that tumble-dry this summer (shall the sun allow it for a change). The fact that this increases my eco-friendliness makes this an acceptable violation.
The second item was a dress, which seemed to magically call me into a charity shop BEFORE I even saw it. Sneaky. But I immediately fell in love with it, especially considering I was going to attend a ball the week after, which means I would have needed a dress anyway. I’m still contemplating whether to keep it afterwards, but that shall be determined another time.
On one of the last days, me and my boyfriend also managed to buy a shelf for our kitchen. I know the minimalist saying goes: Don’t get extra storage, get rid of things!, but it’s hard to implement that in a flat with very little storage to begin with.
To sum up, there was more things I didn’t buy that I could have bought, such as:
- Hygiene products, personal care & cleaning stuff
- A pocket knife
- Bike stuff
… than there were things that I did buy that I shouldn’t have, i.e.:
- Drying rack
- Vegetable brush
Did I take anything away from this shopping ban? As I was doing it, I didn’t really notice any changes in my lifestyle. However, looking back now at how to avoid a lot of purchases, such things are mainly due to a great community I could ask for support. In my case, this was the Green & Blue Space, but for others this would take less physical dimensions. The trick is knowing who to ask for certain types of help, which is equally helpful and challenging to figure out.
What’s the take away for happiness that I went on so much about? I didn’t stick firmly to my rules, and this was mainly down to knowing exactly when a purchase would bring me happiness, and when not. The eco-friendly stuff makes me feel better about my treehugging efforts, but not only that: I know that I will actually use it, which is the most important. And the dress simply made me happy because I saved me from running around stores trying to find a suitable outfit for the fancy dress party. I came, saw, and conquered that challenge, and I truly adore that piece of fabric!
How about the future? To be honest, nothing much changed here, so is there a point to continuing the ban? Probably not. Chances are, nothing will change afterwards anyway!
Looking back at my purchases, I’ve realised I’m not really a shoppaholic. I’m a FOODaholic! The thing I bought most frequently, and most impulsively, were predominantly different types of food! Not only groceries, but fancy food, organic food, hand-crafted food, sweets and treats, anything that will make me forget I’m vegetarian now, and eating out at uni, in town, out and about. Food is my vice indeed.
Maybe a fast is appropriate next..? The very idea makes me cringe.