The most important lesson I learned from Marie Kondo’s “get rid of what doesn’t spark joy” movement is that one can’t go through the multi-day purge without being more mindful of what’s coming back in. When shopping, it’s always in the front of your mind that this might just become more clutter. But it can be hard to go from mindless shopping to mindful shopping. Here are some tips I’ve found to make the transition from mindless shopping to consistently buying what you love, at least for your wardrobe.
1. Assess your current inventory
If you’ve done the Marie Kondo decluttering method, you should have culled your inventory into something manageable enough for you to know basically everything you own. If it’s your wardrobe, you can see all the things you like and wear often and all the things you want to have to complete outfits. Don’t just mindlessly shop for things – keep your eyes focused on the holds in your wardrobe rather than the stuff you gravitate towards but already have.
2. Judge against what you have
Remember that your stuff is a family and bringing a new product in is like bringing a new boyfriend in. You have to think about how the new guy is going to fit in. You’ve cleared away the chaff in your wardrobe and now you know what the lowest standard of acceptability for your wardrobe is. Every new item of clothing you consider Ask yourself the following questions and only buy what passes the test. Otherwise, you’re bringing in more stuff that won’t pass the next purge.
- Do I like this as much or better than the clothes I already have?
- Will this be as useful to me than the clothes I already have?
- Will this item fit in with the clothes I already have?
3. Search for better and cheaper alternatives.
Even if you find something you like, you have to remember that now every product you bring home is something that you may have in your house for years. And with that kind of commitment, you should love the product. And in order to know you love something, you really should search to see what else is out there.
Try searching for similar items on Google search, Shopstyle or eBay. Maybe you found a great red dress at The Gap, but a dress you love is available at Banana Republic for a similar price, and maybe you regret your purchase if you found out about the second dress. But be careful – remember that eBay may be cheaper but it may be difficult to return items.
4. Try stuff in the store if possible. Return what you don’t want.
The problem with shopping online is that the product worms its way into your house and it becomes another errand for you to return, rather than it being a burden for you to buy the product and bring it home.
Remember that your house is a sacred place. Be adamant about getting rid of things you don’t want as soon as possible at the highest value you can still get. If you are forgetful at returning things, then either train yourself to be better, shop at places that are so cheap that the cost won’t affect you or that you can sell easily for approximately the cost you paid (i.e. Goodwill) or only shop at stores with excellent return policies.
Remember that the Marie Kondo method isn’t a one-and-done. It requires constant vigilance to ensure that clutter doesn’t make its way back to your wardrobe or your home. But if you follow these steps, you’re much more likely to bring in mor things you love, so that you can keep getting dressed with ease and style.