Okay, so maybe the title of this post is a slight exaggeration. I wouldn’t quite call myself a shopaholic – discontent is more like it. How embarrassing considering I have so much to be thankful for.
For me, the trouble comes in when I’m feeling a little blah about life – a pretty dress will cheer me up! When I’m feeling self conscious about pursuing my photography dreams – I need a new lens/ flash/whatever else I’ve convinced myself I ‘need’! When I wake up in the morning and stare into my overflowing wardrobe and can find nothing to wear – nothing a Woolies haul can’t solve!
I am relying on things to make me happy and I’m so focused on making things look pretty on the outside that I’m completely neglecting the inside. I have fallen into the consumerism trap of believing that it’s my ‘stuff’ gives me worth.
Not too long ago, I came across a contentment challenge and determined to escape my materialistic ways, I, too, embarked on a shopping ban – at the beginning of Autumn, might I add, right when I am tempted to shop for a new season!
I have challenged myself to cut all spending on unnecessaries like clothes, accessories, decor items, and books (I am a bookaholic with a shelf full of books I have yet to read) for three months. Eeeek!
Well, today marks just over 5 weeks of this journey and it’s been harder than I’d like to admit, especially when visiting fabulous markets and with online shopping being so easy. Yesterday I had a book in my Takealot shopping cart for over an hour before I moved it to my wishlist instead. That was hard.
I don’t want that to be who I am. I don’t want ‘stuff’ to define me. I don’t want ‘stuff’ to be where I find my happiness because it will be short-lived. I don’t want to live in the shallow waters, I want to experience the depths of this life, and I firmly believe that all this stuff we keep collecting gets in the way of that. Contentment is the goal, so I’m determined to be different, and by living small, I’ll in fact be living big.
“I don’t want that to be who I am. I don’t want ‘stuff’ to define me. I don’t want ‘stuff’ to be where I find my happiness because it will be short-lived.”
So you might be wondering how a ‘shopping sabbatical’, as I like to call it, works? What about groceries and toiletries? Let me explain my ‘rules’.
Shopping Sabbatical Guidelines:
- No new clothes – unless it’s something I am replacing. So if my stockings have a hole in them, I’m allowed to get a new pair. But that’s it.
- Necessaries are allowed – so of course I’m going to grocery shop and stock up on toiletries – but nothing extra. So a new nail polish, or a new eyeshadow shade that I absolutely do not need is not allowed.
- Ban on home stuff – A tough one for me, but I have given up on buying home decor and kitchen accessories*.
*I’m going to be honest and say we did buy a gorgeous mirror for our new home at the Tierlantyn’kies Kuier en Koopfees but it was a decision Steven and I made because: it was such a huge discount, it was something we’ve been looking for, and it was the exact right colour as well! There has to be a consequence, right? So I’ll add an extra few days onto my challenge and promise to not break my sabbatical again.
- No books – It’s like my go-to when I’m needing a bit of inspiration – I find a good book to buy. Well, I’m not reading as often as I’d like and I really should be making my way through the stack of books I already have waiting for me.
- Gifts are okay – don’t worry, if you’re a loved one and your birthday is in the next few months, you’ll still get a present. The trouble only comes in when I’m tempted to buy myself the same thing as well.
I must admit, I’m feeling rather vulnerable sharing this about myself. I find it incredibly embarrassing to admit my lack of contentment and how I rely on ‘stuff’ for a spike of ‘happiness’.
So why am I sharing this with you? I must admit, it feels good to get it off my chest and share with you, in love, a problem I know so many of us face. I’m sharing this incredibly personal post to let you know that this is a real thing, something to be faced, and most of all, for accountability. If I’ve posted it on my blog, I’m less likely to falter on this journey to find contentment. And perhaps you’ll join me on my crusade for less – after all, there is beauty in simplicity.
P.S. See my next post on how I’ve been finding contentment during this sabbatical.