Hello everybody! I remember that for the longest time, I wanted to change my habits and my consumer behavior, but I found it incredibly difficult. I kept getting caught up in the urge to go shopping and the craving to buy something new. Perhaps this sounds familiar? If it does, I am here to tell you that you are not alone. These are 5 tips that I live by at this point, and these things helped me going from a hyper-consumer who had more than 100 pairs of shoes, to a zero waste environmentalist who has not set foot in a department store in 4+ years. Let’s do this.
1. Do not use shopping as a leisure activity
Instead, browse thrift shops if you need to. It can also be a good idea to find other ways of pass time If you and your friends only get together to shop, either suggest a vintage/thrift store or completely different activities, like a picnic, a hike, a museum trip, a café trip, pottery painting, a cooking class, basically just something that does not involve buying stuff you don’t need.
2. If you have to go into *actual* stores, don’t buy anything
Use the current styles on display as inspiration for something you can make yourself, something you can thrift, or perhaps you’ll find that you already have something similar you can use in a new way.
3. Stay caught up on what is happening behind the scenes in the world of fashion.
Follow The War or Want, Clean Clothes Campaign, or Fashion Revolution, or any kind of online platform that can keep you updated on the issues in the industry, you can also watch, or even rewatch documentaries like The True Cost or River Blue, or follow influencers who promote sustainable fashion – reminding yourself of the impact of fashion can be key when trying to stop the urge to buy more – and it will go a lot faster if you unfollow people on SoMe who glamourize overspending and fast fashion – unfollow them and notice the urge getting smaller.
also check out: 50+ GREEN FASHION HABITS // that you need to adopt right now
4. If there is something you really want, then wait.
I have a rule of thumb that is at least 14 days before I buy it, often the urge to buy something is a spur of the moment thing, so waiting to see if the urge/craving is related to a real need can be a good idea, and something that prevents you from making unnecessary impulse purchases, just wait a while.
5. Challenge the “treat yourself” culture that we are all constantly exposed to.
Don’t get me wrong, treat yourself to some good food, some wellness, some fresh air, some culture, some quality time with people you love but the “treat yourself” mantra has been adapted by multi-billion dollar brands and their advertising. And because of the positive associations of “treat yourself” we often respond by “ you know what, I WILL treat myself”. Rather I do this, every once in a while I remind myself that I am not the most important person in the world, I remind myself that my urges and craving don’t have to be constantly satisfied. It is honestly freeing to think that once in a while, because we are bombarded with advertisements and other narratives that center us, the individual consumer, in the middle of the world, and we’re not, we shouldn’t be. A big part of sustainability is regarding ourselves as a part of a community, and not solely as a single individual, it means making choices based on the common good on this community aka the planet and it really helps to be aware of this narrative.
also check out: SUSTAINABLE LAUNDRY // zero waste recommendations and tips