We all have them. Those possessions that we remember loving when we bought them. We needed them. We had to have them.
Looking back it feels invasion of the body snatchers-esque, like a shopping walk-in took over, or at least some sort of hypnotic trance lured us into buying these now unwanted, remorse filled vessels occupying space in our lives/closets/homes and reminding us of the folly of our shopping strategies.
Personally, I love beautiful things and find inspiration through shopping and products. The colors, styles, trends, packaging, photography, marketing, you name it - these things inspire me and offer ways to express my creativity and personality to the world. Decoration, fashion, comfort, beauty, and wellness - these are pillars of pleasure in my life, but only in measured doses and when done with care. In order to keep my affinity for beautiful things in check, I had to create purposeful purchasing rules.
Here are the gatekeepers that guide my shopping strategies.
✨Pre-Purchase Power Questions✨
1.) Am I in love?
Is everything about this product perfect for me? Does it fit great? Does it feel amazing? Is there anything about it I don’t like (even a little)? Will it last? Is it high quality? The last thing I want in my life, my home, or on my body are products, people or purchases that I’m not entirely, unequivocally in love with. If I answer yes, then I move on to my next question.
2.) Do I already own something similar?
Sometimes the reason I love something is because it’s just another version of something I already have and love. In that case, do I need another? Is it time for a replacement? If yes, move on to the next! If no, drop it.
3.) Where will it live?
I literally imagine where this item is going to live when not being actively used. Is there space for it? Do I want another thing in that space? Will it look good there? Does it really have the perfect home within my life to keep it? Check. Next question.
4.) Is it good? For me? For others?
This can be a hard question, but if I can’t answer it, the default answer is no. A lot of companies don’t talk about the how, where and with what impact they have when producing their products. If they’re not talking about it, I’m not buying. I need to understand the ingredients or content, see where the product is made, and with what kind of labor. I don’t want my money to go towards inequality, keeping people in poverty, child or slave labor or destroying the health of workers or the environment. In the past, it would have been hard to buy much of anything with this ethos, but fortunately today there are thousands of brands watching out for our health, the well-being of their workers and the environment.
In the end, I circle back to the lead question, “Am I in Love?”. I’ve found that I can’t be in love with something if it isn’t good for others in some way, or if it doesn’t fit into the dream of my life and my world. Sure, it takes me a little longer to shop this way. And yes, when I apply these questions I say no to buying things a lot more than I used to, but I hardly ever have post purchase remorse and dismay.