If You Don't Love It, Don't Buy It


Being a minimalist, I think long and hard before I make any kind of purchase. Shopping is a chore for that very reason. But I also love clothes. So sometimes it's hard to keep things in balance. I have a one in, one out rule for my closet. That means for every new item I add to my wardrobe, one of my existing items needs to be donated or trashed. And since I already LOVE everything in my closet, I have to be really, really sure about any new item I buy.

Shopping as a Minimalist

So how do I maintain that mindset when I love to shop? Good question. It's tricky, I'll say that much. Usually what I do is, I'll set aside a time to go shopping. I grab everything that catches my eye and I try everything on. No one likes to go shopping with me because of how long I spend in the dressing room. I move around in everything I try on. Stand up, sit down, stretch a little. I want to know all the pros and cons of each piece.

After a good bit of time spent trying things on, I put everything back. I don't actually buy anything. I've found that it's best if I give myself a day or two to think about it. Most items are just "eh" and I'll forget about them within an hour leaving the store. But if there's a particular item that keeps coming back to my mind, that's probably a good indication that I need to seriously consider getting it. But there's more to it than that.

Recently on one of my shopping outings, I found a dress. It's beautiful. It fits me well, it's comfortable, can be styled up or down, isn't super expensive, AND it's my colors. It's perfect... almost. There's a keyhole cutout in the front that just doesn't feel right to me. It's not a deal breaker, but I don't love it.

Anyway, this dress has been on my mind for days. I made up my mind I was going to get it, the keyhole isn't a big deal, I'll get used to it. I made sure I had all my coupons and discount cards in my bag and ready to go to the store again on my lunch break. Everything was coming together.

I never bought the dress.

The Moral of the Story

Even though I was so excited about buying this new dress, I knew something just wasn't right. I was going to have to replace a dress already in my wardrobe. My black floral dress, that I absolutely love, has been looking a little worse for wear lately. But was I really ready to part with my perfect dress just to replace it with one that I mostly love but not really but I'll get used to it? That didn't seem like a fair trade.

I also realized, I had these coupons/discounts I was wanting to use. They expired in just a couple days so I needed to act fast. I had to think long and hard about this one: was I only willing to buy the dress because it would be a good deal? Would I still want it if I was going to have to pay full price for it? Honestly? No.

The push I was feeling toward buying the dress that I only mostly liked was because I felt I shouldn't let a "good deal" pass me by. But if it's not something I love, it doesn't matter how much it costs. It's not a good deal. If you don't love it, don't buy it.

So I'll keep on the lookout for a dress I absolutely love. One that makes me feel like a rock star when I wear it. Because why settle for less than that?

But this is about more than a dress. Part of minimalism is being picky about what we allow into our lives. It's about being intentional about our choices. And it's about not buying for the sake of buying. I wanted the dress, yes. But when I really started thinking about why I wanted the dress, I realized my reasons were wrong. I didn't love it. It was just after a good deal. I was willing to give up my money and, more importantly, my time for something I didn't really care about.

Let's remember together to be intentional about all of our decisions. Even the little ones.

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