The Shopping Minimalist

Aeroville Roissy France

The Mall in the Middle of Nowhere…Aeroville in France

I have a confession to make. I shop a lot. But I have a reason.

As a minimalist, I have very few clothes. Bean has very few clothes. The clothes we have are multi-purpose. We don’t have enough space in our suitcases to carry clothing for every activity; our clothes must work double or triple duty. Bean is a child. She doesn’t know that people dress to impress other people with their place in society by their clothes. Our clothes can mix and match, working in many situations. It is easy and works for us.

As much as I don’t worry about brands and where we buy our clothes, I had to take a moment to reflect. Why am I, as a minimalist, spending so much time in the stores and shopping? I want to show Bean a different side of life. I want her to see other things besides spending money in stores every day. What is going on? Am I becoming a recreational shopper?

Ultimately, I realize, it is our lifestyle. I decided to carry only seasonal clothing many months ago. As we have been traveling between different climates, it has been necessary to buy different clothes. When we were in southern France, it was cool and rainy for days at a time. We needed our jackets, sweaters, and tights. It was spring, but the weather was not warming up quite fast enough.

We then went to Morocco. It was also spring in Morocco, but the weather was significantly warmer. I made the decision that we could get rid of our fall/ winter clothes. The weather got hotter and hotter. It felt like summer time. We started our treks to the mall, the market and the discount stores. Because we are not familiar with the stores and what they sell, it is necessary to visit many stores to find what we need. Bean loves it. I am always interested in learning more about a country and its people,but shopping so much makes me uncomfortable.

We traveled back to France and unfortunately, it was still cool. We found a thrift store to buy simple jackets so we would not freeze when we took our walks. I was kicking myself mentally for thinking I could get rid of the jackets in Morocco and that the weather would be warmer when we returned to France. I was overly optimistic. I kept in mind the fact that we would need to shop again before leaving France since we were headed to Illinois and Texas. It is always HOT in Texas.

I have since relaxed and accepted the fact that we do need to shop. Minimalist or not, we can not travel naked. We would not get very far that way. I hope that in all of our trips to the mall and the market, I am showing Bean that we are not participating in recreational shopping. We have a purpose when we go to the stores. We are looking for sandals. We are looking for light summer dresses. We need to find shoes of a certain style, size and so that she will have a pair to wear that is interchangeable with all of her clothes for the next few months.

I suppose if we had a car, the trips to the mall would not be so frequent. We could do all of our shopping in one day. No need to spend a few days a week looking for things to wear. After we find things to wear,we then must shop for groceries. I am more comfortable with shopping for groceries because that is a necessity. We HAVE to eat. I know this should not necessarily be seen as recreational shopping, but maybe it is for Bean.

Bean loves to go to the stores. I make sure to be clear with explaining the purpose of our visit. Maybe when she is older, she will remember that we shopped with purpose. Maybe she will just remember the shopping trips and how much fun she had spending money. What ever happens, I am still a minimalist. A minimalist who doesn’t own much. A minimalist who considers her purchases. A minimalist who spends a lot of time at the mall.

Do you consider yourself a minimalist? How does shopping and minimalism look in your life? Are you able to resolve the apparently contradictory messages of the two ways of life? I would love to hear about it. Please leave me a comment below.

2 Comments on “The Shopping Minimalist

  1. I almost sighed from relief – it’s nice to hear your perspective because I’ve been secretly struggling with this!

    After getting married and moving in with my hubby last summer, I went on a crazy rant and started de-cluttering the house (mainly my things…I surely can’t throw away his things…or can I?….) and I felt GOOD about it.

    But I found that lately, I shopped a LOT. And I think part of it is that I finally lost a lot of weight that I’ve been working to lose for 2-3 years so I’ve been using the same wardrobe for years and now I’ve been having fun shopping, but I’m also creating a home and putting my personal touch here and there (I moved into my hubby’s condo, which was very … manly…). So lately I’ve been feeling a bit guilty for spending and buying, but on another side, I’ve been still careful about WHAT I’m buying and making sure I love it and that it’s good quality/good price and that I’ll make use of it for years… does that make it okay? I think so… but I think I need to let lose a bit and now I’m reining it back in!

    I also went to LA for a weekend getaway last week and to my surprise, I didn’t even WANT to shop! I just wanted to enjoy time spent with my hubby, exploring the city. Instead we spent our money on amazing food and activities and I was perfectly content coming back home with my little tin of candy from Harry Potter World and my 3 organization containers from Muji that cost $3.50 and that I’m happy I bought because I’m an organization FREAK!

    Ok that was long – I’m curious on your thoughts on my comment!!

    • That was great!! I love that you took the time to comment!!
      You are expressing exactly what I mean. We feel we are
      SUPPOSED to be a certain way because that is what other people
      are doing. But I know the items I buy are REALLY things I need.
      By being aware of what we are doing helps us to escape the
      consumerism trap. That, in my opinion, is what counts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *