Mindful Shopping

Abha Sharma
December 4, 2021

It is said, that when men get bored, they go to war and when women get bored, they go shopping. Well, of course, fortunately, no wars are happening, so both the genders have taken to shopping at a war footing. Furthermore, the boredom of staying home during a pandemic and the option of easy online shopping has unleashed the buying beast on previously retail-virgin souls.

On a more serious note, shopping today has undergone a paradigm shift. From being a thing of necessity, it has become more recreational and impulsive. More disposable income and easy accessibility to online and offline market space are other factors that have increased the ease of shopping.

Availability of options galore and lucrative advertising lead to mindless buying and hoarding of things people don’t need. There is no doubt that a shopping spree gives you a high, but after the initial thrill of shopping wears off you are left with more clutter in your house, less money in your pocket, and a pang of guilt in your heart. Furthermore, it defeats the goal of sustainable living that we are aspiring for.

It is very important to think before you buy. Shopping is probably an art but shopping mindfully is an art, craft, science, and an exercise in restraint all clubbed together.

Here are a few tips that will help you be a more mindful shopper.

1. To begin with, always make a mindful list of basic things that you require for day-to-day living. These may include household appliances, groceries, cosmetics, toiletries, clothes (including basic wardrobe for work, exercise, lounging, and festival and special occasion wear), and other things. This will help you prioritize your needs over your wants. Your wants can wait but your needs mustn’t.  It is always a good idea to go old fashion and buy what you want to mark a special occasion. This will make the occasion more memorable and the item bought more special. This will also curb impulsive shopping and reduce the scope of wasteful spending.

2. Always research well before buying. It is always a good idea to research well before buying something even as small as a household appliance or something as big as a house itself. Before buying anything, think about how you plan to use it and how usefully it fits into your lifestyle. Always look into the multiutility aspect of a product. If a product can be utilized in multiple ways it reduces the need for many other products. A well-researched buy is always utilized to its full potential.

3. Follow the principle of one in and one out. This works well if you are already following the principle of the list of basic needs. Before you buy anything, think about what you are going to replace. Also, consider if that item has served its purpose and is in a retriable stage. This will make you more focused on buying what you need and will use. This is a great strategy in reducing stuff in your house that lies unused.

4. Trade or borrow. One man’s trash can indeed be another man’s treasure. Local listings and neighborhood forums are great places to trade or borrow things. If you want to use something for one-time use only, it is always better to rent or borrow.

5. Use, reuse and upcycle stuff. we should learn a thing or two from our grandmothers. It is always a good idea to sew that button, repair that zip and let your favorite piece of clothing last longer. It’s always good to get an appliance fixed than buy a new one. Always try to repurpose stuff, there are lots of ideas on the internet to do it.

6. Follow these cardinal rules while shopping in a supermarket:

• Make a list and adhere to it. Don’t roam around in the aisles window shopping, it always leads to overbuying.

• Never shop hungry, it always leads to impulsive buying of groceries and sugar and calories rich food which you don’t need.

• Use cash while paying, it helps you keep a tab on your spending as you see physical cash moving out.

7. Follow these rules to be mindful while shopping online:

• Don’t be swayed by sales, they are on all year through. Buy an item only if you need and have been eying and not just because it is on sale.

• Keep an item in your shopping cart for a day and give it a second thought before buying. This will help you curb impulsive shopping.

• Don’t fall for flexible return policies and easy EMI options. Need should be the only criteria.

8. Don’t use shopping as retail therapy, go for real therapy. If you are stressed out then, go for a stroll, book a massage, talk to friends, and if need be, seek professional help and not sit on the back of wasteful spending to ride it out.

9. Help mother earth by being a mindful environment-friendly shopper:

• Check for criteria like cruelty-free, non-GMO, green, recyclable, and sustainable before buying.

• Promote local farmers by buying their organic farm-to-home vegetables.

• Buy clothing from the sustainable lines. Many popular brands have a parallel sustainable clothing line.

• Promote stores that sell groceries in environmentally friendly recyclable packaging.

• Check out listings on the internet for sustainable stores and promote them.

It is said that “Rome was not built in a day”, and “old habits die hard”. There is no doubt, it will require some time and lots of restraint and conscious effort before one gets transformed into a mindful shopper. But once done, they will be happy to reap the benefits. The house will be a clutter-free and easy space to live in; the balance will be better, and the guilt of overusing the resources will be less.  

So, next time when you walk down the aisle of that supermarket or when you pick that phone up to do online shopping think of these points and shop mindfully.

About Organo Et School (OES)

We recognize that for any positive impact to be sustainable, it must be long-term and inter-generational. Organo Et School strives to create an apt learning environment that will support and empower families as well as individuals to embrace sustainable living mindsets and habits.

Organo Et School is a learning initiative set up by Organo in 2017 and has been facilitating field visits and workshops for Schools and Interest Groups. Organo Et School has had over 25+ schools, 6000+ students and 2500+ adults participate over the last 4 years.

We believe in connecting children & adults with nature.

Please send your queries to us at oes@organo.co.in and by phone 9154100775 today!

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