Shopping with Intention

Black Friday, that ominous day of the year when hordes of shoppers descend upon malls across America. It is a celebration of consumerism and the holy search for best deals of the year. For many that means stress—long lines, arguments with other shoppers and even injuries. Literally shopping ‘til you drop. It makes me shudder just thinking about it all. This kind of consumerist frenzy showcases some of the worst elements of our more, more, more focused society, namely unhealthy shopping habits.

I used to be a somewhat compulsive & mindless shopper. One of my triggers, discount bins at the front of the store. Before I knew it, I spent ten dollars or more on things I didn’t need because it was a “good deal”. Many of us buy things we don’t really need or don’t even like that much. Shopping as a compulsive behavior, not a meaningful experience that it can be.

It’s not that I think all shopping is bad, or even that hunting down a bargain is a distasteful act. In fact, I have a newfound love for shopping. My boyfriend, Christian, and I practice something we call intentional shopping. When we go shopping it’s because we need something or want to replace something with a better quality item. As a result, we relish the experience.

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Alexis & Christian enjoying coffee

The available space in our tiny home is limited, and we like it that way. The space we do have is reserved for items we really love or need. This naturally lends itself to quality over quantity. For us shopping is now a conscious kind of treasure hunting. Recently we were in search of the perfect hooks for our DIY coat rack. We visited many stores, and found a selection of hooks but none were quite right. It wasn’t a stressful experience. It was like leisurely sightseeing with the exhilarating anticipation that the next store or the next aisle would hold the treasure we sought.

Alexis & Christian of Tiny House Expedition

Alexis & Christian of Tiny House Expedition

One lovely morning, we visited a large, eclectic flea market in Raleigh, NC. We had a fun time strolling, talking and perusing the booths. Towards the end of our visit, we discovered them, the perfect just-right hooks—adorably woodsy & sturdy. Cue the angels, “ahhh ahhh.” Besides our coffee, these were our only purchase that day, what we came for. All in all our shopping experience was thoughtful, enjoyable and ultimately very satisfying.

Now every time I hang up my hat, a smile comes across my face as I admire the beautiful hooks and reminisce about my shopping experience. As you embark on your next shopping trip, I encourage you to do it intentionally. Guaranteed to be a meaningful experience and a stress-free bargain.

DIY coat rack with my flea market find, woodsy hooks

DIY coat rack featuring our flea market find, woodsy hooks

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yours Truly,

Alexis

Tiny House Expedition

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Abba - November 24, 2015 Reply

Good post! My wife and I have moved a couple of times in the last couple of years, and each time our house has gotten smaller. We’ve purged stuff several times, but more importantly, we’ve embraced the “Do I REALLY need that?” before buying things. It is hard to act this way, but we’ve done well.

One thing that helps is removing the temptations. We stopped getting flyers delivered in the mail, which has cut down on those moments that you buy something just because it is a deal.

    Alexis Stephens - November 25, 2015 Reply

    I think that’s a wonderful idea. We get bombarded by advertising that it can make us feel like we’re missing out a deal; influencing our purchase decisions subconsciously.

LC - November 24, 2015 Reply

We’ve been shopping this way, too. My big weakness was good deals at the grocery. When you have a lot of storage space it’s easy to justify buying 6 boxes of crackers because it’s a “good deal”. This was the hardest thing to change when we started living compactly.
Regarding Black Friday….. I’m joining REI to #OptOutside. No temptation that way!

Elisabeth - November 24, 2015 Reply

Thanks for the timely post! I enjoy the browse and hunt of shopping as much, if not more,than the experience of ‘checking out’…that feeling of hypnotic mindlessness that tends to overcome the shopper as they empty the wallet by the register. Nowadays, I’m more likely to be dropping off a bag of goodies that I’m finished with at the back door of the Thrift Shop, than I am to be hauling home a bundle of books or a ‘new for me’ item out the front door. However, I still love to look at stuff, admire it or be appalled at it on its own merits…and just pass it by because it’s not for me…

alice h - November 25, 2015 Reply

It’s good to take an extra moment to reassess your cart or basket when you’ve almost finished shopping. I’ve often given in to an impulse, dragged the item around the store only to put it back before actually buying it. It might initially feel like something you need but on more reflection it could turn out to be unnecessary. Might as well figure it out before you pay for it and take it home.

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