I’ve never been much of a shopper. I became a single mother around the time I started to earn my first regular salary, and never had any margin for mindless shopping. I needed to plan in order to make room for necessary shopping like clothes for my child. And life has been good anyway. I enjoy life with less things and more living – this blog is about my search for a simpler life.
So I’ve never really understood “retail therapy”. Until now. This year, during my recovery from my latest (hopefully last) burnout, I’ve been shopping for fun like never before. An interesting experience!
It all started very innocently when I was googling for a good price on something I needed to buy, and stumbled upon a site that sells things directly from China. The delivery was slow, but I’ve never had a problem waiting for things. It was the very same thing that was sold in stores in Sweden, but a fraction of the price. To good to be true? I decided to give it a try (frugality is another of my traits, after all). And some 6 weeks later the parcel arrived, and it was exactly as promised. So next time I needed something, I checked at this shop first. So far so good.
I like writing, and at the time I had just jumped on the Bullet Journal train. If you don’t know what Bullet Journal is, google it – there are tons of blogs, Instagram and Pinterest accounts dedicated to it. And since I was on sick-leave from work I read a lot of them. Maybe because I was in that fatigued state, I read them very literally. If someone claimed that they loved washi tape, I suddenly also needed washi tape. And it cost nearly nothing at that Chinese site! Nor did the post-its, pens and whatever… So I placed the orders.
And then I started to browse the shop instead of looking for specific items. The creativity of people is amazing! There were things that were solutions to problems I hadn’t even realised I had before. Little things, like a special thing for cleaning the drain in the bathroom from hairs. So clever! And cheap! And look, they have smart little things for the camera! And, oh, the stationary! And look at those clever little things for the kitchen! And… that’s when my journey down the rabbit hole began.
Six to eight weeks later, the stuff I had ordered started arriving. Small parcels, more and more frequently. By now I was starting to feel better, and became more and more aware of how much time I had been spending browsing the marketplace. And also how much money those small orders actually add up to over time…
A new experience for me, but one I realise I share with a lot of people. The kick of finding the thing, and the smug feeling of finding it at a bargain… It’s addictive.
But unlike a lot of people in this consumer society I know that there are other ways to get the kick, that good feeling. It’s actually an even greater kick to create a solution to your problem yourself. Whether it is to find something laying around to use to clear the drain from those hairs, or finding your own way to Bullet Journal (which actually is what that is about to begin with). Or the joy of using the camera, experimenting with it to take interesting pictures instead of using the time to shop for accessories…
This weekend, Black Friday to Cyber Monday, marked the start of this year’s shopping crescendo. I’ve decided to let it be the end of mine.
Starting today, I’m doing a Buy No Things period. For how long I’m not sure, but definitely for all of December. I don’t need any more stuff (but I’ll be getting more anyway, since many of my orders still are in transport).
I need to reclaim my time. Time to read, time to write. Time to enjoy and experience this the darkest month of the year. To feel the contrast of the cold and dark outside, and the warmth and light inside. To connect with the people I love. To simply live.