How often have you said those words before making a purchase?
In preparing for my personal challenge to not purchase any clothing, shoes, or handbags for an entire year, I found myself days before the January 1 start date frantically buying clothes.
I made a list of all the significant events that will be taking place in 2022 that I might need a new outfit to attend. For example, I know I’ll be going on a vacation to the beach in June, so I purchased a new bathing suit. My sister-in-law is getting married, and the events during the weekend are cocktail and business attire, so I bought a few separate clothing pieces that would work for those events and that I could mix and match to wear again for less formal occasions. And I bought a backup of one of my favorite shirts just in case something happened to the original.
I felt a bit manic leading up to and preparing for this challenge. And then, on day one, I took a sigh of relief. It felt refreshing to be done with the “just in case” mindset.
For the last two years of this pandemic, haven’t we all been living in that “just in case” mindset? Take a covid test before traveling, just in case. Bring extra masks, just in case. Pack a mini hand sanitizer with you at all times, just in case you don’t have access to a bathroom before lunch. And it’s not like thinking this way is new or only during the pandemic. How many times have you thought to bring an umbrella just in case it rains, a shawl just in case it’s cool in the air-conditioned room. And then these things live in the random spaces where we once left them because we didn’t need them. As a result, the back of the car is cluttered with umbrellas, the closet stuffed with various sizes of clothes just in case you gain or lose weight again, the bookshelves overflowing with books that you plan to read someday but purchased because of a great deal.
For me, reducing one “just in case” mindset feels a bit refreshing right now. Maybe the challenge of not buying clothes for a year isn’t for you. Instead, try shopping in your closet first before putting a new outfit in a virtual shopping cart or only purchasing one item at the store rather than buying two. Try reducing the number of napkins you grab after your food purchase, just in case you spill, even though the glove compartment is already overflowing with napkins. All of these “just in case” moments can cause undue stress in our bodies and result in cluttering up our lives and filling our homes with unneeded stuff. Is there anything you can let go of thinking about or planning to make room in your body?
Rather than focusing on what would happen on the rare occasion that you didn’t bring the “just in case” item you thought you needed instead, let’s focus on the goal of having a clutter-free home, more time and space to make other decisions, more energy to move our bodies.
The Minimalists have a theory that if it costs less than $20 and takes less than 20 minutes to replace, then you don’t need to hold on to it, just in case. Behind the “just in case” mindset is fear. But for most of us, we already live with enough. So begin today, let go of the need to fill your space with anything. See if you can stop yourself from purchasing any new physical items for just today, whether clothes, makeup, shoes, etc. Notice how it feels to be this version of you.