Harnessing Your Emotions to Shop Intelligently

What does Marie Kondo mean by “Spark Joy?”

The goal of this post is to reflect on the emotions we feel when we purchase something.

Our emotions drive our actions; if we are able to conquer our emotions and understand why we buy, then we may be able to curb addictive shopping habits, maintaining a lean, decluttered wardrobe.

I always told myself I wanted to be the next Joanna Gaines. BUT after the beginning of this year, I have decided something different: I would like to be a mix of Joanna Gaines and Marie Kondo.

If you haven’t already joined the latest craze on Netflix (besides Bird Box), you will, because spring cleaning is around the corner.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix is sending “spark-less” clothes to donation bins and inspiring people to declutter their spaces and their minds. It’s an awesome way to reach those minimalist goals!

I loved the show so much, I started listening (because reading is near impossible, #momlife) to Marie Kondo’s book on Audible, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I am now convinced that we literally wear our feelings on our sleeves, and for some, we allow our feelings to fuel our purchasing.

Understand Your Emotions, Understand Your Shopping

Our emotions naturally intertwine with our possessions. By getting in touch with our emotions, we can figure out why we are neglecting some clothes and over-purchasing others.

By getting in touch with our emotions, we can attain and maintain a minimalist wardrobe.

In The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie analyzes why it can be hard to discard items.

She suggests that we hold each item that is difficult to discard, and ask ourselves these questions:

  • Consider why you have it in the first place.
  • When did you get it?
  • What meaning did it have in the first place?
  • Reassess the role it plays in your life.

I built on these questions, to further examine our thought process when shopping. Stop what you are doing and go find a piece of clothing that you have not worn in a long time. I’ll wait! 😃

Now, with that piece of clothing in hand, ask yourself:

  • Where did I buy this?
  • How did I feel when I bought it, at the moment of the transaction?
  • Why don’t I wear it?

The answers to these questions can help us get in touch with the emotions that are causing us to over shop.

  • Where did I buy this?
    • Some stores (and friends!) can send us into a care free mode, in which we are prone to purchasing an item was not on our things-to-buy list. Keep this in mind in the future, if you go back into the same store or shop with the same friends.
  • How did I feel when I bought it, moment of transaction?
    • If you felt a little rush, that’s normal! Shopping releases a small burst of dopamine in most people. If this is you, just be aware of it and stick to your things-to-buy list. Or, after you pick out an item you like, wait several days before purchasing. Waiting can take the edge off your excitement and give you a better sense of whether you actually want the item, rather than the rush of purchasing something new.
    • If you felt guilty due to the expense, remember that you haven’t bought the piece until you hand over your credit card! If you are feeling buyer’s remorse before you even buy the item, just tell the cashier that you’d like to think it over. You can always go back another day if you decide you want the item.
  • Why don’t I wear it?
    • Sometimes we like how something looks in the store, but we don’t like it on ourselves! That’s fine, just make a mental note not to buy a similar item in the future.

Remember not to beat yourself up! This is a process.

Take your time and spend some time reflecting on each item you declutter. You’ll be able to learn a lot about your personal style as well as your shopping style.

In the future, being able to control your emotions will help you make smarter wardrobe decisions.

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