I'm following the procedures that Cait Flanders outlined in our Simple Year Course and in her own shopping ban (which ends next week after two years). Decluttering
Here is Cait's first step for a Shopping Ban. She got rid of 75% of her stuff. I have made simplifying a priority for quite a few years now, so this step is pretty much done. I'll do a quick sweep to make sure.
One area of dangerous clutter around shopping is the digital type. I previously unsubscribed from all shopping coupons, mailing lists, marketing facebook pages etc. (By the way, I LOVE Unroll.Me! It monitors those kinds of emails and puts all your approved newsletters into one email per day.)
Inventory and Parameters
My personal for-just-me list is simple now, but there are lots of in-between items. Those things belong to our whole family, and I don't feel the need to inventory them for reflection during the shopping ban. Make no mistake though: I have personally cut down on a lot of the familial clutter where I could clear it without hurting others.
My personal list of possessions: water bottle, backpack, cloth totes (2), dessert rose (from my dad, Saudi Arabia), purse, yoga mat, Nutritious Movement stretch/prop pack, yoga/exercise DVDs (4), yoga CD, hiking poles (2), camel pack, sleeping bag + pad, e-reader, journal, notebooks (2), cell phone, iPod classic, flute + music, photos, memory book (made by G'ma Hall), (alarm) clock, Hapkido uniforms (3) + sparring equipment, Hapkido weapons (5), paperbacks (2), bolga basket. Clothing/accessories (covering all seasons): long sleeve t-shirts (2), slippers, shoes (7), nice shirts (4), flannels (3), sweaters/sweatshirts (8), scarves (3), long sleeve basic shirts (9), vests (4), work pants (4), regular t-shirts (8), exercise outfits (5), jeans, overalls, PJs (2), necklaces (8), rings (2, aside from wedding set), bathing suit, cap, gardening/trekking hat, rain jacket, warm coat, wool hat, gloves, mittens, leg warmers, cowl, sunglasses.
The Essentials List/Approved Shopping List: anything I use on a daily basis but not replacing things until I need to. These are consumables usually, but even my clothing counts unless it's out of season and I can wait. One example (if gorilla glue doesn't work) is a pair of brown sandals that are essential to my wardrobe until it's quite cold.
Non-Essentials List: books, music, random toys, decor, furniture, cooking gear, hobby stuff, art supplies (unless it's a replacement issue for the girls), educational "stuff" for the girls, DVDs, stuff for my classroom (unless it's truly necessary!), me eating out when feeling lazy, yoga/exercise gear, programs for the girls that I instigate.
***I've changed my concept of books or exercise stuff as non-essential depending on how/why they are bought. Are they recreational or important for some goal? Are they replacements for a necessary item (especially in exercise)?
I'm currently debating the area of online courses. I take them as I can and as really good ones are available. I don't think this will be an issue since the Neufeld courses on my radar don't start for quite a while. The classes are experiential the way going to the theatre, concerts, museums, hikes and camping are. This area feels grey for now. I will consider this area if I do a longer shopping ban.
Track Savings and Triggers
This will be multifaceted since there are other choices we're making in terms of mindful budgeting. There could be other factors contributing to our savings.
Everyone's triggers are different. One of mine is internet influence (via blogs usually) so I have to watch it carefully. This concern gels well with generally cutting screen time because of the time it devours. I'm catching the trigger feelings in the moment now some of the time rather than in hindsight only. That's progress! Now I'd like to observe other components of my trigger moments (like emotions, what kind of day I'm having, stress, where I am, what I'm doing).
Eric and I used to involve shopping in many of our dates. We have lately chosen more of the hike-types but still included a good dinner/restaurant. Some of the shopping doesn't have to be bad. If there are things we need or he really wants to look at, I'm down with it. Being in malls or Target doesn't seem to mess me up these days. I've tested that a bit lately and passed. I'm not saying that there's no temptation, but it can fuel Christmas gifts later if we so decide. The only time I come home with more than what's on my list is when it's consumable foods we can't access locally. I want to be mindful of that tendency. If it's for the girls, it feels okay; but when it's processed food that still qualifies as junk (just organic junk) for me, it's not okay.
I wonder if any triggers could be replaced by healthier movement habits like exercise, more walking, hiking etc.? One habit I'm building for my health and wallet is really a re-do: better advanced food prep and planning. When I have healthy options ready to go, I make much better choices. The library is a resource I'm using more habitually. There's nothing crucial about reading just this book just this moment in terms of purchasing it. If it's really great, I will get to it either with the library or later when shopping isn't off limits.
I feel some of my shopping ban and conscious consuming intentions have the flavor of Katy Bowman's new book coming out in November where she explores stacking her life to maximum benefit. I'm looking forward to reading that book, but I probably won't buy it anytime soon.