humour travel

Goodbye to Buy

by Cheney — August 14, 2017

Nobody wants to drag a 25kg bag around Scotland. Unless it’s full of really good whisky. A few reasons to buy less.

On my most recent trip to the UK, I bought a leather jacket. It was well made, in a colour I hoped would be versatile. It felt like a well-thought-through purchase.

I’ll never be able to part with my extensive collection of revenge lists.
Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

I also bought a pair of winter boots. And a pair of oxfords. Oh, and three scarves, a wooly hat and a pair of gloves. Three tops, two pairs of tights, some jeans, earrings, an art print. Makeup, skincare, chocolate, fudge, marmalade, fruit cake and the maximum duty free allowance of Scotch whisky for 2 people (6 litres). That’s not the complete list, and I haven’t even counted the gifts brought back for other people.

Obviously, I’m not a minimalist.

I’ve mentioned before I find it difficult to get rid of stuff. This is mostly because I have the attention span of a hummingbird wing beat. Then again, I’m not a hoarder either. I live in a compact apartment, with another person and minimal storage space. We both have to be mindful about not filling it to the brim.

In light of the holiday spend-a-thon, I’m taking a break from purchasing non-essentials for as long as I’m able to hold out. Hopefully Christmas. Groceries, bills and some entertainment are ok, but if it needs to be stored and isn’t something I really need, it’s not on the list. I’d like to spend time enjoying the stuff I already have, and honestly, I can’t think of a single bloody thing I actually need and don’t already have. Except for this giant, ultra-realistic cat head.

Doing a buy-less challenge sounds an awful lot like minimalism, I know. Or, at least, nothing different from the blog posts of several thousands other millenials. It’s very now, having less stuff. We’re all about sparking joy and burning our unwanted birthday presents in a bonfire. There’s a lot about the concept that squicks me out, which is why I’m writing about it. It’s that, or eat my feelings, and I already had fried chicken today.

Having a couch isn’t totally necessary, but it is more comfortable.
Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash

It’s easy for me to stop buying things, because I already have the means to have supplied myself with everything I need. That’s an uncomfortable thought. That I have the capacity to own so many things that it’s a problem. And I’ve noticed minimalism is often a competitive sport for ascetics, whereby shedding things leads to a sort of enlightenment, and the person who lives with only 49 things, is somehow better than the one with 50. It’s not bourgeois to own a bedframe. But it is kind of gross to claim you’re somehow above having one, because you sold yours a month ago and have never had to sleep on a floor except by choice.

I don’t think curbing my spending is going to make me a better person, though I might end up with more drawer space. I’ve become aware I get something from shopping, besides five new pairs of socks, that feels…compulsive? Maybe that’s too strong a word. But I’d like to know why I enjoy filling up an online cart, or one of those big net bags they give you at Uniqlo so much. I’ll miss buying stuff and I’d like to sit with that uncomfortable feeling for a while and figure it out. It might be that I need more fulfilling hobbies, or it really might be the case that my quest for the perfect white shirt is totally necessary.

I’m not sure yet. The only thing that’s certain is that enlightenment is a long way off. In the meantime, there’s no immediate danger of running out of whisky.

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