Shopping for Happiness

This picture taken by my amazing sister in law, Susan Stalker.

This picture taken by my amazing sister in law, Susan Stalker!

Shopping for Happiness.

Sounds a bit weird, right? You can’t shop for happiness. Can you?

Sure you can.

Not really.

Everyday we are bombarded with commercials and print advertisements that promise us happiness if we buy that product or shop at this store. As happy centered adults, we know what the mission of these ads are really, about yet we still fall for the puppet act even though we can see the strings. Why? Why do we do this?

Its not limited to buying specific items, it is rooted in shopping itself. I cannot tell you how many times I have been angry or sad and then gone shopping.

I am not talking about grocery shopping. Grocery shopping is a necessary evil. My children are always eating. In fact they are rummaging through the fruit bowl right now.

Emotional shopping. Are you guilty?

I am. 100%.

This past winter, was a sad time. I was sad and had a really hard time not being sad. I felt that I could not stay home, being trapped in the sadness that appeared to be all around. Instead of sitting home, we would finish our school work and then go shopping. I am not talking about thousand dollar shopping sprees with me running through the mall like a crazy person. Shopping is shopping.

I was sad but still cheap and definitely not stupid.

The kids and I frequented the Goodwill Outlet and thrift stores with ferocity. I had gotten it into my head, that thrift store shopping was different and that as long as it was cheap it didn’t matter.

Boy was I wrong.  Because no matter where I was shopping I was trying to fill an emotional void that needed to be filled. The problem was, shopping was never going to do it. After we would return from our shopping trips, I would still feel empty and sometimes a bit guilty.

I have been thinking about this a great deal lately, as I have been decluttering and simplifying throughout the house. Quite a few of the items that I had purchased during the winter have been donated. I don’t want to have them around. They seem to hold the sadness I was feeling at the time they were purchased.

Remember when I wrote about taking the pictures down off the walls?

Same concept.

A big part of my minimalism journey has been about taming my emotional shopping.  Part of the battle of clutter is limiting the items that come in the first place.

Now, when I feel, sad,mad or even joyful, I try to steer myself away from the stores. A 25 cent basket is not going to make me feel better, no matter how good a deal it is.

Have you ever done this?

Are you guilty?  Are you an emotional shopper? If you are then. I would love to hear about how you fight the urge to shop when you feel down.

Best of Luck!


4 thoughts on “Shopping for Happiness

  1. Online shopping is the curse of the emotional shopper! I justify it by buying books but still, I feel guilty when the visa bill comes in. Lately, I’ve been suppressing that impulse, and calling our local library. I’ve gotten four books I would have otherwise bought, through interlibrary loan! It makes me feel good to value our money this way. I went through a huge vintage fabric and sewing notions buying phase…old tablecloths, bed sheets, etc. all destined to be repurposed into something creative and beautiful (but it only ever happened in my mind). When I see stuff we use every day cluttering surfaces because all our storage space is full of stuff we’re “saving” for later, I remember that freeing up space actually frees US from the tidying/clutter battling that consumes so much of my time. I am loving reading about your journey!

    • You are so right about online shopping! I use my Amazon prime membership as a crutch to excuse my purchases, but shopping is shopping. I had been saving lots of hankerchiefs and tablecloths and old linens that a lovely old woman had given me last summer. She had them all tucked away in a chest. They had not been touched for atleast 30 years. We found a christmas towel set still in the gift box. This made me a bit sad. I have only kept a few for us to use but have donated the rest of them. When I thought about using them I wasn’t really thinking about the me I am now, instead I was thinking about the me I want to be. Well, I figured I like the me now, and that any crafting of that magnitude would have to wait until after my littles were so little. It felt good to purge.

  2. My impulse grande caramel frappuccino sure makes my world a better place. But I don’t think it is helping me lose weight at all…

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