How to Shop Like a Minimalist – 12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying

By Tico+Tina

Last updated September 26, 2022

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It’s all fine and good to declutter and edit your current possessions, but if you don’t change your mindset and learn how to shop like a minimalist, pretty soon you’ll be back at square one!

I came across a helpful list on WhoWhatWear of questions to ask yourself before buying that I expounded on in this video below, and I also wrote out my own take on the questions in a way that can work with any purchase.

How to Shop Like a Minimalist - 12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying | minimalism, simple living

  1. Would I really buy this if it wasn’t on sale?
    Honestly, there is very little I would buy if it wasn’t on sale because the sale price is built into the full price and I’m probably going to wait for the sale, but it’s just a little too easy to justify buying something I don’t need, just because it’s a good deal.
  2. Am I trying to justify this purchase because I think it will motivate me to do something?
    Like buying a slightly smaller size thinking I’ll lose the weight? Here’s a thought, reward yourself for actually doing something… not before.
  3. Is this something I will end up annoyed at when I’ve used it for a bit?
    Like is it actually comfortable? I know sometimes it’s hard to know for sure, but you probably have a gut feeling about it if you pay attention.
  4. Do I feel compelled to get this largely because it’s a “good” brand?
    It may very well be a good brand, or the brand may have just put a lot of money into advertising, but either way, if it’s not actually useful to you, it’s still not a good purchase.
  5. Would I be getting this just because I’m trying to fill a quota?
    The whole 2 for $10, 5 for $50 or whatever, works just as well on me as your average consumer, but ultimately we end up with way more stuff than we needed or wanted, and it’s almost always things we barely or not even really liked… If you want to shop those sales, just have a plan for the “extra” items – consignment or something, don’t just store it.
  6. Does this item really work well with what I have?
    If it’s clothing you’re considering, can you quickly think of multiple outfits you could wear it in with what you have now? I’m always aiming to “level-up” with my purchases, so sometimes I’m thinking forward toward something in my wardrobe or a room in my house, but by and large, you want your purchases to work now.
  7. Would this purchase be for a hypothetical situation or potential future life?
    If it’s not something you’re going to use on the regular, or if you don’t even have an actual real-life plan for the item, you’re just paying for clutter.
  8. Would this item be higher-maintenance than is worth the bother?
    When I’m thrifting, I too often forget to check the tags, only to discover later that I bought something that is supposed to be dry-cleaned. I am 99% sure I will never in my lifetime go to a dry cleaner, so that’s real-dumb. This goes for other stuff, too – do you want to have to dust around this, etc?
  9. Does this really make sense or do I have to rationalize it?
    If you don’t have a real, actionable plan that you will really follow in order to: make this fit in the budget, work in your space, refinish in a specific timeline, etc., then you will probably wind up regretting it.
  10. Am I filling a gap or making a pile?
    A pile is made from excess and from things that we’re not really quite sure what to do with or want to put off… a gap is filled when we get the right thing for the space – not a square for a round hold.
  11. Is this really me, or is it someone else on Pinterest?
    There are so very many things that look awesome in someone else’s house or with someone else’s style, but if it’s not “you” it will likely stick out like a sore thumb. There’s nothing wrong with evolving your style, but make sure you’re doing it consciously rather than haphazardly.
  12. Do I really, really like this, or am I trying to convince myself I like it for various “logical” reasons?
    Arranged marriages are a thing, and I do fully believe people will grow to love each other if they go into it with the right mindset, but do you want an arranged marriage with your stuff?

Get the Minimalist Shopping Guide.

Check out more about minimalist living here!

Minimalist living frees you to have what you really want because you're not bogged down by what you don't need. ~Tico&Tina | minimalism | simple living8 Simple Living Podcasts to help you ease into minimalism | simple living, minimalist lifestyleThere are two ways to be rich: one is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little. | 31 Days Exploring Minimalism | simple living | quoteWardrobe Decision Guide Infographic - How to Get Rid of Clothes Decision Tree Chart | fashion, minimalist living, minimalism, simple living

We're well-acquainted with being stuck in soul-sucking survival mode, and the intense internal friction of not living in alignment with your potential. We're all about discovering, creating, and sharing adulting cheat codes™ so you can level up faster! -David (Tico) & Chris(tina)

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