Despite being minimalists, Christian and I really enjoy shopping. Intentional shopping, that is!
Black Friday is upon us. On this annual celebration of consumerism, we encourage you to practice shopping with intention. Guaranteed to be a meaningful experience.
Black Friday is the always a dark day of the year when hordes of shoppers descend upon malls across America. It is a celebration of consumerism and the holy search for best deals of the year. For many, that equals stress—long lines, arguments with other shoppers and even injuries. Literally shopping ‘til you drop.
It makes me shudder just thinking about it all. This kind of consumerist frenzy showcases some of the worst elements of our more, more, more focused society, namely unhealthy shopping habits.
I used to be a somewhat compulsive and mindless shopper. One of my triggers: the discount bins at the front of the store. Before I knew it, I spent ten dollars, or more, on things I didn’t need because it was a “good deal.” Many of us buy things we don’t really need or don’t even like that much. Shopping as a compulsive behavior is not a meaningful experience that it can be.
It’s not that I think all shopping is wrong or bad, or that bargain hunting is distasteful. I have a newfound appreciation for shopping. Christian and I practice something we like to call intentional shopping. When we go shopping it’s because we need something or want to replace something with a better quality item. As a result, we relish the experience.
The available space in our tiny home is limited, and we like it that way. We reserve the space we do have for items we truly love or need. Naturally, this lends itself to quality over quantity mentality. For us, shopping is now a conscious kind of treasure hunting.
Recently we were in search of the perfect hooks for our DIY coat rack. We visited many stores, but their selection of hooks was lacking. None were quite right. It wasn’t a stressful experience. It was like leisurely sightseeing with the exhilarating anticipation that the next store or the next aisle would hold the treasure we sought.
One lovely Spring morning, we visited a large, eclectic flea market in Raleigh, NC. We had a fun time strolling, talking and perusing the booths. Towards the end of our visit, we discovered them, the perfect just-right hooks—adorably woodsy and sturdy. Cue the angels, “ahhh, ahhhhhhh.” Besides coffee, these were our only purchase that day. The only things on our list, as well. All in all our shopping experience was thoughtfully enjoyable. Most importantly, it was very satisfying.
Now every time I hang up my hat, a smile comes across my face as I admire the beautiful hooks and reminisce about our shopping experience. As you embark on your next shopping trip, I encourage you to do it intentionally. It is guaranteed to be a meaningful experience and a stress-free bargain.
-Alexis Stephens, co-founder of Tiny House Expedition