How to stop wanting more
Wed, 21 Apr 2021 22:19:46 +0000
Newtown Festival has just happened, and for the first time since I’m here I didn’t feel like going.
In the past years, I would get so excited about it: the music, the people, the food. But the thing I would get the most excited about would be things to buy.
I love the idea of supporting small independent businesses, but that has often meant that I would buy products I didn’t really need or never used just for the sake of showing support.
(There are other ways to support small businesses without buying anything, by the way: writing reviews, following them, commenting and sharing their posts on social media, referring them, subscribing to their newsletter.)
This year, I felt more overwhelmed than anything.
When I went, I realised I wasn’t paying attention to the stalls at all. I would normally hover over handmade jewellery, essential oils, cute prints and all that.
But this year I found myself thinking: I don’t need anything. I don’t want anything.
This made me reflect on: what has changed? What happened that made me stop wanting things?
For one, I currently live in a tiny space, and although between the two of us we do have room to spare, I also need to be very conscious of what new items I introduce in the household.
The other thing that I have noticed is that, in the past few months, I have removed a lot of distractions that I had before moving into a bus (see: limited access to the internet).
Finally, I have been thinking about all the things that I brought into the bus and decluttered in a matter of weeks. I thought about when Luke and I were sharing a tiny room and living off a few pieces of clothing and not much else. I thought about when we travelled north for two weeks cooking on a camping stove, sleeping in a tent and bathing in lakes.
So I came to the conclusion that these are some of the things that have helped me stop wanting more:
Limiting the space you can store stuff
I’m not saying y’all gotta move into a bus, but not having a lot of storage space surely helps. It’s easier to not buy anything than to buy something and having to deal with finding a place to put it or having to get rid of something to make space for the new item. (I sometimes apply the “One In, One Out” rule, but I find it way less stressful to just remove the One In.)
Reducing shopping opportunities
I try to shop only when I truly need something, rather than to just kill time. Every time I walk into a shop just because, I will inevitably end up seeing something that I wasn’t even remotely thinking about before, and wanting it. Recently I haven’t had much time to kill and haven’t been in many shops at all.
This includes online shopping too: since WiFi access has been limited, I have been more intentional with what content I consume online, and have been avoiding online shopping altogether (plus I don’t have an address to get stuff sent to hehee).
Unsubscribing from newsletters
I know I just said that a way to support small businesses is to subscribe to their newsletter, however this is a double-edge sword, because you will receive updates on sales and promotions that can be very tempting. It takes a lot of willpower to not fall for every coupon or discount code. Being broke also helps.
Thinking about things you’ve already decluttered
And the money you’ve spent on them. Think about what a waste of time and money it is to acquire items that you end up getting rid of. I am very much guilty of that. I have gotten rid of so much stuff I have never used. It fills me with a sense of shame and frustration. So now I try to be more intentional of what I bring into my life so that when I do acquire a new item, it’s something I want and I have put a lot of thought into and I will hopefully keep for a very long time.
Not going to clothes swaps
Don’t get me wrong, clothes swap are AWESOME, and a great opportunity to acquire new pieces of clothing in a fun, sustainable way (especially on Fashion Revolution Week whoo!). However, every time I’ve been to a clothes swap, I have picked up things I didn’t really need just because they were free. Not being exposed to many opportunities to grab free stuff helped me realise that what I already have is more than enough.
Being grateful for what you already have
On that note, think about how much stuff you already have. And how privileged you are. If you are reading this, you are probably privileged. If you can afford to think whether you want to buy something or declutter something, you are privileged. You already have everything you need. I definitely already have everything I need.
Now, this is not to say that I never want anything. I have definitely bought myself a couple of things since moving into Sid. But I feel like my priorities have shifted, and I have been wanting things that I know would make my life easier and more efficient rather than things that would suit my fantasy self more than my real self (for example: I haven’t needed or wanted a new necklace or pair of earrings or a piece of art to put on my wall, but I was in need of a bigger backpack for carrying half of my life around with me every single day).
How about you? How do you feel about wanting and needing things? Do you have a strategy to feel more content with what you already have? I’d love to hear from you!