It's all too often that we find ourselves buying products that we don’t need, and rarely end up using. We’re all guilty of this. The question is, how do we do better? How can we bring our mindfulness practice to consumption and create the opportunity to ask important questions before we buy things?
Here are a few questions that are helpful to ask before making a purchase:
1) Do I actually need this?
Identify whether there's a unique use for this item that cannot be fulfilled by anything else that you own. Essentially, you are determining what the product’s purpose is.
Always go shopping with a list and if it’s not on the list- don’t buy it! This is a great way to help prevent impulse purchases.
2) How many times will I use/wear this item?
If you determine that this is something that will not get much use or wear, consider borrowing it from a friend or even renting the item.
3) Based on your answer to the previous question, what is the cost per use, or cost per wear for the item?
Consider whether or not this is “worth it” to you.
4) Is this item made from sustainable materials that will not harm our planet?
Production can often have detrimental effects on local communities and the environment. This is important to consider. For more on this, check out our blog post on “ Why We Only Use Organically Grown Cotton”.
5) Who made this product? Under what working conditions was it made? How are the workers being treated? Are they being paid a living wage?
To read more about this, head to our post on “ Tips For Shopping Consciously”
6) Do you support the brand’s practices and ethics? Do their brand values align with your personal values?
Interested in learning more about our values and practices? Read “ Not All Turkish Towels Are Made Alike”
7) When I’m finished with this product, how will I dispose of it? Can it be repaired, reused, recycled, donated?
Take a bit of extra time to research where you are donating your unwanted items. Although we often feel like we’re helping out when making donations to clothing bins or thrift shops, it’s usually quite the opposite.
For example, clothing that we think we're donating, is in fact commonly being sold to third world countries, and serves to undermine their local textile and clothing industry. For a more in depth look at this issue, click here to read Forage & Sustain’s comprehensive blog post on the topic.
Well-made products do not need to be replaced as often. Try repairing, repurposing, reusing, or recycling items before throwing them away. Alternately, give your unwanted items to someone you personally know who can use them. Clothing swaps are a fun way to do this.
Buy less. Buy quality. Buy things that you love, that have a story.
Shop locally. Support local brands and businesses and take the opportunity to speak with business owners and makers. Local markets and pop ups are a great place to do this. This is one of our favourite parts about poppin’ up- getting to speak to our community about our brand, our products and the ethos behind our business.
Stray & Wander Team