What do you consume?

“How many white shirts do you have in your wardrobe?”

“Two, Four, Eight?”

“Go count them and I mean dress shirts, T-Shirts, Singlets, Cami’s everything that is purely white…”

“So how many do you own?”

I was shocked when I did a count. I currently own 23 white shirts. Yep 23. This got me thinking how much other “stuff” do I own in multiples.

I went and did a little tally of just my skin care and beauty products and here is what I found:

– 7 different types of foundation both liquid and powder

– 4 different black mascaras

– 3 different bronze coloured eye shadows

– 2 different toners

– 5 different types of moisturizer

– 3 different primers

– 4 different soaps/body wash

– 10 different types of hair products

– 3 different types of shampoo and conditioner

The list could continue and I could add clothing, shoes, accessories, food, candles, household items. The point is I’ve not just collected stuff. I’ve collected multiples of stuff. I don’t want to even begin to think about how much money I’ve spent on the multiples of stuff.

It’s funny how we accumulate so much stuff but how often do we actually use this stuff? Did you know that last year was the first time that American’s spent more money on self-storage facilities than on going to the movies *Quote Seth Godin* That fact I find fascinating! I have been collecting so much stuff that I myself was starting to contemplate where I was going to put it all. It became stressful but I received such a high off buying something new. Buying something to fill the emptiness in my heart and soul. Fill that gap of I don’t feel like I belong. Fill the need to find fulfilment. Fill the need of I’m stressed from work. Fill the need _________ in my life. So I found false fulfilment in things, short-lived joy and happiness. It filled that gap, need, thirst, lust and want to belong for a short time.

This journey is not going to be easy, I’ve told myself this a thousand times. This is going to hurt Rachel, this is going to be tough, this is not easy. Each time I say these things to myself, I also fire back with some positive words to myself including — you can DO this, you are doing this, feel into the fear, go to the gym instead, you’re beautiful without that stuff, you are capable.

I used to for as long as I can remember I found my worth from “stuff”. “If I just buy this dress, pair of shoes, makeup, top, vase, candle then you will be more beautiful, successful, sexy, pretty, affluent or even simply enough.” It actually ended up having the opposite effect. It brought me to a place of deep insecurity in myself, my abilities, trusting myself because to be honest with you I couldn’t. To some degree I still don’t. I didn’t trust my judgement, my actions, my words and my decisions around shopping. I was constantly second guessing myself and I still do.

This week I reached a tiny milestone, a tiny victory on a long road to recovery. Yep this last week I hit 14 days of no shopping **insert happy dance/ gym session here** That’s only 14 days out of 366 of no shopping. I still have a long and windy road of 352 days to go. I’m not counting down these days until I can shop again, go crazy and on a massive binge and fill my room with gift bags, receipts and stuff. I’m counting down the days to see what each day and layer it brings. With each day, I wake up and say NO to stuff, to buying with my emotions or feeling, to eating with my emotions and filling my life with stuff to prop up what I’m actually feeling.

After celebrating my tiny victory for 2 weeks of upholding my shopping ban, I decided to celebrate with a coffee. Something I used to drink mindlessly every day. I used to drink on my walk back to the office with my head buried in my iPhone. Not taking in the experience of the morning rush happening around me or enjoying the warmth and depth of my coffee. I was too focused on getting to the next moment. This week was different. I consciously set out to one of my favourite coffee shops. I ordered my favourite coffee with a smile and my last $5 before payday (thank god it was the same day) and I walked slowly to the train station sipping my coffee observing the world and people rushing past around me. In that moment, I took a deep breath and felt gratitude for the small victory and gift of this coffee. It’s funny when you pull back on everything you used to do some mindlessly and you watch the world go by you really can experience that moment so much more. Once I had finished my coffee and realised that I had 23 white shirts I set out a new intention for the next few weeks ahead. That is to only buy something when I am 100% out of it. Because I have come to realise I have been collecting stuff, storing it and anyone would think that I am preparing for World War 3 to break out and the world to close off with my 6 boxes of Green Tea in my cupboard and my 23 white T-Shirts.

I now want to be very intentional about every single purchase. Observe how and why I buy that item that is on my approved list. To help with this intention I’ve come up with five questions to ask myself every time I go to purchase something. Here they are:

1) Is this item on your approved shopping list? Yes/No (if no, put it down, walk away and think about why you picked it up to begin with)

2) Are you out of it? Yes/ No

3) In No why are you buying more of it?

4) Will you be using this item in the next month? (If no, don’t buy it)

5) Is this a true purchase or a happiness purchase? (A happiness-purpose is an emotional purchase, something to make you happy now and give false happiness and joy in the long run)

Try these out, let me know what you think. Or come up with your own and share. Hey, why not try next week only buying stuff you’re out of.