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Ascent Publication

Minimalism, Consumerism And Worn Out Stuff

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I haven’t bought new clothes for over 7 years. This austerity along with our minimalist lifestyle enabled my husband and me to open our social enterprise. I’m now watching my clothes rot off of me. This past weekend we went shopping and committed an act of consumerism. A lot of it! This is the story of how committed minimalists premeditated a day of reckless consumerist abandon.

An Old Mattress With Broken Springs

Our mattress is 10 years old at least. A few years ago our mattress pad died from old age. We tossed it. With no time, interest or inclination to buy a new one, we slept on. The mattress started getting even for this abuse and springs began to pop up. Day after day, we’d get poked in various parts of our body. Our precious sleep was being ruined by a vengeful mattress. We needed to do something.

I had a frugal solution but it required a trip to the shopping center. We actually scheduled a Saturday for us to go for an afternoon of shopping. What started as a simple plan to get a mattress pad turned into a shopping spree.

Date Day

We’ve given up date nights long ago. Mostly because we were working and needed the money. This simple trip of shopping was morphing into an actual date. I laugh here because I was excited that we’d have time to just go out together again.

We got up early that morning. Planned when we’d leave and then hubby stuffed cash into his wallet. Lots of it. I was shocked, really. I had no intention of getting more than the mattress pad… I thought.

The good part of this mini mall is that they only have 2 stores. The bad part, they both have great prices and specials.

He started it! He suggested we look at the non-mattress pad store first. We split up after he told me that I should find something I wanted. My mind refused to do that. I immediately thought of my rotting jeans. They’re also 10 years old. I went over to the jeans rack. Slowly thumbed the pile hoping that they wouldn’t have any. They did. I tried them on. They fit. Damn! That’s it, I’m done no more shopping.

I finally found him, he had a fist full of socks in hand. He smiled I found something and said: “go find another pair.” I did and cheaper. He was like a kid in a candy store. I told myself that I was done. No more shopping for me.

Glued Shoes

We finally went to the other store. Our destination was to the shoe department. I’d glued his shoes to the point of no repair and it was time for new ones. We actually got a deal and something unexpected. As he was paying for them, the salesperson asked him if he wanted a store card. He said yes, not realizing it was a credit card. So he got that too. The salesperson was confused when he gave them cash for the sale, lol.

We did get the mattress pad, actually 2 of them to fill the holes. It’s heaven. We didn’t do too much damage on our shopping spree. It was all things we really needed to replace worn out stuff.

We also indulged in a dinner out. We spent the day with each other and enjoyed being kind to ourselves for a change.

My Conflicted Mind

First off, no one looking at me knows my clothes are ancient. I believe in wearing things out before you buy. Sometimes I love something past their prime, but I only wear them at home. Being frugal doesn’t make you a derelict.

Secondly, the idea of excess shopping isn’t our thing. Hubby and I are major minimalists. We live very simply. We know we need to take time for ourselves but living in a seasonal city means that large blocks of time are for the hustle. That’s why times like our shopping madness are special. It’s rare. It made the trip fun and exciting because we were breaking our austere mold.

Lastly, buying cheap clothing or items bugs me. I’m a conscious consumer most of the time. Mattress pads aren’t something that’s mainstream ethical as far as I know. I do feel guilty about the jeans though. I think that until ethical markets become mainstream, this will be a problem. Instant access to items people want and need will prevail.

This is an uphill battle for ethical shops and producers. It’s something near and dear to my heart. As an ethical shop owner, I see people with loads of bags from outlet malls. They dropped big bucks on unethical items and it makes me mad/sad at the same time.

We need to start changing how we shop. We all need to be more discerning about how we spend our money because it’s the power of the shopper to make those changes.

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Reawakening is letting go of unnecessary things while reclaiming lost passions and creativity: life, lessons, and learning.