Minimalism vs The Addiction


Here’s how it is for me – I like to get new things but I don’t particularly like to shop.

I don’t enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of the bargain. That’s not my thing.

I just like the feeling of getting something new. It’s the feeling I’m attracted to, not necessarily the item.

So, you know, dear reader, that I spent months discarding, decluttering and reorganizing my life. I’ve got my clothes closet dealt with. I’ve got my house decorating settled. Towels, linens, kitchen tools, memorabilia, storage, well, just everything is fine. It was hard work. It was emotional work.

And now there’s really nothing I need to buy.

Oh, there is still a desire to shop because I like that feeling of having something new.

To be honest, that feeling is an addiction.

Occasionally I’ll get an urge to buy something new. It grows until I’m jonesing for that feeling. My mind starts running through my whole house trying to find something that I can justify replacing. I’ll resort to really stupid reasons to buy something new. “The coffee maker is dirty, I need a new one.”

Or I’ll get that itch that I’m bored with my clothes and I need something new. “Yes, I have a pair of black shoes, but I need a pair with a millimeter more heel. Don’t you understand?”

Then I get real practical. I’ll say, “I need a new organizing bin or rack or something that will “help” me. I really need another organizing tool, don’t I?” Nope.

“How about office supplies, I need new post-it notes and paper clips, right?” Nope. “But my paper clips are just silver, I think I need blue ones and post-it notes to match. Matching office supplies will help me be more organized, right?” Nope. Just stop!

“Isn’t there anything I can buy? I need a fix!”

But minimalism has messed me up. I can’t get a fix!

Because now when I think of buying something new I get a flashback of all those bags of items that I discarded. Bag after bag, box after box of junk that I didn’t need. I remember having all my clothes spread out all over my room and carefully deciding which ones bring me joy and which ones don’t. I love all my clothes and the beautiful relief of having  a spacious closet. I can actually go in it now without feeling anxious. I don’t want to ruin that so I find that when I thinking of buying something I remember that relief and joy and I think, “Whatever I buy will probably throw off my balance” so I don’t buy anything.

It doesn’t affect just my clothes, but my whole house. I think about the overwhelming burden of clutter and the weight that is now gone of not having to find a place to put it all and clean it all. Oh, I don’t want that again.

So, I find myself not buying anything.

But the craving for that feeling of getting something new is still there.

It’s frustrating. I have an itch I can’t scratch.


If someone else asked me what to do, I’d say, “Go do something you enjoy like hiking or your hobby or spending time with loved ones.”

But you know, honestly, those things don’t take that feeling away. It just gives me a reason to shop: I need new hiking boots, a new tool for my hobby, a new dish to put the potato salad in that I’m taking to the pot luck dinner.

It’s a modern day addiction fed by advertising that is everywhere and the stores that are so convenient that it’s crazy. These stores give you an experience, make you feel good just by walking in them and walking out with that delicious feeling of having something new. “Where shopping is a pleasure.” “It’s my pleasure to serve you.” The stores exist just to make me happy! Right?

I’m sorry but walking in the park is not quite the same. It’s good, but not the same.

So, I hate to leave you hanging, dear reader. I have no solution.

Maybe it really is like what I’ve heard drug addicts say, “You never really lose the taste and desire for heroin, you just learn to fight it.”

Got any advice?







9 thoughts on “Minimalism vs The Addiction

  1. Just like rotating toys for children- rotate some of your belongings. Seasonal clothes, change hobbies for a month, read a “new” library book, listen to a”new” type of music. Travel. Rearrange. You are seeking a novel experience. It doesn’t have to be a thing. Keep a journal of 3 novel experiences you have each day. Get excited about learning something “new”. Meet “new” people.

  2. No advice. I’m just like you.
    I’ve decluttered now and I’m determined to keep it that way. I intend to spend the rest of my life “traveling lightly”.
    New clothes do make you feel good but trying them on is a headache.
    My “out with the old and in with the new” is ebbing.
    I do understand the need for new. The gratification. The desire. Desire is a strong thing. We all have an addiction.
    I have to remind myself when I want something new that the Son of God had nowhere to lay His head and that kind of does it for me. Not everytime….but most of the time.

  3. I completely agree with everything you said. I experienced the same feeling you have. Now I sometimes treat my self with something new, but very rarely, and if you ask me how I managed to stop my “cravings and urges” I really can’t answer you. Not because I don’t want to, but because I simply don’t know. Maybe I found my peace in meditation and grattitude…

  4. It’s hard to give advice when everyone has their own journey towards minimalism, but here’s what I do to satisfy such itches. I gift list “shop” for loved ones. I can spend 2 hours digging through Pinterest and online craft tutorials and helpful blogs looking for one (mostly) perfect gift for my husband or my sister, a gift that is personal and yet is suitable coming from me, a minimalist. This sort of list making is like window shopping. I get to view all sorts of new items and new ideas without spending the money (yet). Good luck with The Addiction, Jill.

  5. I have the same feelings. It doesn’t even have to be a big ticket item, like you said. Anything! Paper clips…a new lipstick, anything small! One thing I constantly spend money on is books and the last thing I need is more books, so I have started going to the library once a week and checking out books. They also sell leftover magazines for a dime a piece. I treat myself to a cheap magazine as well, read it, and then pass it along.

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