It was easy at the beginning of the pandemic, if you had the means and easy access, to stockpile all kinds of “essentials”.
It also feels like the pandemic has revealed a few things. Not only who and what is important in our lives, but what we truly use and need.
Now that the dust has settled a little, although we’re not out of the woods yet, let’s revisit our panic buys and clear the clutter.
Use It Or Ditch It
Remember the rush to buy essentials back in March?
Are you stuck with wall to wall toilet paper or canned food now?
Maybe you also bought food items you thought you would use. Food scarcity, or the simple thought of it, makes us do crazy things sometimes. I know I bought more dry and canned foods that we needed in the beginning. Not a huge amount, just a little more than usual.
Canned and dry foods, even though they last longer, do have an expiry (or best before) date. Don’t let it go to waste and plan meals around what you have.
If you have items that are not open, make space by donating these them to the people that could not hoard. Think shelters and food banks that mostly rely on donations to take care of their clients (more details on donating food in Edmonton here - Search your local bank for details).
Before the pandemic, I had been resistant to order a tonne of stuff online. I would only do it if I couldn’t find what I wanted locally. Things have changed dramatically though. Lots of local shops have developed online stores now, with pickup or delivery, which I think is fantastic.
But, let’s face it, in the face of boredom, we all fell for the Amazon trap a little bit. If you didn’t order anything online, you are stronger than I am. For fun, we did end up ordering “paint by number” and although we did start them, I’m not exactly sure when we’ll finish them. Waiting for a cold rainy day in the fall maybe ;).
What about clothes? Did you realize how uncomfortable your usual work clothes were and then promptly order 22 pairs of leggings? I know I did a little clothing decluttering, or rather replacing, lately. Out went clothes I don’t feel comfortable in anymore, replaced by newer versions that I would wear every day. Now that thrift stores are open, don’t be afraid to unload your unloved gear.
Did you order something online that serves no purpose in your life? Can you return it still? Would someone you know have use for it? Or maybe it was so flimsy and didn’t last? Donate, trash, or recycle it if possible.
I think this global crisis has us looking for comfort in all forms, and with reason. Thinking about the state of the world is stressful and there are not a lot of opportunities to fill our emotional tank with fun fulfilling experiences.
So, we turn to self-care, or more accurately self-care products we think are going to make us forget the lockdown and the fact that we can’t hang out with our favourite people.
Have you been collecting all kinds of products, thinking you were going to get that skin-care routine nailed-down? Do you even need a skin-care routine? Do you really need more than a few really good favourite products or are you just telling yourself you should?
Masks, creams for this or that, serums, toner, cleanser, Oh my! Once open, these products don’t last that long and good products are not cheap either. So check with yourself and see if you have extras you could give to someone else (unopened of course).
Also, use all and I mean ALL your sample sizes products. You know the ones you got from the hotel you stayed at last year or you bought from the travel section at the pharmacy. Again, that stuff doesn’t last forever, so next time you’re running low on shampoo or lotion, use those instead.
Oh and what about makeup or nail polish? Personally, I don’t wear makeup or nail polish very often. Once in a while, when I feel “extra“ or if we’re going out, which we are definitely not right now. Maybe like me, you realized that, even with your limited stash, you still need and use less than you have. So either you use it or ditch it!
Streaming Services & Monthly Subscription
Oh boy, TV! That’s a hard one for me. I love, LOVE losing myself in a good series. And I have to say, it’s been helpful in letting the anxiety go, even for just a moment, while cheering on your new favourite character.
There are so many to choose from and I’m not just talking about TV, there’s Audible for books and a few services for music as well.
How many streaming services or monthly subscriptions did you subscribe to during the pandemic?
Also check your car insurance if you have some. If you're not driving to work every day and are not going to in the near future, check if you can lower your payments.
Having a look at all your monthly charges and deciding which ones you actually use and like is definitely a good exercise and maybe you get to save money in the process. Again, use it or ditch it!
A lot of the world has revealed itself in the last few months or has been amplified. What you believed in or thought you knew for sure, may have changed or better yet, evolved. People and brands you have been following for a while may not reflect your newly acquired knowledge and it’s OK to let that go.
Unfollow accounts that make you sad, stressed, angry or don’t reflect your beliefs anymore. Although it’s important to get information from balanced sources and see opinions that differ from yours, if the way people or brands post or what they post about is making you upset daily, no need to keep them around. Instead, focus your energy, your likes, and comments on accounts that elevate the conversation (even when the conversation is hard) and make the world better.
For family members or friends, it’s more tricky, I know, and you may want to keep them around your feed (or not, that’s OK too). If you feel like the relationship, even if just virtual, is toxic, consider muting the account or limiting the frequency you see their posts. Check your social media settings or Google to learn how.
These are weird times, folks!
Anxiety, fear, and sadness can certainly change our usual behavior, sometimes it’s for the best, but not always.
So if you have found yourself stress buying, be kind to yourself, take a deep breath, and identify what is truly bringing more value to your life and cherish that. It’ll be easier to let go of the rest.
What else has the pandemic changed in your buying habits?