Removing Ourselves from Consumerism

When we made the choice to move to another country, we had a big time reality check when we saw how much stuff we had accumulated over the years! After 13 years of marriage, we had gathered lots of hand me downs, shopped lots of sales, and acquired so many things! After going through the painful process of purging, we made it a commitment to not collect that much stuff again. And as we moved across the world, we continue removing ourselves from consumerism and learning what really matters.
Before we moved, I made a list of what I wanted to get out of our overseas experience. At the top of that list was to shop less & focus less on stuff and gather experiences. I didn’t know what to expect in New Zealand, I didn’t know if they had large shopping malls or easy access to buying everyday needs and wants. I set my standards really low, expecting that those things would be hard to come by, expensive, or non-existent. This set me up for success! Going with that in mind, I knew that I couldn’t spend my free time leisurely shopping sales and spending money frivolously. And don’t get me wrong…I didn’t spend tons of money all the time but I did spend money on things that I just didn’t need. I thought I did, but I really didn’t.

Mentally and physically removing myself from consumerism has been liberating! I have been reading all the books on minimalism and trying to better incorporate it into my life. It’s one thing to focus on less by myself, but when you have 4 kids, it’s a lot trickier! I loved the book Clutter Free With Kids by Joshua Becker. He said,

“Removing ourselves from the culture of consumption that surrounds us allow wonderful habits to emerge in our lives: contentment, gratitude, freedom from comparison, and the opportunity to pursue greater significance.” And that has definitely been the case in my life! Yes, New Zealand has shopping malls, stores galore, and some online shopping. It’s different from the United States and not as in your face, but it’s still available. But I’ve chosen to remove myself from that shopping scene and only buy things that I need. And because of that, I have been more content with my life, felt more gratitude for what I do have, don’t need to compare myself with the new things and styles that others have, and understand that life is about so much more.

Now I relish in experiences. Now I look for ways to create memories. Now I focus that time that would have been used on shopping or caring for my things on pursing talents and skills. I’ve had a mind shift and it’s been life changing. Little did I know that by moving to another country I would gain this perspective. Little did I know that that style & shopping loving girl would turn into a go getter and experience maker. I still love fashion, I still love design. I still love creating, But, that culture of consumption doesn’t control my life. I’m striving to maintain a healthy balance. I’ve come to learn that I would much rather collect memories than things, After all, when our time is done on this earth the only thing we can take with us are our experiences and things we’ve learned, not our collections.