A 30-Day Shopping Challenge To Bring More Joy to Your Life

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Happy Sunday!  I’m so excited to be back with you this week!  For those of you who are new to this weekly series,  I’ve been sharing with you the steps I took to transform my home from a place of stress and occasional chaos to a SANCTUARY filled with peace and joy. This week I want to share the life changing challenge I took on and how it moved me closer to peace and joy and changed how I live everyday!    .

If you read the first couple of posts in this series, you know that the beginning of this process for me was facing all of the accumulated clutter and excess in my home and clearing some space.  {You can read those posts HERE and HERE.}

Last week I shared my realization that I was mostly “unconscious” about the amount of stuff we had in our home and that I expanded my process of decluttering to include the less obvious places where we just had too much. {Remember that “lightbulb moment” in HomeGoods and those bread boards!?}

As I was slowly removing things from my home, I also began to pay more attention to the things that I was ADDING to my home on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.  I’m not talking about the food and essentials that were a part of my weekly shopping routine.

I’m talking about all of those “off the list” impulse purchases.

You know, those things that catch your eye in a store or that impulse purchase you make at the check out stand with your child in the cart.  And don’t get me started on Costco…the Disneyland of impulse shopping!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to buy a lot of unnecessary stuff, but over the course of 6 months or a year I knew it would be easy to start filling up those spaces again.

You don’t even have to leave your house to be caught in this trap. Just go online and  those ads pop up in the sidebar of your web browser that are personally tailored to your likes and browsing history.  And isn’t Amazon Prime just the easiest way to get just about anything nowadays!

Lets face it, we are inundated with temptations everyday, no matter where we are, and it is so easy to become unconscious about what we purchase.  

I was worried about re-cluttering our home because the transformation in how I felt with our new clutter free space was such a relief and a step in the right direction.  I was less stressed, better able to focus on things that really mattered to me and felt more peace and joy when I was home.  These were feelings I wanted to hold on to, so I decided I was going to have to make a radical change in my day to day habits in order to combat the impulse to bring more “stuff” into my home.

I remember reading somewhere that it takes 30 days to break a habit (or maybe it was 40?), anyway my goal was to break my impulse shopping habit, so here’s what I did…

I challenged myself to buy ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, except for the essential items my family needed for 30 days.

Yep, you read that right…nothing but the absolute ESSENTIALS!  I made a list of only the things we really NEEDED (think weekly groceries, cleaning supplies, the occasional birthday gift…) and bought NOTHING else for 30 days.  NOTHING…

When I went shopping, I stuck to the list… I did not stray, I did not browse…I was a hyper-focused shopping machine. If one of my kids was with me, I reminded them that we were sticking to the list and ONLY getting what we really needed. I also pointed out to them that we had just donated boxes of “stuff” from their rooms and how many of those things they just “had to have” at the time.  And guess what…It was AWESOME!! Way more awesome than I ever anticipated! 

Within a short period of time, it became clear that by resisting the urge to get something that would likely only bring me or my kids temporary happiness, I was investing in LONG LASTING peace and joy.  

And because my trips to the store were highly focused and productive, I also found that I had more time to do other things that were important to me. The same was true of my time spent online.  None of those “down the rabbit hole” hours spent online browsing for who knows what.  

Without the possibility of shopping for anything non-essential, a huge portion of my time was freed up.

And finally, I must address the money saving aspect of this.  When I became mindful and conscious of what I was buying and how I was shopping, I could no longer deny the amount of money I spent on things that ultimately became “clutter” in my house. 

This was a truly life changing period for my family.  It was the beginning of us learning to be incredibly mindful about the things that we brought into our home and lives.  It transformed how we live and completely changed our focus about what is important.

 It was also an amazing exercise for my kids that helped them redefine what held value for them.

I believe it was vitally important for our family to take a complete break from shopping, for an extended period of time, in order to really feel the impact of this in our lives.  It was like a total reboot of our thinking and perspectives and I hope to never go back to unconscious consumerism again.  

So my challenge for you this week is to consider taking an extended “shopping break”. It doesn’t have to a be a 30 day commitment, but maybe just try it out for a week or two.  See how it feels to be vigilant about what you bring into your home and notice how it impacts your time and sense of well being.  

By the way, when the 30 day challenge ended I discovered that there were 3 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS that I needed to ask before I bought anything.  I will be sharing those with you next week.

Have a beautiful week!

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  1. I’m loving your series on decluttering. I get obsessed with purging once I get going….such a simple and effective way to declutter our minds and our lives. Your tips are beautiful reminders of what is important in life.

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