How a Pinterest Board Reduced My Impulse Buying | Sustainable Fashion & Mindfulness

in this article: I share an easy, effective idea that will curb your emotional spending and impulse shopping during this pandemic (and even otherwise). If you’re trying to make more sustainable fashion choices, practice mindful consumerism and curb irrational lockdown buys, this is for you. This trick uses Pinterest, and you can execute it within minutes of reading this blog post. The brilliancy of this is in the elimination of FOMO, the product you’re tempted to buy won’t be lost or forgotten forever, I only provide a tip that will help you ‘pause,’ shop smarter and save yourself from regrettable purchases that end up a wastage.

Me Coming Out Of Lockdown With All The Stupid Shit I Ordered Online - Meme - Shut Up And Take My Money

 

Is that you? Nowadays, Instagram ads are raging (I miss the sweet pre-2020 days when ads were so rare on that platform) and their algorithm is constantly evolving to be genius enough to specifically hit us with our deepest desires, pulled precisely from every corner of our mind and every conversation we’ve ever had while our phones spied on us. I am grateful – as a business owner – that everyone stuck at home is online shopping more than ever just for something to look forward to, but excessive consumerism is not a sustainable practice to encourage. A lot of us – albeit well-deservedly in this current existential despair – might be buying a tad much that we regret later. Well placed ads, a lack of serotonin, being stuck at home, seeking quick gratification during a tragic year and frequent glasses of wine are all together keeping brands running and also providing a slippery slope down the path of excessive, wasteful consumerism for shoppers. While I’ve treated myself to plenty of shopping during both these lockdowns, all of the good and bad experiences of being a lowkey pandemic shopaholic have provided me with wisdom to be more mindful of my purchases now. I know exactly what can go wrong, and what can go right. I can now manage to sidestep temptation and make sure my shopping is limited to investments in smart, wise, versatile, stylish and long-lasting goods from sustainable sources that I will never regret. I’m excited to share this with you. What is this hack in one sentence?

Making a clever, specific kind of Pinterest board where you add the things you wish to shop.

I’m going to highlight exactly what this board should contain and how you work with it. Using this board is a hack that makes you pause, but you CAN still go back to your online shop crush in the future. You don’t have to fear forever losing out on a good thing. You also never have to face this exact situation again – buying a gorgeous dress, after which you find a beautiful saree that you so want and is much better than that dress, and regretting losing your budget over said dress. It happens to the best of us. What I’m suggesting merely helps you place a much needed ‘pause’ without being too strict with yourself (hey, we’re in a pandemic, we do deserve indulgent treats from time to time), and organising your purchase wishes such that you will always have the best among the style pieces you desire, make the most out of the money you’re willing to spend, and never make a purchase that hurts your pocket or causes unsustainable wastage later.

How to use this board?

  1. Create a board on your Pinterest titled something like ‘Buying Wishlist’
  2. You can make sections within this board such as clothes, jewellery, home decor, footwear, books, etc. As many as you like, just to keep it organised.
  3. Whenever an Instagram ad makes you slip into a website full of pretty things, or you’re browsing and stumble across something you love, make a habit to save it to this Pinterest board instead of clicking ‘Buy Now’
  4. This in itself can be an enjoyable activity. Sometimes, I’ll sit down to relax with a glass of something and take great excitement in finding things to save on my Buying Wishlist board. Its like making a vision board or something! Cherish the anticipatory joy of knowing that “someday, I’ll treat myself to this, and I’m saving it to this board for that.” It’s much like a manifestation exercise.
  5. People who love fashion or work in fashion often browse online shops for leisure, work research and inspiration. Same with other creative fields. If you’re one of them you can use this board as a storage space for interesting finds. That prevents you from constantly or impulsively buying things when you were just doing research.

So, you’ve made an organised board of all your wishes and shopping desires. Every time you like something online, you train your fingers to add it to the Board instead of hitting ‘Check Out.’ Make it a habit, and decide a day of the month which you’ll reserve for shopping something pretty for yourself. Delay the gratification, you don’t have to omit it. What happens now?

I promise you, return to your saved wishes one week or ten days later and you’ll suddenly find that there are at least three or five things that you simply don’t find charming anymore. Maybe, in the days that have gone by, you find something even more beautiful. You discover a new designer and your tastes evolve. Consider this:

You saved a white dress on day one. On day seven of this board’s existence, a dreamy white kaftan has made its way into your Wishlist and that white dress cannot hold a candle to it. You’re grateful you didn’t spend money on that white dress, and you can now choose this kaftan instead. Imagine having already bought that white dress, and then also buying the kaftan, the white dress is probably neglected forever and you’ve spent far more money in that month than you should have because you get swayed by everything that comes your way on social media.

My mother’s trademark line – we tease her about this a lot – is “yeh too mujhe humesha se chahiye tha (I wanted this since forever)” and she says it to a pretty saree, kurta, t-shirt or dress every two weeks or so. Ever since I have known her.

A lot of times, I’ve purchased things that felt like “Oh my, my wardrobe will be COMPLETE once I have this. I don’t need anything else if I get this very thing” Do you relate?

Then, the aforementioned, much hyped object I shopped online reaches me. I keep it in my cupboard, and by this time I’ve already latched that dialogue onto something else that I saw online. The earlier imagined everlasting peace I thought this purchased object would bring me is nowhere to be found. It is a mirage, an illusion; the all too familiar cycle of materialistic desires.

As in romantic pursuits of fickle hearts, online shopping wishes are often more magical and exciting in the wanting than in the having. Our desires never end, and we would do well for this planet to manage them better. Not many of us can be so perfectly minimalist that we stop shopping for pleasure altogether, and your shopping is a life raft that gives so many people their employment and livelihood. I earn my own livelihood from other people’s shopping, for one, and god knows shopping has always given me several moments of joy and delight. The human tendency of shopping for pleasure has kept the wheels turning for artists, designers and creators for centuries. It has helped me support artisans, tradition and heritage that I’m passionate about. I love fashion, I love shopping, I love having pretty things. I love having my wardrobe investments make me feel a curator of art and style, to think that my taste is constructing my legacy. I never shame, blame or demonise consumerism. I believe in developing and suggesting ways to make our consumerism wiser. Better for us, better for creators, and better for the planet!

This Board will streamline your shopping into what’s best, most needed, most important. It will give you that very important consideration period, that mindful pause, before you make your next fashion investment. When you next land a sum of money you’d like to treat yourself with, or a festival comes around the corner, you can go to your Wishlist and see the things your past self saved to someday have. You can decide what of these is still calling to you, still seeming exciting to you, and spend your little saved sum wisely on something you have truly considered and thought about. I always believe in saving money and buying high quality clothing that is priced (in a fair and ethical way) higher instead of buying a ton of cheap things. It is the very first step of sustainability, and if you only practice this, you can make such a difference. By pausing your purchases by saving it to your Board, you can later see options from weeks or months of saves that you know you really liked at some point. There’s never going to be a beautiful dress or pretty shoes that you once saw but forgot the name of the brand, or that you wanted to have but forget to buy it when you’re able to because you’re distracted by something else that happened to pop up into your feed on payday. We spend our money less often, spend more when we do in a really, really good investment, and we end up buying something we truly value over every other temptation that came our way because we’re objectively viewing and comparing all our temptations over a given period of time in one place. You’re not steered and thrashed about by the constantly rushing stream of ads, you’re rowing the boat. 

A lot of times, going over my board makes me realise that while I dearly crave the seven thousand rupee pearl string I saved to my Wishlist because I was drinking wine and binge watching roaring twenties episodes of Downton Abbey, what I really need most urgently is the saved black blouse that will go with ten of my sarees. Or that the handloom cotton dress from a small business that I saved is actually more practical during a lockdown because I’m out of comfortable home clothes, much more so than jewellery that I can always make to order later when the world reopens. If I didn’t make the pause, I’d possibly be here writing this blog post in torn pajamas, my aunt’s old shirt and a rope of pearls. Not very Lady Mary-like, just saying.

The fashion pieces that we do not stop wanting even over a period of several days or weeks, THOSE are what will truly serve us and we will value. You’ll find that many things in your closet may be such that if you hadn’t bought them the moment you saw them, you would have been quite likely to simply forget them and not want those products any more. Online shopping today thrives on impulse, emotional, instant consumerism – websites are designed to create a false sense of hurry and urgency so that it’s too late when you realise the product wasn’t that necessary or smart a purchase after all. 

Would you like to know my experiences from my own Board?

  • I’ve been doing this for two months, for I needed to test drive it before I shared it with my audience. If it can rein a modestly hedonistic online shopping princess like me in, I bet few others will be an exception to being made more disciplined by the rule of the Pinterest board.
  • There’s so many things that, after 4-5 days of being on that Board, are deleted and never purchased. I realise they’re boring, or find something much better. A lot of money saved. A lot of unsustainable hoarding avoided. Too many times, I end up finding a similar but even better option within a week or two of saving something, and I make better decisions. I also never lose out on something I liked during a prudent time, because I know I can get back to it during a more lavish part of the month. If something goes out of stock, it doesn’t hurt too much, it’s simply an option eliminated.
  • You will make better purchase decisions, truly and deeply CONSIDER everything you buy, have a few nights’ sleeps over it, and that will save you from a lot of poor lockdown shopping decisions. Let the board be your consideration period, be very picky about what deserves to be on the board, and it will make you a far more mindful consumer. It would be very Monica Geller of you, and a great step for being more sustainable with your fashion choices. You deserve the very best, and pausing your purchases by letting them serve a probation period will ensure that only the most desirable and valuable investments – that stand the test of time, whims and fancies – will make it to your closet.

Click here to see my Buying Wishlist board! I’m hoping you already follow me on Pinterest. You can follow this board to get inspiration from the things I wish to someday buy. If you follow my blog and social channels, I know you like my taste and it can make me your personal shopping curator of sorts! I majorly stick to saving the best slow fashion, sustainable fashion, handcrafted and artisanal finds on my Buying Wishlist. You may discover some lovely brands on mine.

Go on and make your Pinterest board now! If you’re excited to try this, do share your board on your social media and tag me (@oorja.revivestyle on Instagram). I’d love to check out and follow your board if you’re open to sharing. You can also comment below, message me or email me your experience of practicing this pause.

For the first twenty four hours of this post going live, I will be sharing videos on my Instagram Stories (@oorja.revivestyle) on how to save various things you come across on the internet and social media to Pinterest for those who are new to this. If you miss it, feel free to DM me for guidance anytime or find a recorded guide Saved in the highlight on my Instagram profile called ‘Blog.’

Here’s wishing you enough security and abundance during this pandemic to continue having more little treats of lockdown shopping, but done mindfully for yourself and for the planet!