How can I be a better shopper?

We constantly hear about how we all should minimise our consuming and look after our planet. How we should declutter our home and buy less stuff. How the local independent businesses should be supported and big chain retailers ignored. I’m sure most of you agree 100% but is it actually practical? How much should we change to be better shoppers?

I’m a big fan of supporting independent businesses and individual makers but sometimes shopping small is not that practical and that’s ok! It’s all about the right balance, maybe choosing more independent and less mass-market, whenever possible. I still shop in big supermarkets and retailers but what I’m trying to do more, is shop smarter. To be strong and ignore the supermarkets’ 80% off sale signs, especially if it’s yet another t-shirt my son doesn’t need.

So I have been thinking, and I came up with little reminder list for myself. Hopefully this would be great use for you too!

1. Get in the right mindset

When walking into any shop and you see something you like, think carefully if you really need it. The chances are you don’t. Especially those sale items which seem such a good offer to miss! Unless it’s something from your actual shopping list, just put it back.

2. Use shopping lists

This is especially good when grocery shopping. But even for clothes, toiletries or gifts – write down the items you need to get that day/week/month and stick to it. It definitely helps minimise the impulse buying.

3. Re-use, recover, restore

When I had my sewing business I often used to pop into local charity shops in search for interesting fabrics and cool vintage buttons. Something what I would never wear, might have a beautiful pattern and that fabric would be great addition to my patchwork projects. Same would be with old furniture you might already own. Bit of creative thinking (or few hours on Pinterest…) and some basic DIY can transform old into new with very little effort and time.

4. Shop independent

This is my favourite, I love shopping independent! Finding talented designers and crafters has never been easier – Etsy and NotOnTheHighStreet are my favourite online shopping stops, Instagram can be great source of finding new makers. Also local markets, craft fairs, gift shops – especially when visiting a new town or a country – are brilliant way of supporting independent businesses.

5. Shop local

This is closely tied with number 4 and another favourite of mine. Boosting your own local economy, supporting your friends and family when making purchases is so important! Having a chat with a baker, a farmer or a maker just adds so much to the product, the item comes alive and has a story. The feel-good factor of shopping local is just amazing!

Shopping smarter and kinder definitely should be easily achievable for everyone! Just getting your balance right, thinking before making that unnecessary purchase and choosing independent over mass-produce, this will make us all better shoppers.

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