Retail therapy, fashion waste and a Marie Kondo way of life

Shopping is great, but mindful and consciously done shopping is even more pleasurable. And it's good for your mind, wallet and the environment!


Shopping! Just the word gives me an instant shot of pleasure, albeit short lived pleasure. Why short lived, you ask? Well, picture this – you’re having a crappy day at work and you just decide to indulge in a brand-new pair of shoes. They give you an instant high. You feel splendid in your new shoes for a few days and then the excitement dies down.  How many times have you looked at your brimming wardrobe and decided you have nothing to wear. Then, you shopped a bit more but ended up on a guilt trip because your bank statement revealed how much you spent! This was me. I had myriad reasons for shopping- a sale, retail therapy, birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day and so on. But I was fooling myself. I was not happy, no matter how much I shopped.

Fashion waste, Marie Kondo and energy

Recently my daughter had to watch ABC’s War on Waste series as part of her school assessment. We got interested, fascinated and then shocked at the stats on fast fashion – 85% textiles purchased by Aussies are sent to landfill every year.

Fast fashion utilises fibres like nylon, acrylic and polyester that are petroleum derived and will take up to 1000 years to biodegrade. Fast fashion’s social impact is negative too. 80% of these clothes are made in Asia by exploited young women living in poverty. But I realised people don’t really care because it does not impact them. What we care about is mountain loads of unfolded laundry or a disorganised wardrobe that gives us the shivers! Clutter drains energy, diminishes productivity and makes people depressed.

Retail1.Indian Link

My go-to solution is Marie Kondo, the queen of organised living. Her techniques, including the KonMari method, on how to lead a liberated, clutter-free life have made a phenomenal impact on people all over the world, especially after her hit Netflix series which released a few months back – Tidying up with Marie Kondo.

Kondo believes that unused items have a heavy energy that can weigh you down and make you feel guilty about money spent unnecessarily. Her idea is that your clothes and things should make you happy (“spark joy” is her famous phrase), and if they don’t, we ought to respectfully do away with them.

Impulse buying is like binge eating, leaves a bitter after-taste aka guilt. This ties back to the idea of less is indeed more, good for your mind, wallet and the environment!

Is shopping really that bad? Well, it’s not. Mindful and consciously done shopping is pleasurable, especially with a group of like-minded friends, followed by coffee and a long chat!


Retail4.Indian Link

Here are some simple strategies to make you the winner in this battle of human vs retail –

  • Schedule a wardrobe cull at the end of each season, to do a stock-take on pieces that were on high rotation and ones that you barely touched during the 3 months. You can contact Clothing Clean Up for a free clothing collection from your doorstep.
  • Create a Pinterest board for outfits you love and then shop your own wardrobe to recreate looks for $0.
  • Unsubscribe shopping alert emails for a month and you’ll be surprised at how much you save! Try buying only quality brands that sell long-lasting pieces.

Retail2.Indian Link

  • Be mindful in the outfit you wear, feel the texture, appreciate how it flatters you, remember the compliments you received when you wore it last. Gratitude will go a long way in resolving the impulse buying attitude.
  • Lastly, also thank the women who made your clothes, even if you don’t know them. Send out a small prayer “may their life be better tomorrow, than it is today”!