How To Be A Conscious Consumer
Updated: Apr 7
Conscious consumption might sound like an abstract concept at first. But it isn’t hard or tedious, you can think of it as a personal journey that takes into account your changing life seasons and needs.
Conscious consumption is essentially making considered choices in your fashion habits that align with your ever-changing personal goals. Life isn’t static, and our needs change with it. Maybe you’re at a stage where you want to save more, or perhaps you’ve decided you want to be more environmentally conscious. Whatever your goals are, your conscious consumption practices should complement and move you towards these goals.
If you’re not sure where to get started, this article is for you! We break down the steps to conscious consumption and outline some strategies you can try out for yourself. Remember that conscious consumption is personal — always check in with yourself to make sure it’s what benefits you holistically!
1. Set some goals for yourself
Setting personal goals is the first step to conscious consumption so that your fashion habits are aligned with what you want to achieve in life. Do you want to improve your financial capabilities? Become more sustainable? Clear out more space in your house? Set your goals, then you can see more clearly how your fashion consumption should change to meet these goals.
2. Identify what type of shopper you are
Getting to know your shopping habits is key to understanding your patterns. When do you tend to shop the most? What is the nature of your purchases? If you need some extra help, Mind Your Cart developed a quick test to tell you which of the four types of shoppers you are — The Deal Hunter, The Impulsive Shopper, The Anticipative Shopper or The Rational Shopper. Find out which you are and understand more about your “symptoms” to begin setting some goals!
3. Determine whether your purchases are Mindful or Mindless
When you feel the urge to purchase, stay alert and check in with yourself. Do you really need it? Or are you simply acting on a whim? Mindless purchases tend to not have any specific purposes and result in the buyer feeling guilty and remorseful thereafter. However, mindful purchases are ones that take into account personal needs and actually fulfil a need and bring out benefits leaving the buyer satisfied for long term.
4. Curb excessive shopping with fool-proof strategies
Mindless, impulsive shopping is probably one of the toughest things to curb! But if there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are some of our favourite tips to help us overcome our mindless shopping impulses.
Don’t click that checkout button yet - wait 24 to 48 hours before deciding to purchase
Exercise the Three-Outfit Rule - if the item cannot be styled in at least 3 different ways with existing pieces in your wardrobe, it has no place in your wardrobe!
Remove billing & credit card information from your browser - this takes away the convenience of checking out, giving you more time to contemplate your purchase.
Swap your clothes instead - if you feel like your wardrobe needs a refresh, declutter and swap them out for new items instead of simply adding to your already full inventory.
5. Use a checklist before making any purchases
Create a list of criteria that you can hold yourself accountable to. Ask yourself
questions that are deal-breakers and non-negotiables that apply to your shopping style. Ensure that you adhere to it when you do go shopping!
Your checklist should:
Take into account your personal goals
Address your shopping triggers
Determine whether this purchase will bring long-term benefits to your life
Act as a voice of reason and rationality
6. Declutter your wardrobe
Did you know that having an overly cluttered living space can cause additional feelings of stress and anxiety? Not only is it super therapeutic, but decluttering also lets you exercise your decision-making skills which can make you feel effective and competent! What’s more, the feeling of achievement and relief post-decluttering is pretty satisfying. You’ll be more familiar and confident with what you actually need and what’s unnecessary by spending quality time with your wardrobe. Put on a podcast or music while you’re sorting so it doesn’t get boring.
7. Make a wardrobe inventory
Decide on a method of organising that works best for you and how you envision your wardrobe to look like. There are lots of ways to organize depending on how much effort you’re willing to put in. The four main ways are a photo journal, spreadsheet, mobile app, and notes. Decide which you think is the most sustainable, and more importantly enjoyable method for you! Your wardrobe inventory shouldn’t be a chore.
Once you have put a system in place, update it with your future purchasing purchases regularly. It might take some time to get used to, but with everything in life, once you do it consistently it becomes second nature!
Mind Your Cart is a non-profit communications campaign that seeks to promote the conscious consumption of fashion products (clothes, shoes and accessories). This includes engaging in the behaviours of 1) Keeping an inventory of one’s fashion items, and 2) Adhering to a checklist of criteria before making a purchase. The initiative was born out of a collective passion for both fashion and personal well-being by four students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University.
Find out more on MYC’s Instagram: @mindyourcart