Overconsumer or not? 26 questions to get you thinking

Consumption is necessary, but excessive consumption is not.…………...…Excessive consumption leads to bigger houses, faster cars, trendier clothes, fancier technology, and overfilled drawers. It promises happiness, but never delivers.
— Joshua Becker
Having stuff is not the problem.  excessive stuff is. 26 questions to get you thinking about your consumption habits.  www.thoughtsonwhatmatters.com   Photo credit katie heath Nepal 1996

Having stuff is not the problem.  excessive stuff is. 26 questions to get you thinking about your consumption habits.  www.thoughtsonwhatmatters.com   Photo credit katie heath Nepal 1996

Have you thought about your consumption habits?

You know what?  A bit over a year ago, I didn't know I was an over-consumer.   I'd never given it a thought.   But I was.I was always after a bargain.  Always after a shopping hit.  I got a buzz out of a night on the sofa internet browsing.  Over the years, consuming had become a hobby, a relaxation technique, a bit of escapism.  

Up until then I hadn't taken the time to think about what it really meant.  Once I did, I discovered a whole lot about myself.  And I've added way more to my life since.

Having stuff is ok.  Having too much is the problem.

So for a number of reasons, in  May 2014  I began a process of simplifying our families life.  I'm not talking about buying chickens & making my own flour.  I'm talking about simplifying our physical possessions & activities.  

In going through the process we've reduced the frenzy in our home and are now more able to focus on what really matters.

Checking in on your own habits. 

It's good to regularly stop and take stock of our habits.   We can get so ingrained in how we do things that we forget to take the time to check in on ourselves.   

What you'll see below is a random list of questions.  Questions I've got into the habit of asking myself.  Questions to get you thinking.   Questions to help you be a little more conscious about your consumption patterns. 

Take your time.  If you're really brave you could even answer them with someone else.

27 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Consumption Habits

Your Shopping Habits

1. Do I over-shop?  What's behind my shopping urge?  Habit, desire to impress, greed?

2. If I had less money would I be more conscious about what I buy?  

3. Would I reduce stress if I didn't go to shops and markets with kids.

4. Do I often buy unnecessary stuff for my kids.  Could I reward them in a different way?

5. Could I stay away from the shopping mall for a month?  (excluding groceries)

6. Do I ever walk out of a store, like Aldi, with unplanned purchases?

7. Could I do more exercise if I shopped less? 

8. Do I shop to fill an emotional need?

9. What impact are my purchases having on the environment?  

Your Time.  What's it worth?

10. How much is my time worth?   Should I waste time searching for an item at a slightly cheaper price?

11. What else could I be achieving if I wasn't shopping?

12. Is my to-do list heavily focused on stuff?  Buying, cleaning, sorting, fixing & returning stuff.

13. How much time do I spend internet browsing and internet shopping?  

14. Do I spend time reading shopping catalogues & store emails?  What else could I be reading?

The Stuff you already own

15. Am I hoarding things simply because they were expensive or a flashy brand?   

16. Do I really need every item in my cutlery draw?

17. How much of my time do I spend reorganising and tidying stuff.

18. Do I actually know what's in every cupboard?  Are my cupboards crammed with stuff I don't use?

19. Do I usually Google recipes?  Why am I keeping all my cookbooks? 

20. Do I really need all the books on my shelves?  Will I read them again?  Is someone ever going to borrow them?   Are they for show? 

21. If I look around my home do my things have meaning?  Do they tell stories? Do they bring life and personality to my home?

22. Would my kids even notice if I cleared out and donated a load of their toys?  Would they be more organised if they had less?

Clothes. Clothes. Clothes.

23. Will people like me anymore if I have more clothes?  Will I have more friends?

24. If I reshopped my wardrobe, would I buy those things again?

25. Do I actually wear all my clothes?  Could I pull out 20 things now and pass them on?

26. Do I get sucked into each new seasons 'must have' looks?  

Stuff costs us time & money.  And it can stop us doing other things.

Could you be an excessive consumer?  Do you have too much stuff?

Perhaps stuff doesn't make us as happy as it's sellers promise.  Perhaps we really don't need everything we already own.  Perhaps we could find some space to do other things if we spent less time buying & accumulating.

Question:  What are your thoughts? Did any of the questions hit a nerve?  I'd love you to leave a comment below.