Ah, Amazon Prime! A quick search, press a few buttons, and anything – ANYTHING – will be delivered to your door in hours or days. It was an easy habit to get into, particularly in the weeks after my daughter was born. It was a bitterly cold winter, the sidewalks were iced over, my body was still recovering, and there were so many things I had no idea I needed until the moment I needed them. And so it began.
I’m not unique nor even particularly bad in my online shopping habit, by any means. Overall, I think I buy less than many others, though not enough to qualify as a true minimalist. Still, living in small apartments, and the experience of decluttering, has taught me to be careful about what I acquire, to ask myself if I will truly use an item, if the space it takes up will be worthwhile, if I’ll be putting it out on the sidewalk the next time I do a thorough cleaning.
Yet, I still use Amazon to buy new toys, books, and necessities for my daughter, along with other things, from gifts to household items. And I do most of my clothes shopping online, not usually from Amazon, but on other sites that require packaging and shipping, which amounts to the same thing.
So, from now on, before I buy anything online, I’m going to ask myself two questions:
- Can I buy this locally, from somewhere that I can bike, walk, or take public transit to?
- Do I need it so urgently, or have so little time to shop locally, that it justifies delivery?
I started yesterday, by buying running gear from JackRabbit Sports, and a book from the Community Bookstore. (Normally, I read as much as I can in my Kindle, to reduce paper waste and clutter and because I love reading as I fall asleep, but I wanted to be able to pass this book on to others after I’m done.)
On the other hand, I ordered a game from Amazon a couple of days ago because I was – let’s face it – too lazy to call around to see if anyone was selling it. The challenge for me is likely going to be those items that are easy to find online, but hard to know where to look for in the local stores.