After taking time to reflect on my past habits I recalled periods of great purges but also periods of great purchases. Often the two were happening in tandem, which meant that I always ended right back where I started, neck deep in clutter.
I knew that in order to maintain a clutter free life, I needed to balance the two processes to maintain my perfect level of item ownership.
Budgeting slowed down my purchases but they had not stopped entirely. Instead of buying things in a lump sum, I was buying things in a trickle, but eventually it still added up.
The point of my minimalist journey was to only have objects in my life that were necessary and added value; I was not going to hold on to anything that did not fit those descriptions.
What I had to do to achieve my final goal was to stop purchasing unnecessary items entirely and so I resolved to only replace objects that wore out or stopped working.
That seemed easy enough until I realized that my habits did not bear that out. It took conscious effort not to be drawn in by sales. My old spendthrift reared its head, seemingly threatened by the idea of not buying anything new and my stubbornness simply gave it more voice.
I had to take my own advice, unsubscribing from the few remaining retail sites that had survived the first cut.
I also used my purging to silence it: It was my way of saying 'See how much things we have that we are now trying to get rid of? Why would you want to add more to that?"
It remains an uncomfortable realization and I am still in the process of self-exploration. I am however grateful that it has been uncovered at a time when I am willing and equipped to handle the honesty that is necessary to come to terms with it.
The positives of the purchase embargo are that as I continue to challenge myself to identify what is necessary and what are meaningless extras, I continually refine my personal style and leave lots of room for myself to grow.