Right now, I have three different insulated water bottles sitting on my desk. My makeup station is so cluttered it would take me a good three minutes just to find my mascara. My closet is full of clothes I don’t think are cute anymore, and underneath my bed I have bags, purses and who knows what else that I’ve forgotten about.
It's not a unique position. Like many other people, I have fallen victim to influencing.
In today’s world of fast fashion, light-speed trend changing and ever-growing social media, it has become almost impossible to not be influenced by advertisements, TikTok tutorials or recommendations from your favorite content creator.
That is, until now.
One of the newest, and perhaps also one of the healthiest, social media trends is now "deinfluencing." Essentially, deinfluencing is when creators tell you why you don’t need to buy popular products in an effort to promote financial stability, sustainable shopping and mental health.
The deinfluencing hashtag currently has nearly 450 million views on TikTok.
Like all trends, deinfluencing may not last very long. So, how do we take the premise of deinfluencing and apply it to our own lives? How do we escape the cycle of buying things when we don’t know what we truly want?
There definitely isn’t a one-size-fits all toolkit, but here are some tips for decluttering your life and beating some of those shopping impulses:
Avoid the influencing videos
Yes, it sounds almost impossible. Advertisements are everywhere we look. However, we can still avoid those shopping hauls and ‘get ready with me’ videos if they give us the urge to buy in excess. We can condition our social media algorithms to show fewer videos about products and more videos about other interesting topics.
Write it down
“Impulsive purchasing involves getting a sudden urge to buy something, without advance intention or plan, and then acting on that impulse without carefully or thoroughly considering whether the purchase is consistent with one's long-range goals, ideals, resolves, and plans,” according to an article from the Journal of Consumer Research.
To combat these impulses, we can make a list of things we want to buy and a list of things we have recently bought.
Categorize each list into wants and needs. Then, for the wants, mark the items that are truly helpful in daily life. Let the list of unmarked wants set for a week or two. If you come back to the items and still really want them, then it's okay to treat yourself.
Thinking about your purchases and seeing if they will last the test of time can keep you from filling your closet or makeup stand with novelty products you don’t need or won’t use for more than a week.
Look for a second (or third) opinion
When you see a product you want to buy, find videos or articles by different creators that give you a different perspective. Similar to the deinfluencing trend, honest reviews can help you decide if the product is as amazing as it is hyped up to be.
To find honest reviews, look for videos or articles that specify that they are not sponsored. The Federal Trade Commission requires creators to disclose whether or not their content is sponsored, so make sure to check captions and subtitles.
Remind yourself why you want to be deinfluenced
Whether you want to be a bit more minimalist, are looking out for your bank account or want to shop more environmentally friendly, reminding yourself of the results of your purchasing habits can help outweigh your desire to buy.
The consumerism promoted by social media can also negatively impact mental and social health.
In a study from the Association for Psychological Science, individuals who experienced consumer cues like advertisements “reported significantly higher levels of depressed affect and anxious affect.”
In addition, people exposed to consumer cues “expressed significantly lower preferences for social activities,” the study said.
By reminding ourselves that giving in to influencing culture can negatively impact our physical and mental states, we can find the bigger picture that gives us motivation to resist the spending urge.
Taking a Step Back
The next time we see a video of a cure-all makeup product or a new trendy water bottle, let's ask ourselves some questions before we buy.
Am I buying this because it’s trendy?
Do I already have something that serves the same purpose as this?
How long will I use this?
What are the positive and negative effects of buying this product?
Once we all take a step back and get into the habit of deinfluencing ourselves, we can help shift society away from a culture of consumerism. We can focus more on experiences, living in the moment and appreciating the life we live instead of pining after the next new trend