Hot tip for January: the best way to ensure that you follow through on new year’s resolutions is to narrow them down to one area. And the area with the most potential for improvement –which doesn’t require you to break a sweat or give up anything that comes in a glass – is shopping.
Shopping is where we all come undone. The wrong trousers. The itchy top. The eye hydrating mask which you might use if you were Elizabeth Taylor, but as it is, ends up as pointless clutter. Then there are the Yorkie Bars of Triple A batteries, when you needed AA, the screw bulbs when you only want bayonet. If we could reform our shopping habits we would be calmer, better equipped for life, and roughly £10,000 a year better off. Here’s what we have to do.
1) NO MORE PESTLE & MORTARS
Looking at kitchen equipment will make you feel like you could cook something Otto Lengi-ish, tonight. But consider the facts. You last used the pestle and mortar in 2006 to grind down sugar lumps. The mezzaluna is just a sharp health hazard lurking in the drawer (which means everything else must be crammed into the less scary drawer below). That ceramic pan Rick Stein cooks with on TV– we’re all thinking, ‘If I got one of those I’d cook clams most nights’. No you wouldn’t. It’d go in the whirly cupboard with the rest of the rusting haul.
2) NO MORE UNIQLO CASHMERE
Yes the sweaters are the price of half a ham. Yes the fashion editors live in the men’s grey and navy. But: unless you are a size 6 with a racing ponytail you probably don’t look that different to your Dad doing weekend smart casual.
3) NO MORE PRIZE NOMINATED PAPERBACKS
In a teetering tower beside your bed, topped off with Zadie Smith, which are putting you off reading anything at all.
4) NO MORE BUYING FISH TO FREEZE
You’ll never eat those ‘useful’ salmon fillets. And for God’s sake step away from the side of half price smoked salmon. Fish goes in and never comes out. (Mince on the other hand: hoard away).
5) NO MORE BLACK TOPS
No thinking ‘That will come in useful’. It won’t. It’s just another black top. And don’t imagine that if one is worth buying, two is better. You will get bored. People will think you never wash your clothes. You don’t need two potato peelers either.
6) DON’T STOCK UP ON FANCY CLEANING PRODUCTS (UNLESS YOU HAVE A HOUSEKEEPER)
We’re talking the silver polishing cloths, the glass cleaning magic balls, the wine stain remover. In another world you might spend your Saturdays glossing up the crystal, in this world you throw a cushion on the stain and drink out of cloudy glasses.
7) NO MORE BB CREAMS
Never mind the Magic Cream. You already have three BB creams, one primer, two highlighters. They all ooze clear liquid out of the top because the last time you used any of them was July. Until you can concentrate on what the woman at the beauty counter is telling you, say no.
8) NO MORE VITAMINS
Seriously. It was only just before Christmas that you loaded up and now… where are they? It’s not as if you were ever going to take them every day because you’re not sure if it was B you needed, or D; they’re big to swallow, and smelly; and you bought them in a panic when you got stiff hips from decorating the tree and now…onto some other worry.
9) NO MORE ‘STATEMENT’ EARRINGS
Because how many candelabra sparklers does a non royal need? And are there any civilian situations, when 7ozs of Carmen Miranda swag dangling from each lobe, is a really good idea?