Minimalist Target Challenge

I just made up this challenge in my head this weekend (I’m trying to look defiant in the photo above, btw). I was thinking about how I need to save money and buy less, but how I also needed to make a trip to Target to get a lamp for my living room. Even though I love me some Target, I’ve been putting off the trip because I know as soon as I walk into the store, I start realizing all the things I “need” or get distracted by a cute bag or decide I must have the newest NYX lip gloss/stick/liquid goop there is.


I know I’m not alone. It’s scary how easy it is to walk into Target for one or two things and leave with twenty things. So I decided to challenge myself today and only purchase the items that were on my shopping list:

  • Table lamp for living room (must be under $50 including tax)
  • Shampoo
  • Bananas
  • Kind Bars

Yes, it’s a random list, but those are really the items I needed. To some, this challenge might seem easy or silly. I’m sure there are people out there who can resist the siren song of bright, shiny, perfectly-merchandised items, but that’s not me, my friends! Leaving Target with only four items is not something I’ve ever done, but I’m determined to stop buying mindlessly – or at least convincing myself that I need something when I really don’t.

Here’s how today’s trip went down:

Not surprisingly, I was tempted by many things.


See me pouting over not buying the NYX suede lipstick? I swear the beauty aisles are my Achilles heel. Over the past few months I’ve gotten so good at not buying clothes, but I haven’t worked on minimalizing my makeup collection yet and find it too easy to justify purchasing a lipstick when it’s under $10.

Then there were the super cute Bauble Bar phone cases – with faux marble! Luckily their $30 price tag tempered my desire.

I pretty much love everything that Nate Berkus has designed for Target. Gold vase thing with triangular arms? Uh, yes please!

Did you know Design Love Fest designed paper plates and cups for Target?! I started justifying my need for them as soon as I walked by the display: “These would be so cute for a future party I don’t have planned yet!”


Ah, the good ol’ book and magazine aisle. What is it about the printed word that calms me down and then makes me want to spend, spend, spend? Target has the newest Kris Carr book. I have all of her other books and love them, so why don’t I buy this one to add to the collection? Plus, it’s all about juicing, which means it’s healthy, which means it’s promoting self-care, which means I should buy it, right?!

Who doesn’t need another fake succulent in their life? This one was in the dangerous Dollar Spot section of the store, which slaps you in the face as soon as you walk into Target. I’m a sucker for all of it.

The Who What Wear collab is killing it these days. I legitimately need more work-appropriate tops, but this navy one had long sleeves, which is too impractical for Atlanta’s spring and summer weather. Plus, I didn’t have clothing on my list.

I’m a sucker for awesomely-branded, all-natural cleaning products. I’ve never heard of Common Good before, but the packaging is so fresh and minimalist and would look so good on my cleaning supply shelves!

So did I do it? Is the suspense killing you 😉 ? Believe it or not, after all those temptations (and there were more than I mentioned in this post), I succeeded. I only bought the four items on my list:


Bananas, shampoo (all natural and sulfate-free), Kind Bars (dark chocolate sea salt in my favorite), and a French Bulldog table lamp that I already named Frenchie ($34).

It’s amazing how quickly I forgot about all of my non-purchases as soon as I walked out of the Target doors and into the sunlight. NYX lipstick? Didn’t even think about it until I started typing this post. I didn’t think once about the cute Who What Wear blouse while I was planning my outfit for tomorrow. And as much as I love Kris Carr, I don’t regret not buying her book because I still need to get through the recipes in her books that I do own.

I’m fully aware that this is a first world problem and am embarrassed over how much I do fall for great branding and “oh, I should just treat myself” thinking. This challenge is just a baby step towards buying less and living a more minimalist lifestyle. I want to be more disciplined and expand the challenge to other stores I frequent like Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, or heck, even Kroger.

What are your thoughts? Think you’re up for the minimalist Target challenge?

9 thoughts on “Minimalist Target Challenge”

  1. I totally get this! I was talking to my mum about this the other day: how I have gotten good at not needlessly buying the big stuff – but am terrible at the “cheap” items. And whenever I go to a drug store, ikea or a couple of other places, I always end up buying a couple of things I wasn’t looking for and mostly don’t need. I have gotten better, but I still hate that I often have these mindless shopping moments. What I do know is return those items that I truly don’t need – which is such a waste of time!
    I will try your trick, will set myself a challenge in future before going into these shops.

    1. Let me know how it goes if you try it. I too have gotten better at not needlessly buying big ticket items, but it’s the Targets and the Ikeas of the world that still get me. I’ve definitely been returning a lot of things lately because I’m more determined to only keep what I need, but, like you said, it’s such a waste of time! Thank goodness Ikea doesn’t have a beauty aisle 😉

  2. This is better than what I did last night. I won’t even mention how much I spent on online shopping. *Most* will go back, but still. It’s a weird euphoria/guilt thing. A shopping madonna complex, if you will.

    ANYWAY, I did want to mention (which I’m sure you already know about) but there are some great options around Atlanta for shopping for both pre-loved and totally brand new items that aren’t in a big box. For your lamp needs, I’m specifically thinking of Atlanta ReStore. I haven’t made it in, but I follow them on Insta and they have some cool stuff that might be up your ally. Plus all profits go to Habitat for Humanity. Win-Win for shopping for what you really need and doing something good at the same time 🙂

    1. A shopping madonna complex – you’re so right!

      And I wish I had thought about the Atlanta ReStore. I’ve only been there once and it was so long ago that I never think of going there. I definitely have to check them out on IG – I think that’s so cool they have an account!

  3. Way to go! Love the idea for this challenge, especially since it takes an incredible amount of restraint.

    Target and IKEA are both dangerous, dangerous places for buying more than I intended to, especially since we don’t have Target north of the border and any trip there feels “special,” and I rarely make it out to IKEA. Other places of temptation in Canada: drugstores (ours are set up to carry cheapie brands as well as more upscale, department store beauty labels); Winners/HomeSense (like Marshall’s); and Chapters Indigo (formerly a traditional big bookstore, now selling more home decor, stationery, and lifestyle goods). I was in HomeSense yesterday “just to look” and ended up buying these blind-cleaning contraptions (very useful actually as we haven’t cleaned our blinds properly in 3 years) and new pretty storage boxes for beauty samples (oops).

    1. It’s so funny that you and Michelle both mentioned Ikea, because it’s so true! I probably am worst at an Ikea than Target!

      I’ve been to a couple of drugstores in Canada and think they’re so much better than the ones in the ones in the states. I could totally spend way too much money at a British or Canadian drugstore – easily.

      I’m so curious about your blind-cleaning find. I’m sure my blinds desperately need a good clean, but I just pretend they don’t ;P

  4. I’m so glad we don’t have Target in the UK as I would epically fail that challenge! The lamp is so cute, I love how you called him Frenchie 🙂

    1. I’m just so glad we don’t have Boots in the states, because I wouldn’t even think about doing a Boots Challenge – no way I could succeed!

  5. Cath you crack me up!!!
    I think you did really well, because everything at Target is oh so tempting! Can you believe we don’t really have a Target by us? There is one kinda near us…but it is the WORST TARGET I HAVE EVER BEEN IN!!! So I just won’t count it as one.
    P.S. that lamp is soooooooo freakin’ adorable!!!

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