At the end of December, I told myself that I would make a conscious effort to not spend so much money in January after watching Minimalism:a documentary about the important things which helped me realize that I have a lot of stuff and a borderline unhealthy relationship with all of it. N has pressed me a few times to purge my closet and only keep the essentials — the things I need. Uh, what does that even mean? OK, he has a point, he always knows what to wear whenever we have somewhere to go and always looks SO good, and then there is me, I have an entire walk-in FILLED — yet NEVER know what to wear! In an effort to have an outfit together and be ready go on time, I go out and buy something new to wear….every time.
So, let me brief you on my last month as I tried hard to stick with my goal of not buying anything new. I couldn’t just avoid going to stores, as that would not help me face this “challenge”. Walking into a store (especially in January — a time when sales rev up & heavily discounted stuff becomes even cheaper as a last effort to invite purchase before the new seasons merchandise arrives) to make a size exchange from a Christmas gift was fine until I ditched the register and decided to walk the store. Why is everything so appealing — the bright lights, the new displays, the SALES, the employees smiling at me — suddenly endorphins are releasing and I feel like I’m in the movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic. I begin to fill up my shopping cart with stuff I probably (definitely) don’t need, but I am so sure I’ll use and that it falls in the category of “essentials”, plus most of the stuff is on sale!
Powder blue mules with a heel short enough to walk in, flat slides for when that heel gives out, a ruffle halter- top that would absolutely look amazing dressed down with jeans or dressed up with black trousers, ankle hugging pumas for the gym …floral shoes!
But again, I don’t need any of it, so I put it in my cart as if to declare admiration, and then move on to the big leagues that I for sure cannot afford right now, but I just want to take a little looookkk.
I rack up hundreds of would-be spent dollars and then the feeling comes….. the practical one that makes me realize that these hard-earned dollars are needed for more important things in life — like paying for a wedding in just 6 months…and making sure the most important people are coming to it no matter what the cost.
Sure, I can’t afford all of this stuff, but I can afford some of it — enough to make me comfortable with the possibility of purchasing it, but also overwhelmed, because, well if I were to get the floral shoes wouldn’t I then also need the ruffle-blouse to go with them? And that’s a particular kind of shirt. One that very much needs it’s own pair of pants. A pair that I don’t already have, perfect for these booties and I would totally wear that choker and THESE EARRINGS, and thus another search ensues.
So I slowly start to remove the things I put into my cart and force myself to make the size exchange I came there for. I have not bought anything new in January and although I don’t applaud myself or think I’m doing important work for the world, I do feel more grounded, more connected. With the likelihood of getting new stuff at bay, the clothes I already have are all I’ve got. So I appreciate them more, I’m not wasting mental time adding to my closet and pursuing new options. I am making outfits out of the clothes I already have – doesn’t that sound like the normal thing to do anyways?? When you stop focusing on your lack and give gratitude to your gains, you become a happier person.
Not getting more stuff also means not getting rid of more stuff and thus less guilt about waste and lack of sustainability involvement. Wearing and re-wearing the same black jeans 64246 different ways is satisfying in the same way that it has been to abandon buying plastic water bottles for a single glass one. So, if you have less stuff, you get rid of less stuff, and inadvertently you contribute to eliminating the amount of waste we all produce.
I wore a uniform 5 days a week for 10 months out of the year for 13 years throughout school growing up. Although, I would rebel sometimes and try to make my uniform look somewhat different from the girl next to me, I now totally understand the allure of a uniform. The only choice came in high-school — when 7 colors of polo-shirts were offered and that was a struggle because I can’t possibly wear the same color 2 times in a week?? When we earned a “no uniform” today, it was chaos because what will I wear!? To be free from making a choice, it would be nice to have that again sometimes.
One last thing I want to say is that patience is an important part of this too. Just because you can afford something (whether a $10 pair of sunglasses or $250 pair of shoes), does not mean you must have it. On the other hand, when we can’t afford things, we tend to instill a sort of greatness in them. Or at least I do, and wanting what you can’t have is a shitty deal. If not shopping for a month is teaching me anything, it’s something so simple, something that we all know but might have trouble genuinely believing — no single tangible thing will transform any of us.
….except maybe those floral shoes! 😉
Try to really live with the mentality to do everything in moderation — whether it is with eating, indulging (shopping, drinking, smoking, working out, tanning, etc). Don’t get me wrong, I love to shop and I still love new things. But there is no need for me to go shopping 3-4 times every week. Moderate what you do and you will live a happier and healthier life!
On that note, I will be posting outfits this month with clothes I already own, as to show you (& myself) that I can make great outfits out of what I already have, until the next closet purge and I need to restock on essentials 🙂