I stopped shopping for a month and here is what I learned

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! 😉

wrap dress (only plus-sizes available| similar one herehere

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 🙂

xo,

K

2 Comments on “I stopped shopping for a month and here is what I learned”

  1. I can so relate! Though my problem has become a little different. Now that I have 3 kids my shopping addiction has switched from me to them! It’s so easy to spend a ton on your own children, especially since they need a new size of everything every a year and sometimes even more often! I have one TINY closet for all three kids and need to purge it big time before spring. The other problem is that it’s so easy to buy things for them online, too easy, so much so that it seems I’m not really spending money when in reality I am! It’s a great idea to minimize as much as possible before kids are in the picture, it only gets harder to get rid of stuff once you have a ton of baby and kid things overtake the house. 🙂

  2. Hi Anastasia! You are SO right. I already find myself buying a lot of things for Freddy and he’s my dog!! I’m screwed when I have kids LOL, but I am hoping realizing this now and trying to discipline myself about it will help in the long run 🙂 Kid stuff is so cute though!

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