Life & Faith

A Year Without Shopping

So I’ve moved about 6 times in the past 2 years.  Each time my clothes are repacked and loaded into the Saturn, I donate the clothes I rarely wear.  This last move (number 6) I donated 1 bag of shoes and 2 bags of clothing. Are you kidding me? That is ridiculous.  How is it possible that I STILL have clothes to give away. Especially after not shopping for a year.

Summer of 2011 I decided that in order to save money and learn to “do without” I was going to not buy any clothing for a year.  The rules were I could buy athletic shoes, boots, and borrow roomates’ clothes like normal. Being a bargain shopper and not a fashionista by any stretch, I thought ignoring TJMaxx would be the hardest part.  Ha-not true.  The experience opened my eyes to insecurities I didn’t even know I had. I valued my appearance a great deal more than originally thought.  Resisting the Loft was the easiest part of the year.  The hard part was going to somewhat professional or straight up professional events or parties like bridal showers when my outfit was sometimes too big or my shoes didn’t really match the outfit (at all).  Having lost weight since my last professional-attire-requiring job didn’t help the clothes situation. Not feeling adequate enough to be in a place or at a function on account of what you look like isn’t fun (not a knock on others who happened to be at these various events but a knock on me for placing my value in outward appearances) & it’s also typically not justified.

There were a few things I loved about not buying clothes. I did like having an excuse to go out in workout clothes.  What’s the point of getting all dressed up if you have nothing cute to wear and would rather  be wearing sandals and not dry your hair anyways?  Not shopping also turned into not buying makeup, which is probably not a good idea and a little overboard on my part.  I also loved the fact that after about a month and a half, shopping never even crossed my mind.

Habits are for real.  Even though it’s been over a year, I don’t think I’d feel the need to go out and shop away even if I had the cash to blow on a new wardrobe right now.  That being said, I think my stepdad would put me on What Not to Wear in a heartbeat if given the chance.

Not buying clothes for a while isn’t for everyone.  Dressing and looking nice shows your respect for others, the messenger matters, first impressions, blah blah blah.  But hey there’s a time and a place for most everything.  Not buying clothes for a year taught me that I often judge people by their appearance and incorrectly put my hope and value in what I look like when I originally thought that I didn’t even struggle with these things.  I’d encourage anyone with a packed closet to fast from clothes for a bit. Making yourself “do without” opens your eyes to material possessions (or other things like jobs or relationships or abilities) that you’ve mistakenly put your hope in and leaves you with more cash for things like paying off debts and/or giving.

PS: These things (fabric pill removers for worn clothing) do not work as well as you’d hope.

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One thought on “A Year Without Shopping

  1. That’s a brilliant idea! I cut back on shopping since I quite Ann Taylor last year and I can sew, but cutting shopping altogether would be a cool challenge for me esp. In nyc! Great post!

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