Today I wanted to talk about my No Shopping for a Year challenge — how it went and some lessons that I learned from it.
In 2018, I committed to not buying clothes. Now I did give myself a few allowances. I allowed myself to buy two pairs of shorts, undergarments and a bathing suit.
I also decided I'm selling a bunch of stuff off Poshmark. I can use those profits to maybe buy some things that I need, but I ended up buying five things the entire year.
I would say it was a success. And I wanted to recap, share with you some lessons I learned, and explain why.
I realized that when I was out buying groceries, going on a Target run, or if I was at Sam's, I would end up stopping and looking at things — just because they were there. It wasn't necessarily things that I needed or even wanted, but it was on sale. Which is such a stupid reason to buy something — because it's on sale and you might need it later.
I never went into debt shopping. We didn't go back into debt. I wasn't swiping a credit card. I was just buying things I didn't need.
So I decided I'm going to do this little experiment: I'm going to shop my closet. I'm going to be really intentional about my purchases. And I'm going to see what happens.
I can't really think of any cons to doing this. There were no situations where I ended up missing out on a great fashion opportunity. If I didn't buy it, it just wasn't what I needed to do.
But I did want to share with you a few pros:
1. I realized what my spending triggers were: boredom and sadness.
I will shop because I'm bored. I will get on Amazon. I will get on the Target website. I will go to Target. Because I'm bored. Which is stupid.
My second spending trigger — sadness — took a little bit more to work through. Over the summer, I had a miscarriage. I talked about it a lot; I'm been very open about it. It has taken me a very long time to work through it, and that's okay; we all move at our own pace. But there are days when something would set me up and I'd be sad. And, then, I would find myself, during my kids' nap time, looking at Amazon on my phone for things I don't need. So I really had to check in with myself and ask myself: Why are you feeling this way? What brought this on? What can you do to make this a more positive outcome?
2. I saw what I actually wore.
I had a lot of stuff in my closet I didn't wear — I didn't like it, it wasn't the right color, I didn't like the way it looked on me, it didn't make me feel good, or the fabric wasn't great. I ended up — even though I was purging, not replenishing, and had fewer things in my closet — I felt like I had more options because I didn't wear things I didn't like.
I rediscovered my love for dresses and really long tops. And I just got creative in how to mix some outfits and make them look a little bit different. In that same vein, I kind of refined my personal style. I like a cute dress. I like a flat to go with it. And that's it. I kind of like more classic looks. I'm not super big into trends. I want things that are easy to wear, but I also want to look nice. I don't wear a dress every single day, but I do most days. And I will tell you that, even though I put zero effort into what I wear, people always say, "You look so nice" — just because you're wearing a dress. (Everyone just wears running shorts and oversized T-shirts now. I don't get it.)
3. I saved time.
Because when you kind of develop a uniform, you realize your sense of style, and you refine what's in your closet, you're not standing there forever saying, "I have nothing to wear." You just pull something out, put it on, and go about your day.
4. I have learned the danger and true cost of fast fashion.
We're obsessed with it, right? We see cute stuff in an online ad, in a magazine or on someone's Instagram feed — and we go out and buy it. We don't realize that, just because we saved a few dollars, there is a bigger cost to that.
There is, obviously, an environmental impact because of how quickly things are made, disposed of, dyed, and shipped. And all the packaging involved.
But there's also an even bigger and more horrifying human cost to that — in the way people are treated and the way that they are not paid a fair and livable wage. That's something that I've really had to think about: who made my clothes?
Now I'm not throwing out everything I ever bought at these fast fashion places because that would be wasteful in and of itself. But I've really had to evaluate where I want to spend my dollars and how I want to vote with my dollars.
5. This bled into other areas of my life.
I ended up not spending in other areas or just waiting to spend in other areas. At one point, I posted a picture on Instagram of the little bit of makeup that I had been using because I just hadn't bought any. (I did buy some after that.)
Not buying clothes definitely bled into other areas of my life. I ended up just not spending as much money this year across the board and, instead, using that money to either go into my savings, go towards goals, or going on really awesome trips with my kids.