I’m currently 10 months in on not buying any clothes. At the beginning of the year, I casually decided to see how long I could go and had no idea that it would last this long.
I hate shopping, why am I spending so much time doing it?
A few years ago I didn’t buy clothes for 3 months. What I learned then and now, is how much time I spent shopping for clothes. I don’t enjoy shopping, but was spending too much time doing it. I could never find the right clothes. The ones that functioned the way I wanted them to and fit my body in a flattering way. My solution was to continually keep trying to find them.
This led to a lot of time shopping for perfect clothing. I would look online for the best deals, read all the reviews, try to figure out my size, etc. I became frustrated and would try shopping in stores. This was worse, I became overwhelmed with all the options, unable to narrow in on what I was looking for as I was distracted by all the other items. When I made it to the dressing room I found it hard to decide in the moment if the item was worth the cost and if I liked the fit.
I decide to not buy any clothes
In December 2017 I bought a few pieces of clothing and made the determination that I could get by on what I already owned for a while. I decided to see how long I could go without buying new clothes.
I have a few items I can technically still get use from but are worn out and ready to be replaced. I included these on a short list of items that were ok to buy if needed. But as the months have slipped by and I haven’t bought anything I wonder just how long I can go without replacing them? How long can I go with no new clothes? Can I make it a whole year?
I love not having the stress of shopping. Anytime I considered shopping for clothing I thought about the stress, and consumption of time and energy and decided against it. I did try to find new winter boots on sale this spring. I kept my search narrow to avoid overwhelm and decision fatigue. Unfortunately, I started my search too late and what I wanted was sold out. I will most likely try to pick up boots at the beginning of this winter.
10 months later and I’m still not buying clothes!
So I keep going, and it feels good to not spend my time shopping, stressing, and worrying about making the best purchase. Its become easier to not do it at all. My competitive goal-oriented side wants to achieve the challenge of not buying clothes for an entire year, and if I don’t truly need anything – why buy it?
The exception will be footwear. I need new winter boots as mentioned above, and new running and hiking shoes that I will be picking up on sale soon.
This won’t last indefinitely as I didn’t start with a particularly large wardrobe. If I make it to the end of the year, I don’t plan on going crazy with the opportunity to buy new things, but it will be time to replace a few items.
What will happen next?
Taking up this challenge has allowed me to discover how little I truly need. Prior to this I always felt my wardrobe was deficient which resulted in my continually looking. The biggest takeaway may be that by simply stopping, I could see that I had all I truly needed.
I’ve been thinking ahead to what my clothes shopping strategy will be going forward. Instead of shopping all the time, I can just replace what I have when it wears out, or plan on shopping a couple times a year at strategic times (end of season sales). I might not always find what I need on sale or miss the perfect item by not looking constantly, but since shopping causes me stress and anxiety – it makes sense to limit my shopping experience. Even paying full price for some items, could be cost-effective by only buying what I need when I need it. Not to mention saving me time and energy.
With the exception of needed footwear, my plan is to carry this through to the end of the year ~ just 2 1/2 months to go!
Have you ever done a shopping ban? Clothes or otherwise? What did you learn and did it change your shopping habits?
*my original 3-month shopping ban was inspired by Cait Flanders who did a full shopping ban for two years – and wrote a book about it!