Saturday, February 22, 2014

Internal Confusion

I wrote a little about this in response to Debbie's blog post, but I thought I'd address this in more detail. Debbie wrote about how she's been struggling with breaking her shopping habit. I also have been having a lot of ups and downs.

I'm on a 30 day challenge to not shop, which is up on March 2nd. I feel like I've made a lot of progress over the last several months, and even in the last few weeks, but not enough. I'm still struggling immensely with the compulsion to buy versus what I want for myself for the long run.

I purged almost all the items I wasn't wearing and didn't fit well. I reduced my numbers to an impressively (in my eyes) small amount (now even smaller), and have not missed a single item (excepting things I loved but outgrew). I've been keeping track of what I wear and am ever-increasingly aware that my needs are much smaller than anything I previously imagined. I've only purchased 2 items (was given a third) so far this year and I don't regret them in the least. I have stuck to my no shopping challenge so far (and only have a week left!). I've worked to identify what I should buy (if anything) so that what I buy is utilized well and fills 'holes' in my closet to bring variety and not split wears from other similar items. I've learned that I shop (online) when bored or stressed and that I browse constantly without meaning to.

I keep trying to remind myself of my goals:

The only big problem? I feel like there is a piece of me warring against myself. I WANT to achieve my goals. I WANT to minimize. But then, I WANT that pretty skirt and top and that leather jacket, and 10 other things too. They fit my criteria in all the ways and would be great to have and would be well used (in my head at least). Not being able to buy anything until next Sunday seems so arbitrary, and I'm losing sight of the reason I did a 30-day shopping ban.

Seeing how little I have compared to all the unused excess has had a lot of positives. I know what I have, what to target buying, I can see my items easier, and have an easier time getting dressed in the morning. I don't feel guilty looking at what I have anymore. But it has had a dark side- I feel the need for more options, even though I have just as few or even more than before. Having only 11 work appropriate tops and 3 skirts is scary for me. The funny thing- I have still not worn one of the skirts yet this year and another only once so far.

Why do I feel the need to buy anything? Why do I want to disregard my budget and the shopping ban, why do I want to fill this 'need' right this minute and not wait? I've been barely holding on at times. Why do I need new items all the time when I have things still not fully utilized? I keep trying to figure out ways to circumvent my rules, how to get what I want and all at once. I have March 2nd's purchases already planned (coupons and rewards I have happen to expire). But I want everything on my wish list RIGHT NOW and it would take several month's budget to do it. And to top it off, every new thing I bring in will reduce the wears of some of the things I have currently, which seems counter-intuitive.

Having permission to buy things makes it harder, sometimes I wonder if it would be easier just swearing off shopping completely. Like an alcoholic stopping drinking completely rather than still drinking socially once a month. But again, I do have areas of my closet I want to work on and I don't have a closet as workable as I want it to be. There are a few things I really want to upgrade. 

The thought of not shopping at all hurts to think about. I think that means I have a problem, an imbalance of some kind. And I don't know how to stop wanting more. The only thing I can do is take one step at a time. Maybe one day, I'll have this beat.


  1. It sounds like you are doing really well so far. I too have the exact same problems- this compulsion to buy more, thinking that ONE MORE ITEM will be so perfect and you won't want to shop more after that... but it never ends! I also want to figure out how to work around these feelings and become completely happy with what I have and not compelled to always buy more. Keep going, I know you can do it!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, it's really helpful. I go this alone because my husband doesn't get it lol. I too wish there was a magic button to shut off the compulsion or a magic purchase that would complete my wardrobe! I wish you luck on your journey as well :)

  2. Hi, I found you through Debbie's blog. Have you ever heard of Dr. April Benson's book To Buy or Not To Buy? After I read it and did all of the exercises in it I really had a better idea of why I was shopping so much and what I could replace it with that would give me what I needed. Good luck! I know this isn't easy.

    1. Hello Tonya, thanks for stopping by! I love Debbie's blog, it has made such an impact on me. Thank you for the book suggestion, I looked it up and am contemplating buying the ebook. I know it's not easy but inside I feel like the pain and trouble is so ridiculous- I feel like I shouldn't be struggling so hard, I should be better and I still don't classify myself as an addict in that respect though I fully recognize I have a problem...