I’ve been considering doing an all-out shopping ban off and on for some time. It seems that I come across people’s stories again and again lately where it was enormously beneficial to the person that made it (we’re talking a year or longer here). My wardrobe is larger than it was last year at the moment, but certainly not extremely large either like most of the women’s stories about not shopping for a year- women who often could purge the amount of items I own and still have too much. It also seems that the most impactful bans have been where nothing but real necessities for the year were allowed- such as replacing an empty bottle of shampoo. But when I think about not purchasing any clothing/shoes/etc, and moreso when I think about not buying ANYTHING for a year but necessary toiletries, I shudder.
Changing My Focus
I’ve been up and down with shopping. I’ll not buy anything for a long while, then suddenly binge and buy a lot at once. When I think about what I’d ideally want- I’d ideally like to purchase high-quality items slowly, perhaps one or two a month. 24 items in a year for my wardrobe seems reasonable. Enough leeway to upgrade items that I don’t really love and get some items I’d enjoy, and conservative enough to make me feel good. I’d really like to lessen the turnover I’ve experienced due to bad purchases. For example, prior to spring I bought several tops that I thought would be perfect. All of them have since been given away or donated- they didn’t suit me at all. I bought several pairs of pants in winter that ended up duds. I’d also like to divert the funds I currently (or at least have in the past) waste on bad purchases and instead upgrade my home-- for example, a new couch and proper curtains.
A Shopping Ban
So where does what I want fall into my reoccurring idea of a shopping ban? Well, I do want to severely reduce and restrict my purchasing, and most of it does not align with my core principals. I’d been working so hard towards minimalism, being more green, and living a konmari-ed life and I fell right off the tracks. I know that I have not been true to myself and my values, and it doesn’t feel good. I want to return to those values and being more honest with myself. I was using shopping as a crutch to deal with stress and emotions, and it is not healthy.
Does this mean that I’m starting a shopping ban where I won’t buy anything but true necessities for a year? Well, no. That doesn’t feel right either. My gut says reduce and limit, not completely stop. I want, crave more balance. The opposite end of the spectrum isn’t balance for me either. I want a step-progression towards reducing; I want intentionality in all my purchases. I don’t want to just redirect my impulses and start overbuying in another category. I’m not opposed to a big step either- I don’t need baby steps necessarily.
I’m starting an ‘Intentional Year of Purchasing’. It’ll run August 10th-August 10th. This means ALL purchases. Not just wardrobe additions, but everything. I’m tired of waste. No more wasting food (moldy strawberries in the fridge, I’m looking at you). No more buying things I don’t need, no more using shopping as an outlet for emotions. No more overbuying Christmas presents (shudder, you don’t want to know how last year went). No more adding bunches of sales items to my closet without due reason. And no more picking up cute clothes for my daughter just because they’re cute! I’ll reveal a more detailed plan soon, but it includes posting regularly about my progress and the limitations and restrictions (as well as loop-holes) I’ll allow myself.
My goal in this experiment is to hopefully dig deeper into why I use shopping is an outlet and hopefully redirect my energy elsewhere, save money, and dig deeper into minimalism and hopefully finish konmari-ing! I'd also like to see what I do buy become better purchases overall, and direct some of those funds towards things that would really improve my home.
I'm excited and anxious about this experiment. I hope I will look back a year from now and say that I achieved what I want to achieve!