Why I went from over-spender to not buying new clothes for a whole year.
Can you imagine not buying new clothes for a whole year?
It’s not something that I would have considered a few years ago. In fact, it would NEVER have crossed my mind. I was an over-spender who shopped every week, living paycheck to paycheck with a wardrobe of shoes, handbags and clothes to show for it.
Fast forward to today and I have just spent one whole year not buying any brand new clothes.
I know what you’re thinking…”why the hell would you do that?”
Something inside me had been gnawing away at me, a voice inside my head saying… “You don’t need this stuff, having more stuff is not going to make you happy. You need to find happiness within yourself.”
It sounds a bit woo woo, I know. But this is the dialogue that was going on inside my head. Straight up telling me I need to start cutting the crap.
I listened. It was time I evolved. I wanted to find happiness and I knew that having more and more material possessions wasn’t the answer – in fact I was starting to feel choked, suffocated, cluttered. My drawers were overflowing and I couldn’t breathe.
After reading about fast fashion and how wasteful the industry was I decided I didn’t want to support that. I kept learning and halfway through the challenge I watched “A True Cost”, a documentary about the fashion industry. That was another sign that I was on the right path. In trying to live as light as I can on the planet, I realised supporting a wasteful industry went against my beliefs and what I’m trying to create.
Another reason I decided to not buy new clothes for a year was because I wanted to question myself as a consumer. Why did I buy so much stuff? Was it to keep up with the latest trends? Was it so I felt good about how I looked? Was I trying to impress my partner or family and friends? Did I feel like I wasn’t good enough without that new dress?
Or maybe that new dress would make me feel good enough..
I had done a lot of ‘inner work’ before January 2015 when I decided to start the challenge. By inner work I mean, learning about myself, learning to love and accept myself flaws and all, listening to and trusting my intuition, understanding my true beliefs and values and peeling back my insecurities one by one. By delving into these parts of myself I slowly started to realise that I didn’t need ‘things’ to be happy – I needed connection, adventure and purpose. Those things I don’t get from the latest MIMCO handbag or Country Road dress and an empty bank account.
I had been thinking about not buying new clothes for a while, and by the time I set the date I was feeling more than ready, it felt right and it felt really really good. I was excited.
That’s how I knew I needed to do it, it felt damn good.
Yes I definitely found it challenging, and there were moments I wished I could just go out and buy exactly what I wanted. There were certain things I couldn’t find in my local op shops like exercise gear, undies, socks and bikinis.
So I had to get creative..
For exercise gear I shopped in the Facebook group “Lorna Jane Buy Swap and Sell”.
For undies, socks and bikinis I just didn’t buy any for 12 months. Though at the start of the challenge I did set the rule that undies and socks weren’t counted. I still feel a bit weird about buying second hand underwear!
I also got given hand me downs and borrowed clothes from friends when I needed to.
I am definitely going to keep buying the majority of my clothes second hand and pre-loved. But I’m not going to limit myself to this. I love supporting local business or businesses that make and sell awesome eco-friendly products, care about the environment and use sustainable practices. If I find a piece of brand new clothing that I like and the brand has the same values as I do then I will be happy to support them. It’s all about conscious choices.
The last 12 months not buying brand new clothes has been an awesome challenge, I’ve learnt a lot about myself as a consumer.
Most importantly my relationship with myself has changed for the better – I’m not so critical and judgemental of myself.
I have a greater acceptance of where I am, how I look and what I own. My values have shifted, it’s less about me and more about Mother Earth and the future I can create with my choices now.
I’m not sure what my next challenge will be but when it comes to mind I know I’ll be that much more ready having gone through this challenge.
Let me know in the comments below whether my journey resonates with you and if you are considering going a whole year not buying any new clothes?
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