I Haven’t Shopped in 9 Months: How Being Organized Has Helped Me Break My Shopping Habits

I Haven’t Shopped in 9 Months: How Being Organized Has Helped Me Break My Shopping Habits

I Haven’t Shopped in 9 Months: How Being Organized Has Helped Me Break My Shopping Habits

On January 1, 2016, I decided to go on a six month shopping ban. My goal was to not buy any clothes, shoes, jewelry, makeup, or accessories for six months, which I successfully completed. A month and a half later, I still haven’t bought any clothes, shoes, jewelry, makeup, or accessories. And when I took a look at my credit card statements, the last time I bought said items was November 15, 2015, which means I haven’t shopped in nine months!

 

It Feels Freeing to Break a Habit

Breaking a habit like impulsive shopping feels freeing.

 

To be clear, I never was a shopping addict, but I did spent $50-$100 every month on new shoes or outfits from inexpensive stores like Forever21, H&M, and Target. It never seemed like a big deal to spend $100, especially when I received so much bang for my buck: three skirts and two tops, or three pairs of shoes, or seven dresses and a pair of earrings. That’s the thing about fast fashion—it’s cheap, fast, and disposable. You get a lot for little. However, it all adds up: without realizing it, your bank account slowly depletes, your closet quickly expands, and the environment is rapidly destroyed. Fast Fashion is bad for your bank account, the earth, and economies around the world.

 

After watching The True Cost, a documentary detailing the negative consequences of fast fashion, I immediately learned and repeated the narrative that buying clothes and shoes doesn’t make me any happier, any more successful or fulfilled, but it does harm the environment and societies around the world. Knowing this allowed me to think very carefully about making any purchases.

 

Before I go shopping, I take inventory of my closet. Looking at my closet, I see that I have plenty of clothing and shoes to choose from. I don’t need to wear a new outfit every weekend; when I do want to wear a different outfit, I have to exercise my creativity to pair old items together to look fresh.

 

Completing this ban also allowed me to get into the habit of thinking before I buy. We’re so used to buying impulsively, especially when it’s so easy to shop online and we never see a physical transaction. After my six-month ban was up, I thought about buying some new summer dresses. Yet, when I held an article of clothing in my hands at a shop, I thought about how I really didn’t need it, and I also didn’t want it. The ban allowed me to differentiate between what I need and what I want. Having fewer articles of clothing to choose from is freeing, and I realized that’s actually what I want: freedom and simplicity.

 

Being Organized Helps You Create and Destroy Habits

Because I am so organized, I know exactly what I’m spending, where, when, and why. I keep track of my budget and spending. I can remember every single purchase, and I can also see my purchases.

 

My closet is uncluttered and organized by season and style. Because all of my clothing is visible, it’s accessible. I can see what I have, which makes it easier to choose and create outfits. That stops me from droning, “I have nothing to wear,” which usually leads to shopping.

 

Being organized allows you to you can see what you own, so you won’t make the mistake of purchasing the same exact thing. When you organize what you have, you will realize just how much you own, and how much you don’t need. When you have everything you need in view, easily accessible, why would you need to shop for more?

 

Will I Shop Again?

Yes, I will shop again. But I will make sure to really think about what I want to purchase and why. If I need a new pair of black pants, then I should buy a pair of black pants. But do I need three pairs of black pants? No. Do I need more than one or two purses? No. Am I happier when I have more than two purses or seven different gold hoop earrings to choose from? No. Really, really no.

 

Creating a Good Habit

Thinking before I purchase extends beyond clothing, shoes, jewelry, makeup, and accessories. Even grocery shopping, which is a necessary shopping trip, can be done thoughtfully. Often, when I am entertaining friends, I go overboard: I buy three different types of meat to grill, seven different snacks, abundant desserts, too much beer. Some would say a good hostess has plenty to offer, but there is such thing as gluttony. When visiting friends and family in Ireland, I noticed that often a host or hostess only offers a few things: a pot of tea, some biscuits (cookies), and little sandwiches. That’s all you need to sit around and chat; your guests won’t overeat and you won’t overspend. And you simply do not need any more than that. I think of those hosting moments when I host: have something to drink and something to nibble on. We don’t need to overspend, overeat, or develop over consumption habits.

 

Breaking impulsive shopping habits leads to developing a thoughtful shopping habit. You don’t have to stop shopping all together, not contribute to our economy, and become a rag-wearing hermit, but you could start to think before you buy. Developing the habit of thinking long and hard about something before I purchase it has positively affected me, and maybe it can positively affect you, too.

 


 

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Brigit

My goal is to help you become more organized so that you can spend your time in meaningful ways.
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