In 2017, the reality hit me that not only did I have too much stuff, I had way too many clothes. When I started my simple living journey I knew that clothing would be my first things to declutter. What was interesting was that the more I decluttered, the more there was to declutter. Eventually, I realized that I had so many clothes. It just didn’t make any sense to me to have that many clothes especially since I barely wore them. That was when I started contemplating a one year clothe shopping ban.
Related Post: Things I Got Rid Of To Embrace Simple Living
I donated quite a lot of clothes and put boxes away to give out, still, there were too many clothes. Then I know it was time to reevaluate my need for clothes and question why I had so many clothes. Obviously, one of the many reasons why we accumulate so many clothing is because they’re cheap. I’ll go into detail about this as I do monthly updates on this.
Though this post is coming in a little late; I’m currently in my third month of the one year clothe shopping ban which I also mentioned in my Simple living goals for 2018. Many people have assumed this to be quite intimidating so I thought I’d share how I plan to go about this without feeling deprived.
1. Work on my Fashion Style
One of the main reason why I shopped so much and owned many clothes was simply that I had no style. I couldn’t tell you if my style is boho chic, or classic, or modern. When you don’t have a clear sense of style, you end up buying just about anything you come across while you are at the store. I was buying clothes simply because they looked good on a mannequin. Finding my own fashion style means that I only buy clothing items that fit that style. So my challenge in 2018 is to identify my own personal style.
2. If it was $1000 or 4x the price, would I still buy it
When you walk into a store and clothes cost around $10-$20 bucks, it’s so easy to go ham on them. I remember how obsessed I used to be about those under $10 clothing items. The problem tho is that those clothes often are not the best quality clothing pieces and only last for a few wears and washes.
My biggest issue with cheap clothing isn’t just about the fact that its low quality but the fact that they’re often made in sweatshops. Learning about sweatshops and fast fashion which is a major disaster for clothing factory workers and the environment has been the major deterrent to my need to shop. So now, I ask myself this question: If that piece of clothing was worth $1000 or 4x the price would I still buy it? This question can be applied in other areas of your life as well. It really helps you reconsider what you buy and only buy what you need.
This question really also comes in handy for me as I am falling in love with second-hand shopping as my primary way of acquiring new clothes. It’s easy to binge buy when most of the clothes are $5 so this is my buying principle.
3. Wear every single piece of item I own at least once.
This was an important step for me while I was decluttering. Even though I have decluttered more than 70% of what I own, I still have ways to go. To declutter, I make sure I wear everything and look in the mirror to ensure it’s something I truly love and want to keep. It’s one thing to look at the items you own and assume you will wear them, it’s another to actually wear them and assess the emotions and feelings you get from them. So every single item in my closet must be worn before a new clothing item is brought in. If I wear it and don’t love it, It goes away. (If you need tips on dealing with the sentimental aspects of owning and letting go of things, let me know and I’ll do a post on that :))
4. Put things away and shop from the “away” pile
This is a great tactic that I found to work well in helping satisfy my need for new clothes. I currently have two large boxes of potential clothes that I will wear. When I get the urge for a new clothes, I “shop” from that pile and reinvent by already purchased clothes. I found this to be very helpful for me because I just enjoy the feeling of having new clothing. I actually forget I have some of the clothes in those boxes until I open them up.
5. Look at everything you gave away/donated and realize the true cost
I watched The True Cost documentary again as I was decluttering. Seeing everything I was giving away made me realize just how much money I had wasted, how my actions affected clothing factory workers and the effect of my waste on the environment. Over 1,000 People died in a clothing factory collapse yet the fashion world doesn’t even care. These were people’s daughters, sons, parents & friends whose only offense was working in an unsafe working environment to create millions of pieces to satisfied global clothing demands.
Did you know that only about 20% of donated clothes actually get sold in thrift stores? So even when you think you’re making a difference with donated clothes, that difference is minute compared to the impact of acquiring them in the first place. There are so many articles to read and see exactly what is going on in the textile industry. I share as many as I can on Instagram. You can read more about the environmental crisis industry is causing.
6. Do you really need more clothes? Check the emotions- are you using clothes to fill a void?
One key question I have been asking myself is whether I truly need more clothes. I am learning to remind myself that there is truly nothing therapeutic about clothing shopping. You don’t go on a shopping spree because you’re sad and upset or bored. I had to check these habits and find better ways to deal with my emotions rather than resolving shopping.
Moreso, You don’t shop simply because you don’t want to be caught repeating clothes. Whoever instituted that policy that we should only wear outfits once needs to be canceled *side eye my Nigerians and the asoebi mentality*. Who cares if I repeat my clothes multiple times in a year? What’s the problem with that?
7. Capsule wardrobe- 3 Types = 4 months- that’s enough clothes for a year.
In order for me to find my personal style and do so minimally, I have decided to do a capsule wardrobe. The capsule wardrobe is something I have been very interested in and this is the perfect opportunity for me to give it a try. If it works for me, then I will totally consider doing it for the rest of my life. It really saves you a whole lot of time. Since we have 4 seasons here, I’ll have one capsule for Summer/Spring and another for Fall/Winter. Whatever I don’t use in these months will be donated.
The whole idea here isn’t just to stop shopping but to figure out my style and reduce how much clothes I accumulate over time. I’m not saying this will be easy, I already have some struggles with minimalism but it’s something that can be done and I am dedicated to it.
Let me know what your thoughts are! Are you due for a shopping ban? would you consider one even for a short period?