I’ve tried this experiment before. The “Can I go a whole year without buying any clothes” experiment. Could I abstain? I lasted about a month the first time round. This year, I am trying again; with a little more determination. It’s been three months, and because I found those three months so easy; I got a little over confident and said why not make it the whole of 2016, meaning SEVENTEEN months in total?! Well now I’ve told people. Family, friends, my mother in particular all think I’m a little strange, some say it’s unrealistic; well now I HAVE to stick to it; if anything to prove them wrong.
Why, you may wonder, am I doing this? Buying new clothes is fun, it’s a treat, it’s nice to freshen up your wardrobe…
Well firstly: I HAVE FAR TOO MANY CLOTHES. (*All bought on sale may I add, or given to me). How many is too many? (When you have to JAM in all your tops into your overspilling set of drawers and there are piles of clothes dotted around your room where carpet or table space should be; you have too many, or y’know you can build yourself a new closet for all these magical clothes...) And sure they’re all organised, Summer/Winter wardrobes, neat piles or some hanging in a tidy wardrobe arranged into shirts/dresses/jackets/cardigans etc. But the minute MORE come out of the laundry I remember I don’t have the space. It’s getting laborious keeping all the piles tidy. (I’ve already given PLENTY away, and already feel like I have more to wear, this is also something I am working on, continuously clearing out my wardrobe).
Secondly when Zara or Topshop has a sale; my finances suffer; and that’s just basic stupidity really. I needed to save.
Thirdly I fail to appreciate the clothes I already have when I’m constantly looking for the NEXT thing to buy; it’s as if I’m NEVER satisfied, and this feeling is tiresome. According to Gretchin Rubin, author of The Happiness Project: “Happiness theory suggests that if I move to a new apartment or buy a new pair of boots, I’ll soon become accustomed to my new possessions and be no happier than I was before”. ( p173 The Happiness Project).
Lastly I’m beginning to feel as if clothes shopping is a complete waste of time. It IS a COMPLETE waste of time. (Unless of course you actually need something). It’s not productive. Nor does it make me happy. Yes an atmosphere of growth is necessary to be happy, but material growth was not what I needed, I look now for spiritual growth. (Am I glad I came to this realisation now and not in twenty years when I’d have bought shares in Zara and its sister companies…)
I now find I enjoy shopping only when I go with a purpose, something specific I need. The “GET IN GET OUT” approach. Less tiring, and you still have time to do OTHER THINGS when you get home because you haven’t wasted the energy queuing in H&M for a jumper you don’t need and will soon get bored of after a month. (*Cue yearnings for next seasons “must-have” bright sparkling furry jumper.) However there are other things I’d rather be doing than trying on shoes I can’t afford (then leaving the store partly relieved I couldn’t afford anything but also frustrated), queuing for a teeny weeny changing room or losing my mother in House of Fraser. These things include: various Gardens/Lakes/Woodlands/Riversides we love taking Maia too, seeing friends and family, Kareoke parties/eating out/going swimming/museums/shows/exhibitions etc… Basically there’s joy to be had elsewhere.
So what are the rules of this somewhat unrealistic but still do-able experiment?
1.) NO BUYING CLOTHES (including second hand). (Underwear is allowed)
2.) Scarves count as clothing
3.) For Christmas I allow myself some new boots. THAT IS ALL. (All in the wardrobe department…)
4.) Hinting for certain things for my birthday is allowed but frowned upon.
There is no big life changing goal here other than to appreciate what I have in my wardrobe already and to save some pennies. Yes it sounds a little naff but I’m fed up of constantly buying new clothes, they pile up and stress me out more than bring me joy; how pathetic is that? Clothes should be enjoyed. So it’s all about Deprivation for Appreciation.
I would also like to point out I know how ridiculous this all sounds in the grand scheme of things. How superficial. I suppose it just shows how lucky I am that an overspilling wardrobe is a concern. There is so much wrong with this world and I’m setting a silly clothing challenge? Well that is all this is, a bit of fun, an experiment and a lesson in appreciation. You have to appreciate all that you have before you can be truly happy. (Family, friends, careers, circumstances and wardrobes too.) Re-arranging my closet is not my biggest priority in life, but, like Gretchin; “I craved an existence of order and serenity” which meant a minimalist wardrobe.