In March 2019, I decided to stop shopping for six months. This is the story of why I did it and the effect it has had on my life. Spoiler – it’s all positive!
Why I stopped shopping
I decided to stop shopping after I attended a conference by campaign group Population Matters Not only did they talk about the planetary threat of human population growth, they talked about the eye-watering rates of consumption in the West and the rise of consumption of the middle class in China and Africa. I was so shocked and saddened by the numbers, that I did the only thing I felt was in my power to do, I stopped shopping.
I had waaaay too much of everything
My consumption of clothes and shoes had been on a downward trajectory for years, borne out of both financial and actual necessity – since I now work from home. Also, as I’ve grown older and happier in life, my interest in shopping as a pastime has dwindled. That said, I still had way too many items of clothing that either 1. I didn’t wear 2. I didn’t like. So, after the conference I decided to do a ‘Wardrobe Audit’ and keep only the things that I wore on a regular basis and more importantly those I enjoyed wearing.
Soft Fabrics and comfort turned out to be the deciding factor
When I started looking (and touching) everything I owned, I realised that the clothes I liked and wore the most were made of soft, natural fabrics such as cotton or silk* which felt nice next to my skin. Similarly, the shoes I wore were the ones that were the most comfortable rather than the most fashionable. As humans we are instinctively drawn to natural fibres and it’s deeply rooted in our DNA. Everything that wasn’t soft, was made of man-made fibres or wasn’t comfortable, did not make the cut.
*my wardrobe is not yet vegan folks.
I don’t need ten navy tops
This is what I learnt. I realised that every time I went out shopping or bought something online, I kept returning to my comfort zone of navy tops. The reason I bought so many is because they weren’t that expensive and I enjoy wearing navy. It wasn’t until I sorted out my wardrobe strictly into colours and hung all my t-shirts up on hangers, that I realised how many unnecessary repeat items of clothing I had (navy tops). This is actually a very common buying habit as we tend to play safe and repeat-buy something similar to what we already have. This kind of shopping is insidious, because one top here and one top there doesn’t seem like much, but the environmental impact, not to mention the financial one creeps up. So, I’ve vowed to myself – no more navy tops and no more repeat buys of something I already own.
Selling Stuff online gives you a real life High
In order to cull my over-full wardrobe, I started selling my more upmarket items on Ebay, which I got a real thrill out of. Now, I’m addicted to selling (the E-bay sellers amongst you will know what I’m talking about!). Selling online has also had the massive upside of replenishing my coffers to fund the launch of my Wellness business and this website is testament to that.
Minimalism is a mentally healthy lifestyle
When I look in my wardrobe now, yes I have less choice but I’ve found that to be a very positive thing and there’s research to back this up – it turns out that our brains don’t function well when we give them too much choice. I also feel more relaxed now I’ve jumped off the consumer hamster wheel as I don’t feel obliged to see ‘What’s New In‘ and I know exactly what I need. It’s been hugely mentally uplifting to ignore online or T.V adverts and reduce the low level background visual clutter in my life. I feel more clear headed and less distracted.
Our Earth cannot sustain our consumer habits-we all need to change
My six month challenge of stopping shopping is now over, but I won’t return to my old ‘browsing’ habits. I won’t say I will never buy an item of clothing again but I have undergone a fundamental mindset shift. Even if you are someone who enjoys shopping, the fact is that most of us have too much of everything and our consumption levels are not sustainable. The carbon footprint of the current fashion industry is hugely environmentally destructive, and keeps us in a constant and stressful consumption loop which ia bad for our mental health.
How we consume the Earth’s resources 👇🏼
What can you do today to stop shopping?
If you want to reduce your shopping, start a self-imposed buying ban today and see how you feel about shopping in 3 months, 6 months or even a year.
Renting, sharing and buying Second Hand
Next time you have a formal event why not look at renting a dress from somewhere like‘Rent the Runway‘ ? Or wear something you’ve worn before with different accessories, or buy second hand? There are so many great ‘pre-loved’ sites out there to chose from. You could even start a clothes sharing club like my friend Dia, in San Francisco. Often our friends have things they could lend us for one-off events like weddings.
And, if you really don’t think you have the willpower to stop shopping book a few coaching sessions with me and I’ll help you get off the consumer hamster wheel and into the mode of ‘Living well, consuming less, enjoying more’.
Contact me today for a FREE consultation
Stay Well – Natasha x