I love a challenge and this challenge was one I secretly commenced last year. I kept it a secret because I wasn’t certain I could actually go through with it. For the past 12 months, I have bought no new clothing! So what! you say…. hardly worth making a fuss about when there are people with serious health and money problems. However, I wonder how many of you could actually commit to this?
It all began last Easter, I spent time with very dear friends who live up the North Coast in a small rural area. Our families spent a few days together enjoying sunshine, laughter, simple fresh meals as we soaked up their lifestyle. They grow their own food, trade with neighbours and live a life of community. During our conversations, I became aware that I felt a little disappointed about some of the habits I had formed. When I am busy I might buy a pre-prepared meal. I buy coffee daily (in a disposable cup, gasp!). If I am going out I might buy a new outfit to wear. My North Coast friend told me she couldn’t remember the last time she bought a new item of clothing. Seriously. During our stay, she produced a big bag of clothes and asked who would like to take some. She trades clothes all the time. She trades food items and other things like child minding with friends and neighbours.
I was embarrassed when I realised that I bought new clothes all the time, without really having a need for them. If I had a special function to go to, new outfit. If I was having a bad day, new outfit. If I was having a good day, new outfit. You get the picture.
And so I gave it up. Right then and there. Now I won't lie, I wanted to cave a few times, especially when I was feeling emotional or when I did have somewhere special to go. So how did I get through it? Just like breaking any bad habit it was being conscious of it and then removing the temptation. For the first few weeks, I avoided all shops. Then it got a little easier. In fact, I actually discovered quite a few items in my wardrobe that still had tags on (ie had never been worn!!) When I did have those “I have nothing to wear” days, I went online to sites like Pinterest for inspiration. Then I would see what I already owned that was similar and put an outfit together. Then it just became my new normal.
So now the 12 months is over, will I go back to buying new clothes? More than likely, however with more restraint and control than ever before. Taking a more minimalist approach to life I have decluttered and reduced the amount of “stuff” I have. It’s refreshing and makes room for what is really important. Oh, and I now use a reusable coffee cup!
What challenge will you set yourself for this year?