Do I Really Want To Do This?

Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

Shopping My Closet: A Year With No Clothes Shopping. YIKES???? Really?

I’m considering — I’m not yet committed — to starting a one year challenge. A challenge to not do any clothes shopping for one year. Starting December 15, 2009. Why??

This is blog #1 of this diary journal online thing and it may very well be my last.

But to get back to that thorny question…. Why indeed.

Well, where do I start? Reason # 1 is I have a sh*tload of clothes – friends who have seen it can testify to this. When we renovated our 4-bedroom house in 2007, we turned it into a 3-bedroom house and converted the small bedroom next to our bathroom into a walk-in closet. So, it’s room sized. To the left is a photograph of my shoe shelves. There’s over 70 pair, maybe more (if I do this experiment, I’ll count them up). So, that’s reason #1 – I have so many clothes, I could create a different outfit every day and I’d probably run out of days before I ran out of clothes.

Reason #2 is financial. We’re starting a new business which is an exercise in cash going in one direction (out) and not a lot coming in the other way, at least for now. So, it would be excellent to curb unnecessary spending.

Reason #3 is a little harder to pin down. It has to do with appreciating what I have, with using what I have rather than craving always for *more*. It has to do with not stuffing my closet full of more stuff; I have so many jackets now (not really a necessity in our tropical climate!) that if I buy another one, I have to get rid of one – that’s how jammed my closet already is.

And that’s just the jackets – the same applies to everything else: shoes, shirts, pants (of all descriptions – hanging, jeans, capri, long, printed, plain), tops (of all descriptions), handbags…. I wont go on about it, but you get the idea. I can’t fit anymore in. But that’s reason #1, and this is reason #3 which is more emotional or psychological – it has to do with how I feel about what I have and appreciating it, using it, and not using shopping as a hobby.

Reason #3 goes deeper than just that – it has to do with not using shopping as a way of ….. filling some dark void? Someone dial 1800-PsychiatricHelp. Ok, so there’s some “deep dark” stuff included in reason #3, which throughout the year — IF I DO THIS — I may discover more about.

So, a couple more thoughts before I leave this first post. Which, depending on a few factors, may be my last.

Why just clothing? Well, I’ve done a bit of research (read: 15 mins on Google typing in words like “my year without shopping”) and there are a few people who have already mined this particular well. One is Judith Levine who wrote a book Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping. Ms Levine attempted to not shop everything – from cafe lattes to theatre tickets to trips to the hairdresser to flights to… you name it. You can read more about her book on Amazon – the comments piece is particularly interesting and to say the book got “mixed reviews” would be being kind. Another is an English woman, Samantha Weinberg, who also gave up shopping everything – she doesn’t appear to have written a book but I read an online article by The Guardian about her.

But it’s not just because others have attempted (successfully, in the above cases, at least in the main) to not shop for everything that I want to focus purely on clothes. It’s because clothes are such a temptation for me. I look at a pair of shoes (particularly if they are animal print, my love, my fullblown fetish!) and say to myself “Aw, they’re only $49 [or $149 or $249] – that’s not much!” or I’ll look at a belt (particularly if it’s animal print!) and say “Hey, it’s only $39 [or $139] – and I’ll wear it HEAPS, it’s actually good cost-per-wear value!!”. I justify clothing purchases like a crazy person, like it’s Monopoly money I am using, instead of a real live plastic card earning 18% interest on those purchases. So, clothing is my downfall, my big temptation. It would be a challenge for me to not go clothing shopping for a year.

And by “clothing” I mean anything that adorns the body, including accessories (earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, belts, scarves, gloves, hats, beads (yes, beads!), handbags) and stuff for my feet (shoes (duh), socks, sockettes, slippers). EVERYTHING.

Will I really be doing without? The answer to that has to be a resounding NO. It would be materialist, shallow and offensive beyond words to say that for me to not shop for clothing for a year would be “doing without”. That’s why this blog title is Shopping My Wardrobe – instead of putting the entire focus on what I’m not doing (shopping for clothes), I wanted to put at least some emphasis (which hopefully will shift more and more in this direction as the year progresses) on what I am doing — shopping my closet. It’s a neat concept I learned when I was studying image management. Setting up your wardrobe so that it contains everything you need to feel like you are going “shopping” everytime you dip into it.

When I consider how much I have it’s probably embarrassing, if not reprehensible on some level, for me NOT to take this challenge. When I imagine how many people are living with a fraction of what I have, and not just in the third world but people in my own neighbourhood, then it makes me even more convinced that this experiment is necessary. On a practical, financial and soul level. Now everyone – kum-baya…..

So why blog about it? The reason I want to do a blog, rather than just the experiment, is because I’d like to be kept honest. I’d like to really do this, and by writing about it, well, that might help me to stick to it. It might also provide some inspiration if others comment.

It might start a bit of a conversation about it from others who, like me, find shopping a temptation.

It might provide a bit of a kick in the pants (hopefully necessary ones only) where differing points of view come into the discussion and I need to look at the situation differently.

It might help someone else. If you don’t find shopping for clothes either fun or tempting, you may not know what I’m banging on about. But consider something that you DO love to spend money on, and imagine you have more than enough of it right now, then imagine going for a year without buying it. Maybe that’ll help you to kind of maybe in a sort of way get what a challenge this might be for me.

Should I do it? Answer’s gotta be YES. Right?

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