What I learnt about myself after 28 days of no shopping …
As you may already know by now, I decided to spend the month of February without any shopping – of course I did get groceries and the like but I banned myself from buying any new clothes, accessories, any make up or cosmetics that did not require replacement and so on. I did write a blog post which I kept going back to throughout the month to keep me on track and you can check it out here.
Indirectly, I found that this challenge allowed me to learn a few things about myself and come to terms with a few inconvenient truths …
I shop when I’m emotional
If I’m stressed or panicked, I tend to hit the Zara or Net-a-porter app and buy myself some happiness. It is a momentary happiness of course and truth be told, most times the happiness lasts until the acquisition is made because I stopped counting the times I had to return whatever I would have bought due to a wrong fit or because I wouldn’t really be in love with the item(s) bought by the time they reach me … I’ll be quite honest, this was possibly the quickest bad habit to fall back in to as I have just panic-bought a couple of trousers (of course paying the express shipping too) for my upcoming London trip … but hopefully it’ll be the first and last relapse.
I cannot replace the pros
One of the things I banned for myself was the bi-monthly manicure and semi-permanent polish application. The skin on my hands reacts terribly to temperature fluctuations so starting the month in sub-zero climes, having a mid-month trip to a more humid Mediterranean air (factoring in the terrible dry air on the planes to and fro) and then returning to what seemed like an early spring wrecked havoc on my hands. I did try to give myself a manicure and groom my cuticles and stuff resulting in terribly mutilated fingertips and an incredibly painful whitlow. Some things are better left for the pros.
I redirect my shopping
I knew that this was going to happen as I had noticed it on previous occasions. Every time I tell myself I’m not going to buy clothes for a period of time, I find myself replacing the purchase of clothes with something else. It’s usually makeup, skincare or accessories so it was important for me to have those included in my ban. However, I did find myself regularly – like every single weekend – going to bio shops and just stocking up on all the cashew-based dairy free cheeses, organic buckwheat galettes and everything under the ‘healthy’ umbrella that I could find! Honestly, my larder looks like a top-notch bio market at the moment.
I had forgotten how to wait
As I said earlier, I just panic bought a couple of trousers from Zara for my trip this weekend but let’s say that is now going to be an exception. I noticed that over the years I have become increasingly impatient and want everything in the here and now (even though I don’t really enjoy physically going to the shops so much). So when I order online I always, invariably, pay for the express shipping. If it could arrive within 30 minutes of my order, even if that is at 00:30, it wouldn’t be soon enough. This process helped me learn again how to wait. How urgently would I really need the 5th camel coloured blazer really? I know that this has become a malaise of our day and age but perhaps it wouldn’t harm to return back to shopping from brick and mortar businesses every now and again …
I already have everything I need
I think this was possibly the biggest self-revelation. Not that I didn’t know it before – and not that this will stop me from buying something new – but I think I needed to be properly shaken into this realisation through this sort of cold turkey approach to shopping. Even though there were still those days when I said to myself ‘oh if only I had that to go with this’ or the notorious ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’ while looking at a bursting wardrobe, I realised I am not want for anything. In a way it also helped me realise what I like and what I don’t more than any wardrobe culling exercise I’ve ever done before. There will always be those items I’ll seek to elevate my outfits and help me curate the wardrobe of my neutrals and cashmere dreams.
I’m not going to promise a continued shopping ban but I must admit that I do hope these realisations remain with me and keep me from falling back into my old ways.
In case you’ve missed the 28 Day No Shopping Challenge vlogs you can watch them back here: