image credit : Steve Snodgrass
I’m on a ‘buy nothing new for me’ kick at the moment.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the idea – you buy nothing new for a set time frame and just make do with what you have. There are various blogs and sites that list rules and encourage participants.
It’s a really cool idea but I am not doing it because I want to save the planet or be more ethical. Those things are good, but I’m out to do anything lofty for the environment, or stand up for a cause, or inspire others, it’s more selfish than that.
I have committed to buy nothing new for myself for the next three months purely to give myself a break from myself.
The other day, as I pondered what to wear to an event, it dawned on me – this stuff stresses me.
I want to look good, or decent, or at the very least feel good, and often that leaves me with an intense desire to buy new clothes, especially if I have some event or place to go. I have this ridiculous notion that if I just find the right shirt or shoes, I will suddenly look stunning and feel more confident.
In reality, what most often happens is that I drag one or more kids to the shops and trudge around looking for the ‘one special thing’ I must have. Usually I can’t find anything I like, or anything that fits, or anything that I can afford, and I get cranky and depressed. Then I end up buying something that is not so great just because I feel that something is better than nothing, and then I regret it.
It’s not that I think I spend too much on clothes, or that I already have loads of clothes, or that I don’t wear some of my clothes till they just about fall apart. (does anyone else complain about the elastic going in your undies only to realise that you bought them while pregnant with your six year old?) It’s just that the whole ‘buying clothes’ gig makes me crazy.
It’s a waste of time, a waste of money and it goes against my total tight arse… ahem I mean thrifty nature. And most of all, it doesn’t make me happy.
So I’m taking a break from the frustration and the spending. Now when the insane voice pops into my head telling me to buy something new so I feel better about this or that, I don’t have to worry about the back and forth banter of the angel and the devil because I am just not.
For the next few months it is just not an option. I can wear something I already own, I can make do. I may not looking ‘stunning’ but I wouldn’t have if I’d bought something new to wear anyway… and it’s saving me money and time and a whole lot of frustration and self doubt.
Tell me I’m not alone…
Do you suffering from this kind of ridiculous desire and frustration?
Have you ever done a ‘buy nothing’ challenge?
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
I know what you mean … I love the person who invented the idea of uniforms for school, for work … could we have one for other things to. At least then I don’t have to choose and if it is awful who cares because everyone else has to wear it as well. Everytime I even think about choosing something to wear from my limited range of work clothes I want to buy something new because what I have ‘isn’t good enough’ and ‘doesn’t look good’ but then I go shopping and just get annoyed with the ugly clothes that I don’t like and that don’t look good.
I often wonder if it is some kind of cultural trap that has been created by corporations to make us think we need more stuff all the time… and then I think I may be just a little paranoid! LOL
i also find clothes shopping really annoying – walking around looking for that perfect outfit that I swear doesn’t exist!
Especially at the moment… it’s like everyone has decided that if you are a Mum you should look like a little kid or a Nana! LOL
Kate A says
Great idea but if I see something on sale or something that I ‘have to have’ I might have to buy it. But there is nothing worse that trying to find something when you have an event looming. This is a guarantee you will walk around the shops with a child or 2 and not find a thing. I find you are most likely to pick up something when you least expect it. But the idea of letting go of buying for the sake of buying is refreshing. I might give it a go. Save the agro, stress and money. Be free of consumerism. I feel the weight lifting already…. thanks Kate!
I started my ‘nothing new’ kick without rules on purpose… because I am not doing it to deprive myself but to make things easier. So if I see something I have to have then I’ll buy it… but just knowing that I am not heading to the shops because I feel obliged really has taken a weight off… you are right!
Be More With Less.com! That’s how I live now. Stuff and clutter leads to a cluttered life, mind and habits. I hear you loud and clear. I only buy something now if it is really needed and I have pared my wardrobe down to a capsule wardrobe that is so easy to work with. Life is so much better without ‘stuff’! A-M xx
I really need to work on my wardrobe… I did a huge clean out when we moved into our new room but I still have too many options, and too many things that I don’t really love… I keep imagining how much easier my life would be if I only had 7 days worth of clothes!
I hate clothes shopping to the point where I pretty much refuse to do it and haven’t had new clothes in 2 years (which I had to buy because I was pregnant!). Nothing ever fits the way I want it to and I end up quite depressed by the end of it all.
I have never done a buy nothing new challenge, but I often limit myself to only buying items second hand for a period of time, and that’s just to save us cash.
I really should have another go at second hand shopping…
Most of my boys clothes are second hand or bought on clearance (they’re not even 2 so they don’t care!) – it saves an absolute fortune!! Not to mention their toys and all the other odds and ends I’ve scored at bargain prices off ebay or markets. :)
Linda @M&As World says
Oooh that’s so me! I hate clothes shopping for myself now coz I’m never happy with the result. So I just don’t anymore. Ive been on a ‘buy nothing’ kick without knowing it!
I know exactly how you feel, and you said it better than I ever could. In fact you put your finger on it exactly and helped me realize what those weird feelings I have at the same time were all about. Thanks for that!! One suggestion that I thought of when reading your tale, was that perhaps you could just do your hair or make-up in a different way than normal. Might help you feel more “special” without purchasing new clothes or stuff you’ll later regret. A new shade of lipstick, or eye shadow might just do it! Or even a new fragrance that you normally don’t wear, or wearing your hair up in a twist or the opposite of “normal” for you. Anyway…you are NOT alone, you are NOT crazy, and you’ve helped this old lady feel like I’m not nuts either! Thanks!!
By the way – I LOVE your posts every day. I read them all and laugh, think and become enlightened by your words. That’s a nice gift that you give so freely. I appreciate it alot!
I can so relate Kate – this is one of the reasons I was so happy to tackle the skipping the supermarket and shopping malls challenge – I absolutely hate shopping.
Good luck and have fun :-)
I’ve never done a buy nothing challenge, but I love the idea. I make myself insane when it comes to buying new things for my home. Changing it. Making it (in my own head) better, somehow. The thing is, we really can’t afford to run out and buy a whole bunch of new crap, so I end up pining away for it all, and the internet doesn’t help. Anyway, feeling inspired to do something about it!
I just recently came across your web site and this story has inspired me to do two things. (1) I’m going to clean out my daughter’s closet and weed out all of the things that are either too small or that she just doesn’t wear anymore. I’m going to invite her friends to come over and bring their things as well for a clothing swap. That way my daughter (9 years old) can ‘shop’ for some new things she’s excited to wear this summer, but I won’t have to pay for anything. And this helps the other families too. (2) I’m going to sort through my closet one afternoon when I have an hour or two to myself and put together outfits that I know look decent on me and make me happy. I’m going to take pictures of myself and put them on a cork board on my room. That way, if there’s a morning when I feel particularly rushed and irritated that “I can’t find anything to wear,” I can look at the board and grab the top and bottom from one of the pictures and throw it on — saving me the guesswork and from trying on multiple combinations of things when I don’t have time. So thank you for inspiring me!