Starting tomorrow, I’m going to embark on a six month journey of no shopping. That’s right – no more TJ Maxx finds, no more awesome Athleta outfits, no more spending $100 as soon as I walk into Target. If you’re female, you know the drill.
Before we moved, the thought planted in my head. Why and how do we have so much stuff? Our old house had a basement, both a blessing and a curse. Didn’t know what to do with xyz? Throw it in the basement. Then I had Claire. I told myself I’d “definitely get organized before the move.” I had Claire. We moved 3 months later. It didn’t happen.
Now that we’re in a different house and I am still unpacking, all I’m finding is junk. I’ve been trying to create a peaceful, organized home. It’s not really happening because we have so many things, many of which I don’t even like that much.
Because we moved, I’ve had to do a ton of shopping to make this particular house liveable. And to my great dread, we are moving again in another few months. Knowing that we’re moving again and will most likely continue to do so for a while, I want to get a handle on my stuff. So what do I do?
Stop bringing in the stuff. Not a new or novel idea, but an idea that has yet to come to fruition in my life.
Besides having mass amounts of random stuff lurking in my life, I use shopping like a drug. It’s an addiction of sorts for unhappiness, boredom, jealousy, sometimes just for fun. For years I’ve wanted to “shop less,” but never put any restriction on myself, any kind of accountability for what I spend money on or why something makes it into my shopping cart. I’ve often told myself, “it’s not that bad, I could be like her.” And yet, I look at most my clothing and wonder why I never wear it, question why I can fill two suitcases full of shoes, & have but a few things that I “can’t live without.”
I also know deep down that I have a root issue with materialism. For years in my faith, I’ve felt the Lord telling me that my trust is in the wrong place, in worldly things, in things that simply do not last instead of Him. Well, that’s bad enough for me to want to make change. And I feel silly that it’s taken me this long to want to do something about it for real, but better later than never I suppose.
So, I’m not just going to say “I won’t shop for six months! The end!” and hope that it sticks. I’m hoping that by setting a set of specific rules for this, it will actually work. It doesn’t mean it’ll be any easier. In fact, I’m expecting it to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But alas, the rules.
- No personal shopping for myself, including: clothes, shoes, accessories, home decor, candles, dishes, purses/bags, baby clothes/toys we don’t need, and so on.
- I can’t spend money because I haven’t spent any in a while or because I’m bored. I do not want to buy something just for the sake of buying something.
- Stop frequenting the places that I normally shop or the parts of stores that I normally want to spend money in (Target Baby section, we’re breaking up for a while, sorry).
Just because I am not shopping for six months doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to spend money the entire time, though. Some exceptions are:
- Personal products that run out (i.e. shampoo, lotion, etc.) but I’m not allowed to buy “another lotion” if I already have some. I want to learn to use what I already have.
- Personal services like a pedicure or hair cut
- basic items for Claire. She will need more clothes, socks, shoes, etc. before this fast is over but again, I can’t go spend $150 at Carter’s on every little baby thing. Just the basics. She’s going to grow out of it soon anyway.
- Gifts for other people. I would actually really like to use this time to spend money on others over myself
Two exceptions I want to make are books for Claire because I love reading to her. We have very few books for her. Note to self: do not go buy her 10 books on Friday. And I just signed up for BirchBox so I will be getting that. I’m hoping that count as a little treat each month and keep me from buying any beauty products since I already know I’ll have them coming in the mail.
My husband and I also agreed to basically skip Christmas this year, for ourselves anyway. I might buy Claire a thing or two, but I’m pretty sure our family will have us covered in that department and Claire is too little to even know you’re supposed to get presents for Christmas anyway!
Some tactics that I hope will help me are making the next six months about going through my stuff and really only keeping what brings me joy, what fits me, what is in style, and what is worth moving from place to place from here on out. I have also been a little neglectful of self care lately, as in reading a book or taking more time for myself to just relax. I really hope to replace my shopping habit and being on the go so much with first giving Claire as much attention as she needs, and second focusing on refreshing myself by reading, journaling, and just being instead of distracting myself with stuff.
These next six months aren’t going to be perfect. They’re going to be painful because material things have such a hold on me. But I hope I can move toward seeing the world differently, appreciating what I do have, and realizing that shopping is just a big band aid that doesn’t fix any of my problems but actually creates problems.
I’ll probably give some updates throughout the fast, if anyone would find that interesting. Maybe an update every other month or so. Wish me luck!
Questions for You:
- Are you frustrated with how much stuff you have or how you spend your money?
- Could you ever not shop for a month, six months, a year?