Over the past months, I have been trying to declutter and give away as much as possible, but I also know my limitations and I have been using a lot of (more or less) rational excuses to justify my latest expenses of clothes and shoes.
Remember the "no-buy year" news article we posted a few days ago on OUTSIDE THE BOX Facebook page?
(you'd better join us there, too)
If not, the idea is simple: instead of buying new clothes or beauty products, you make a commitment to use the things you already own. Some people, such as the beauty blogger Hannah Louise Poston, signed up to a “no-buy year” – and document their progress in much the same way that they once tracked their purchases.
Since we moved to Switzerland I have drastically looked at what I have in my wardrobe, and what has remained in the boxes in the basement for the past year if not more.
Some statements have been fairly easy to make:
- I have spent way too much money on certain items, not because they were too expensive, but because I have barely worn them;
- some have remained there for way too long, waiting for the "I could use it for this occasion" moment that never came;
- some items were obvious compulsive purchases that I have kept more because of guilt rather than actual purpose;
- some things, from bags to miscellaneous things, have remained in their moving box since I left Europe originally (i.e. 7 years ago) and haven't been looked at once. A few things have a sentimental meaning attached to them (the t-shirt from whatever concert, the costume from whatever student party etc...), but they have only served a limited amount of times;
- my glasses were old and scratch,ed so I needed new ones.
Now my excuses:
- our move from one climatic zone (desertic) to another (continental) has made part of my wardrobe useless, especially for all the professional working clothes;
- after 7 years in the Middle East, I do not have anything to accommodate outdoor activities properly in Central Switzerland (here I am thinking rain and snow-proofed things);
- some items have been damaged with the move (especially shoes that have lost their structure or that have melted in the container etc.) and need to be replaced;
- I am now working in a proper corporate environment, while I was before working in a not-for-profit one and then at home. A little wardrobe refresher has been necessary;
- my style has changed with time, and my post-baby body has obliged me to change sizes.
What I have done so far:
- I systematically remove one item I own when I buy a new one;
- I spend more time looking at where the items are sourced/produced, what they are made of as long-term materials, and I asses my needs vs. my desire to shop (to better identify what makes my consumption compulsive);
- I bite my own hand when I feel like buying the exact same thing but in another colour (OMG as a good old fashion victim I would love to buy my Fjallraven Kanken in different colours...);
- I am avoiding online shopping as much as possible, as I made a lot of shopping mistakes in the past;
- I limit the time spent in shops to the impossible minimum to avoid absurd temptation, especially during the sales;
- I try to shop during the sales only, as regular retailer prices allow brandsto make so much margin on poor-quality items produced in poor conditions.
Where do I stand in January?
- with 2 jackets, 1 coat, 1 pair of shoes, 1 dress and new glasses bought on sales in January, I already exploded the budget and No-buy plans I had proudly considered for 2019.
- I still need to look at investing in winter gears. Last year wasn't too cold and less snowy, but I might not be able to avoid the purchase any longer.
- What will be given away: 1 vest, 3 tights (new), 3 pullovers, 6 shirts / tops, 2 dresses, 3 scarfs, 1 pair of jeans. Most will go to Love on a Hanger, the rest to the Okihof.
What comes next?
I am now keeping an Excel sheet (#nerdalert) listing the exact points above: What I buy, where from, for how much money, and what I give away. Hopefully this list will be a greater open-minding process for the future.
See you in February for the next review.