The Year that Shopping Disappeared

My closet has recently been making me sick. I can’t stand looking in there anymore. And not because I don’t like the clothes I have…I have TOO MANY! How did I get to be such a clothes hoard?

Now, our walk in closet is quite small, so when I say “too many clothes”, it’s all relative. But for me and my standards, there’s too many. I don’t need all of these clothes (said no woman ever…but wait, I just did). The reason why I have so many is because of trends, patterns, colours, etc. But seriously, I can’t remember the last time I wore something into the ground, which is the way clothing used to work. For our grandparents or parents even, they had a few items of clothing that would be rotated and the need for shopping would only arise when a rip, tear or hole would show up, making it unwearable. But now…with the accessibility of malls, online shopping and the emphasis on physical appearance and keeping up with trends, we are being sucked into a vortex for endless clothes hunting.

And it’s literally making me sick. I have to do something about this. And it had to be drastic.

Sorting through clothing and giving out items that you haven’t worn for 6 months is a bandaid solution, it’s not addressing the root of the problem. Which is shopping itself. Ugh, what a horrible verb…raiding clothing stores to keep up with styles and trends. Wait, I have no spring clothes to wear since spring is fast upcoming…but these clothes can’t be worn in the summer, they’re just not breathable enough. But maxi dresses are in and I only have 5 and none of them are ombre, so I need to buy more. And I could go on and on.

I wonder if we are self-conscious of repeatedly wearing the same clothing in front of colleagues and friends. I mean, really, when we travel, I wear the same outfits/combinations of outfits multiple times, not giving a hoot who sees me since hey, we don’t live here! So the embarrassment of seeming like we are out of style or don’t have “enough” clothes may play into our decisions to shop a little too much? Or perhaps for some, shopping is therapy. Or escape from boredom. Shopping might be about the thrill of the hunt or wanting to do something for yourself. But really, it’s expensive and there are healthier things to do for yourself. Like exercise.

Shameless marketing geared to women and girls. Yes, we CAN have too many!
And so while Asif and I walked through Chinook Mall last night as I happily swung my bag with two halal and prettily-patterned 60% discounted tops from Anthropologie, I remembered my closet and how nauseated it made me. I turned to Asif and boldly stated “That’s it! I promise that I will not buy another piece of clothing for one year!”

He looked at me with amused agreement and said “Heck, I’m not shopping again for 10 years” (he went overboard on our recent trip to San Diego, but with prices like that and sizes for him hard to find, I don’t blame him!).

We shook on it and agreed to our pact. One year of NO clothes shopping. Of course, should there be damage to necessary items (you know what these are), then of course, we’re inclined to buy essentials.

So today, I’m still feeling pretty good about our pact. It wasn’t a hasty decision. I was somewhat inspired by an interview I had heard on CBC Radio a while back about a lady who also went consumer free for a year, and how liberated she felt. Not to mention the fact that she probably saved a ton of money. And so, here we are on the same journey, starting now and through 2014.

I’m purging my closet of items I haven’t worn anymore and will be donating them to women’s charities. Since I won’t be buying any new clothing, regardless of how “amazing” a sale may seem to appear, I hopefully won’t need to purge for a while.

So my Anthropologie tops remain packed in their bag with the receipt tucked inside, since I am contemplating returning them both and starting off my consumer free year with a bang. I may even boldly state to the salesperson “because I don’t NEED these tops!” How liberating would that feel?! Or, I may keep them as a punishment and reminder of my weakness when it comes to clothing.

Since this blog is now published and out there on the world wide web, we’ll have to keep our promise! I know Asif will hold me accountable as I will for him. And not to say that we won’t head to a mall to go for a walk on a super cold day…I’ll just leave all forms of payment at home, knowing that the dollars saved will be put to better use than on unnecessary clothing.

However, don’t think I’ll be wearing potato sacks anytime soon! I (Alhamdulillah) have more than enough clothes that will still be trendy to wear for a while. Just don’t raise an eyebrow at me when you see me recycling outfits more than usual!

And of course, I’ll be tracking our progress during the year, including temptations, successes, and any withdrawal symptoms such as credit carditis. If you’d like to join the anti-clothing revolution, let me know! We’d be glad to have you on board.

Happy non-consumerism new year!!!! WOOOOO!!!!!

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