Every store email, every blog post and every Instagram is another temptation to buy the next “It” item, which makes a month without shopping for clothes especially difficult for a style blogger. Heck, if you’re like me, you’re not hiding an Internet history littered with tawdry sites, you just don’t want to admit how many dresses you looked at before your first cup of coffee.
Challenging myself to a “No Shop April” was less about saving money and more of an effort to stop accumulating stuff. I like to shop. I like to own pretty things. But lately I’ve felt like I’ve gone off the rails a bit. I just need a month to step back and reevaluate what I want in terms of general financial goals and key items to eventually add to my wardrobe.
Here are my strategies:
- Avoid temptation. It goes without saying that the mall is a huge source of temptation for many of us, but your inbox is an even bigger landmine. I receive hundreds of promotional emails each week touting new arrivals and promotional discounts. It’s easy to fall victim to a friends and family sale when it’s a rare chance to save 25%. My advice? Unsubscribe. Or at the very least delete the emails without opening them. If you’re serious about streamlining your inbox, Unroll.me is a startup company that lets you view how many lists you’re subscribed to, gives you the opportunity to unsubscribe, then consolidates the messages into one daily email. (I was on 488 lists.)
- Mix and match your existing wardrobe. This is the perfect opportunity to be creative. Pick a piece you haven’t worn in awhile and challenge yourself to wear it three different ways this month. It also makes for blog fodder that’s more interesting than showcasing new purchases.
- Clean out your closet. Go through your closet and take out every single item. Look over each with a critical eye. Do you wear it? Is it in good repair? Would your current self buy this piece again? If you can answer yes to those three questions, the item goes back in the closet. If not, it’s off to eBay or Goodwill. I did this in February and, honestly, I was embarrassed by how much I donated and by how much money I spent on things I didn’t wear. It forced me to be more thoughtful about future spending.
- Appreciate what you already own. You know that rush you get when you buy a new item? Rekindle that flame with your wardrobe. We all have items we treasure and it’s important to realize that you can’t always have the latest and greatest thing. In fact, what you own now is already pretty great.
- Keep your on the prize. Be honest about your reason for doing this. Are you padding your savings account? Putting away money for an expensive item? Looking to break away from unconscious consumerism? Whatever it is, write it down. Remind yourself of your end goal whenever temptation strikes. There will always be another must-have item.
Illustration by Garance Dore