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Thoughts on my 4 month Shopping Ban



I’ve been on a shopping ban for almost 4 months now. There have been good and bad days. On the good days, I felt ‘In control’. I did not feel the need to browse online shopping websites at all and forgot about shopping. Other days, I kept revisiting my wishlists and thinking of when I can get back to shopping.

It is still a struggle and I feel so pathetic about my will power. How do people go on 1 year shopping bans? I have so much respect for them! This whole exercise has been very humbling and eye opening. Along the way, I learnt a few important things about myself and about the thought process of an Eternal Style Enthusiast. (Did I just give myself a fancy name so that I don’t need call myself a shopaholic!? Do I implicitly justify the shopping addict in me by telling myself that I only buy high quality items?  Does buying between 20 to 25 items a year make me a shopaholic?)  I am going to end this internal monologue here and move on to lessons I learnt. There is nothing ground breaking here. Just one woman’s minuscule effort to see if she can actually swear off buying clothes for a while and introspect her wardrobe and learn from her mistakes. Was she successful? The answer is a little longer than Yes or No.

The Good:

  1. It is oddly soothing to wear the same outfits week after week. Maybe it is not that odd really! Repetitions are habit forming –> Habits become muscle memory and eventually they become second nature.
  2. A good Shopping Ban makes you take some time to regroup and understand what you actually want, need, love, hate, can’t pull off, don’t use, get tired of easily.

The Bad:

  1. I only wear about 40 to 50% of my wardrobe. Everything else just takes space.
  2. I waste so much time, endlessly browsing on the internet for that perfect ‘something’. My strategy from now on is to just buy 2 to 3 items at the beginning or end of each season based on all the ‘research’ and then turn a blind eye to online shopping for next few months. I better figure out the retailers and brands I like and when they go on sale. If I keep looking and checking online, I waste so much time of my life. Here is the thing – Within the span of an year, at any given point, some retailer or the other will have a sale. I rather buy it if I like it and move on. I may not get the best deal, but it is so much better than playing the ‘Sale Game’ and trying to get the ‘best deal’ out there!
  3. I am absolutely pathetic at selling my stuff online (eBay, Poshmark, RealReal). So, I better NOT buy so much stuff in the first place.
  4. I never seem to run out of things to give away, donate or sell. Where is all this stuff coming from??

Personal Preferences:

  1. As much as I would like to buy two pairs of trousers and five blouses and call it a uniform, it doesn’t work for me at all. I am a dress person and I will give anything to just wear a dress every day! I also like to incorporate prints into my style. So, I am never going to look like a French woman in awesome skinny jeans and striped t-shirts. It is OK to just be me.  Bottom Line: It is totally OK to have a different definition for the term ‘Work-Uniform’.
  2. As much as I want my clothes to fit me perfectly, I am human and I put on weight here and there. Many times, I buy something that fits me exceptionally well, and then I end up NOT reaching for that dress because I put on a few pounds of holiday weight. One thing I learnt in the last 4 months? I better go one size up, especially when buying expensive clothes.

The new and improved Buying Process:

I am working on a buying process flow chart for myself. But for now, I created a small Venn Diagramwants-and-needs1

Rinse and Repeat:

I plan on buying a sweater next month and officially break my ban. But, I can’t wait to do this again. A 2 to 4 month shopping fast/detox is exactly what I need once in a while.

What do you think about Shopping Bans? Do they work for you? Do you feel better or worse during them? Do we go back to our old selves afterwards? I would really like to know your thoughts.

p.s: The first picture is from a very cool illustration book by Sara Lazarovic. Here is a interesting interview with her. I love her thoughts on minimalism and how folks tend to oversimplify it into black or white, when there is actually so much gray zone!

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. ” I never seem to run out of things to give away, donate or sell. Where is all this stuff coming from?? ”

    I have one item of clothing and books that fall into this category every month. And one box that I take to the post office to return. I would have impulsively bought something. Atleast I stopped keeping things because I am lazy to return them.

    I congratulate you on making it to month 4.

    About the unused 40%, if you cant donate them, put them away in a box and forget about them for a year or two ? For piece of mind and more space.

    I want shopping ban to be the way of life. Only to be broken when something is absolutely needed or for fall-in-love-with-the-dress sort of moments. My husband is my inspiration.


    October 30, 2016
  2. SA. #

    Thank you Archana. It was a very good experience and I think I will start doing these bans once in a while. I have so much stuff I want to give away, but I think it is a better idea to just box it for a while. It is still warm in Phoenix and I may not need that sweater yet 🙂


    November 1, 2016

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