I hope you all had a truly magical, wonderful holiday season! I ended up taking the rest of last week off because I just plain needed a little bit more time to myself. But now I’m ready to jump back into the blog and share what we’ve all been waiting for… my final update about my No Shopping Challenge of 2018! I shared a bit about it on Instagram, but it’s time for a full recap.
What I Learned During My Year of No Shopping
Surrounding yourself with inspiration is key.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been binging on the new Netflix series featuring Marie Kondo. Personally, I play it on my iPad mini next to my monitor as I’m working. I can literally hear her advice as I put away our laundry sometimes. I also found that reading books about minimalism helped a ton, too. Here are a few I found especially inspiring:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
- Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life
- The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own
- The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe
- The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
Additionally, finding other bloggers who are engaged in similar challenges helped, too. My friend Meg Hall just announced her own Fewer, Better Challenge for 2019, while Ashley from The Gold Hive continues to inspire with her tips for living a more minimalist, aware lifestyle. Plus, here are some additional tips and resources for minimalist living from me!
Sifting through what you have already also helps.
If there is anything I would urge you to do right away it is this: remove everything from it’s storage spot and sort through it. Literally everything. Every drawer, cubby, nook, and corner of your closet… EVERYTHING. Once it’s all dumped out, sort like with like. That means put all of your socks in one place. Immediately get rid of anything torn, hole-y, or too worn to wear. You could turn these into rags for DIY projects. Next, sort through and see what duplicates exist, what you haven’t used in quite some time, etc. Those items go into a sell or donate pile. Then keep moving on and purging, until you’ve covered your entire closet, kitchen, etc. I like to do this about once a year cuz you never know what is lurking in the back of your closet.
Also, this habit of examining each item helps me to reacquaint myself with items I might have forgotten about. It’s sort of like shopping in your own closet! Lastly, you become more aware of what you do actually need. For example, I realized that nearly all of my workout pants had holes in them, so it was time to invest in a few more pairs.
To help with my goal of clearing out clutter, I also hosted a rummage sale locally in Seattle. The sale itself was quite successful and something that might become a yearly thing, to be honest. Also, it was really awesome to connect with so many local readers!
The temptation is real.
The clearest evidence of this was when I was in Italy last summer. I found that I struggled with saying no to myself because everything felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring home some beautiful, handmade Italian treasure. My second update was all about coming clean on that front. Long story short, I ended up making quite a few purchases, but I’ll tell you what… I don’t actually regret any of them! The no shopping challenge actually helped me to make smarter buying choices and really put my money into items that spoke to me (or sparked joy, to use Marie Kondo’s nomenclature). Besides it being really, really hard sometimes, I actually learned quite a lot about my shopping habits during my challenge.
Customize the rules so that they work for you (and not against you).
When I shared the initial kick off of this personal challenge, I made a list of rules. I know myself and I know that I actually enjoy flouting rules. With this in mind, I made sure to allow myself to buy one new item each month. Not only did this force me to really consider which item I wanted to buy and if it was worth it, but it also made the challenge just a bit easier. Truthfully, some months I simply didn’t buy anything! And, yes, in those instances, I utilized a rollover practice. I was allowed to buy two items the following month if I wanted.
And finally, be kind to yourself.
Seriously, just be nice to yourself in all things, but especially this. The whole point wasn’t to make myself feel bad about shopping or like… somehow shame myself into not spending money. Instead, I wanted it to feel more positive. The goal was to examine how I spend money, what I spend it on, and why I spend it in the first place. Everything else that I learned along the way was just a cherry on top — and boy, did I learn a lot!
If you’re doing a similar challenge in 2019, I’d love to hear from you!