Goodness, it’s now almost two years since I last bought a piece of clothing or an accessory item. For these last twenty-two months, I don’t think I’ve browsed a single online clothing or accessory store, or any brick and mortar clothing shop for that matter.
It’s been so – liberating.
Two years ago, I was addicted to reading style blogs, pinning images and then browsing through sites like Zara, Lulu’s, Urban Outfitters, eBay and Etsy so that I could purchase items to replicate the looks that I liked. Even when I wasn’t online, I would be constantly pre-occupied with all the stuff that I wanted to buy. As embarrassing as it sounds, I wanted to look like my favourite bloggers, and it was honestly taking over my headspace. I hated feeling that way, and every time I spent any money on myself, I would be consumed with guilt that I was wasting away our family’s finances.
I distinctly remember when I took my list of ‘things I needed to buy (before I would be happy with my wardrobe)’ and just deleted it. It was such a huge step for me. Letting go of the things that I wanted to have meant that over time, I gradually learnt that I didn’t need those things to make me happy.
I didn’t need those clothes or those shoes or those bags to define myself as a person.
I didn’t need to look like my favourite blogger. After all, I’m not her. I am me.
Like I said in this post at the beginning of the year, learning contentment has been the biggest reward of this journey. To be free from the constant desire to want more, to be free from the whole mindset of having a wishlist, has been so good for me.
And this is the most amazing thing: Being content has actually made me a happier person.
By this, I don’t mean that I wake up every morning brimming with sunshine and laughter. (No, I’m afraid I’m still a bit of a grumpy mum in the mornings.)
Instead, being content has meant that I feel more at peace with myself, and who I am. I don’t spend all my time mulling over what I don’t have or trying to work out when I can buy the next thing on my wishlist. On the contrary, I get to spend my time thinking about and working on things that are truly important to me and my family.
And here’s another amazing thing: Being content with my closet has spilled over into other areas of life.
Apart from clothes, shoes and bags, I also harbour a natural weakness for home decor items and stationery products. However, since I stopped buying things for my closet, I found that it was also easy to stop buying everything else.
In fact, I can read blog after blog of pretty things these days and not feel the slightest desire to own any of it. And two weeks ago, when I was diligently reading through the latest IKEA catalogue that I’d borrowed from Rick’s mum, I was able to put it down without writing up a list of things that we ‘needed’ to buy for the house. This coming from the biggest IKEA fan girl in the southern hemisphere.
So where to from here?
I’m going to see out the end of this year. That will make it a full two years of no purchases.
Then I’m going to re-evaluate the contents of my closet. I know I said in my previous post that there wasn’t much to purge, but I’ve now decided that there is. Having spent another year of only wearing what I already have, I’ve been able to zero in on what I am naturally inclined to wear and what I am honestly unlikely to ever wear (or wear again).
Essentially, I’m going to force myself to be brutal and to cull, cull, cull. In particular, I’m going to try one strategy that I thought of the other day: Instead of going through my closet and taking out the things I think I won’t wear again, I’m going to lay everything on my bed and only put back into my closet the things that I plan to wear again.
From there, I need to replace a few of my wardrobe staples which have suffered a bit of wear and tear these last two years. And then, over the course of the year, I would like to give some proper thought into building a capsule wardrobe that works for me. I’ve been especially inspired by the idea of paring my wardrobe down to ten core items.
I have learnt to not want more; I would now like to aspire to owning less.
As I venture back into online and offline stores to replace some old favourites, it will be interesting to see what effect this has on me. Will I fall back into old habits? Or have I truly become more resilient?
I guess only time will tell, and I promise to keep you guys posted.
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Other posts you might be interested in reading:
The Happy Closet, Part 5 (some thoughts on my recent purge)
The Happy Closet, Part 4 (on not buying anything for a year)
The Happy Closet, Part 3 (my tips on buying less)
The Happy Closet, Part 2 (the basic principles)
You can read all of The Happy Closet posts here.