Back in February, I wrote about my consumption problem, and about my decision to take a hiatus from buying new clothes, accessories and makeup (all three being my primary shopping vices). After three months, I’ve learned several things along the way. Some of the lessons I’ve learned so far:
- How to be content. The primary reason why I chose to commit to this shopping hiatus in the first place was because I wanted to develop contentment in my life. I have certainly experienced a growing sense of contentment during the last three months. Instead of constantly wanting more things to fill me and make my life seem complete, I have learned to be satisfied and grateful for what I already have. I would actually say that I have an abundant life with more than I need or deserve.
- How to distinguish wants from needs. The nature of materialism is that it blends the lines between desires and needs. During my clothes hiatus, I have become more aware of my tendency to buy things out of desire rather than true need. I’ve learned to ask myself, “Why do I want this? Do I actually need this?” I am becoming a more conscious and self-aware consumer (and person).
- How to be creative with what I already have. I own enough clothes, accessories, and makeup to fill a dresser and closet, even after donating many things to thrift stores and friends. Instead of buying new things, I have learned to piece together outfits in new ways with what I own. Some of my lesser-used clothes have been revived from the back of the closet. Finding creative ways to wear my clothes has become a minor but fun daily adventure for me.
- How to enjoy places and activities other than stores and malls. Instead of shopping, I have discovered alternative ways to spend my time. I have been enjoying relaxing in local coffee shops, reading books, going to parks, gardening, and other activities that don’t cost a lot.
- How to share and swap things with friends. I have participated in several clothing exchanges with friends, and am a huge fan. Sometimes we get tired of the things we own, so swapping items with other people is a great way to get some new-to-you things. Plus, you usually end up with cool items that you may not have purchased for yourself.
- How to use my resources in other ways. I estimate that I used to spend an average of $25-$35, several hours, and an indeterminable amount of energy every month on new clothes and accessories. Now that money, time and energy can go toward other things. We now have more money that can be saved or given away to others in need, which I think are far more important than me accumulating another pair of jeans.