Important Lessons I Learned From My Year Long No Shopping Challenge

No Shopping Challenge

It will have been a year since I’ve gone shopping for anything that adorns the body. I haven’t made a single purchase. It hasn’t been simple, made more difficult by the six trips I took, including one international trip (London) and a trip to New York City.

Embarking on a challenge like this one is not for the faint of heart. You have to look a couple of things in the metaphorical eye-greed, desire, lust, and envy were things I had to address. I’ve learned a number of things about myself during this time and so I’d like to share a few things with you. 

1. Your clothes are a reflection of your mood

I notice a lot of people walking around looking like crap. They are wearing pajamas to Costco, not combing their hair, and not bathing. I think there are a lot of unhappy people out there. I’m not saying that you need to be wearing a suit or dress everyday, but taking the time to put a little makeup on, put on some cute clothes, and groom yourself goes a long way. Remember, I’ve been wearing the same clothes for a year. Making sure that I’m ironed and put together helped me feel pretty good and the days I didn’t take time to put myself together well had a noticeable affect on my mental health.

Read also: 7 Ways to Reverse Your Overbuying Habits Using Psychology

2. Riding boots are the key to everything (and so are skinny jeans)!

I live in Colorado where we have seasons. These seasons can all happen in the same day. Think thundersnow, rain, and 80’s. Yep, this really happens. One of the things that I wore on average at least 3 times a week were my riding boots. I’ve worn my boots so much that they are no longer wearable.

The minute I start shopping the first item I will be investing in is a pair of well-made boots where I could resole the boots when the soles wear down. They go well with everything!! Riding boots are a classic item that’s been around since the 1800’s.  Skinny jeans pair nicely with riding boots and when worn with a sweater or long shirt it’s an easy chic outfit.

Read also: How You Can Become a Reasonable Consumer

3. The Classics Are Classics For A Reason

It’s important to invest in classic pieces such as:  black riding boots, a cream sweater, white collared shirts,  or a little black dress.  The key to making your outfit pop is using trendy items strategically. For example I have a pair of zebra striped black kitten heels. I wouldn’t necessarily wear a zebra stripped shirt. But, those shoes with a simple outfit POP! Invest in your classic pieces. I regretted not having a number of those items throughout the year.

4. Inventory Your Wardrobe

Have you ever wondered why you have 5 black shirts that are all similar to one another? Or, 5 coats but one gets more usage than the other 3? Really take some time to figure out what you have and get rid of what you aren’t using.  Get rid of what you aren’t using.

Read also: The Best Books About Minimalism

5. We Have Way Too Much Cheap Clothing

Quality before quantity. It’s so hard because we are surrounded by so many cheap options for clothing. Forever21, H & M, and T.J. Maxx are a couple of the stores that come to mind. It’s so difficult to not buy new pieces when there are so many tantalizing items out there. Eggplant jeans, aqua blouses, blinding white tunics, and so much more. The thing is cheaply made clothing-is cheap. Whenever I go to Europe I am very aware of the difference in textile quality. I actually wear my best clothes when I go to Europe. I’ve decided to stop buying cheaply made clothing and investing in quality items.

Why Buying Less Can Make You Happy

Today, eating, dressing or equipping ourselves requires immeasurable resources. If we feel the lack of something, we are used to buy sometimes without really thinking about a real utility. The problem is that the resources of our planet are not infinite. By buying more and more, we consume more and more. This habit is harmful and endangers the preservation of the environment. Buying less is first of all having this awareness.

Read also: The Evolutionary Reason Why You Should Be a Minimalist

Happiness has been the subject of numerous philosophical and psychological research. One of the research on the subject, the hedonic adaptation theory, emphasizes our limited ability for self-satisfaction. According to research, no matter what happens in our lives, our “happy level” always returns to zero. Even those who have won the lottery may attest to this.

If there’s one thing this emotion is certain of, it’s that no one understands what will make them happy. As a result, we frequently project a happy ideal. The sensation of happiness is inextricably tied to pleasure. As a result, we seek out pleasure in order to be happy. Indeed, buying goods and having clothes comes with a certain dose, and this is immediate.

These forecasts are predicated on the future: “I’ll be happy when I’ve achieved this, bought that.” Other psychological research and philosophies, on the other hand, suggest that happiness belongs to the individual who finds it in the present, rather than in the past or in the future. Impulsive and thoughtless buying is therefore very expensive. Money and resources often wasted in vain. Indeed, 40% of these clothes are not even worn and end up one day in a recycling bin (at best), in an Indian landfill or in our oceans.


I’ve also decided to practice conscious spending in all parts of my life. I want to make sure that my spending makes sense from a life hours expended standpoint. I also have become pretty committed to buying from American manufacturers. I want my dollar to circulate in the U.S. economy for as long as possible. Taking a year off of shopping ended up being a lot more challenging than I ever expected for completely different reasons than I expected. I didn’t realize the how emotional the experience would become. I’m currently in the part of the challenge that I would call “resignation.” I am resigned to finishing this challenge with as much dignity as possible.

Have you ever stopped shopping for an extended period of time?
How did it affect you? Did it change how you think about the way that you shop?


I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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