I’ve fallen out of love with shopping.
As someone who had been addicted to shopping for as long as I can remember, these are words I never ever thought I’d speak. As a child, I’d use my allowance for weekend family jaunts to Kmart, where I’d buy the finest clearance costume jewelry and clear bins to store my bracelets, earrings, rings and necklaces in. Other weekends, I’d hit up church and home flea markets with my mom and score some cool finds – like a vintage Gucci bag that I still own to this day.
When we traveled abroad as a family, I quickly learned of duty-free and remember convincing my mom to buy me a brand new Fendi bag while we were overseas because it was a deal! And my Grandmom didn’t help either – she’d consistently treat me to new clothes aka back to school shopping every year, and pretty much spoil me the rest of the year, buying me new sneakers, clothing, or whatever else I wanted.
I also loved shopping at discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Every now and then, they’d stock the stores with a few luxury finds. This was way before they had “The Runway” section in stores. I would love to visit several of my favorite stores in the area to find unique scores, like that time I snagged a pair of Christian Dior aviator sunglasses at TJ Maxx.
It was always a dream of mine to live in New York City. Every time I visited, shopping was always a priority, but there was never enough time to fully explore all the stores that the city had to offer. So when I got the chance to live in NYC, the shopping and fashion mecca, I racked up so many new things. I mean, there are stores everywhere you turn, a sample sale every other day, street vendors, and new stuff launching on a daily basis. Plus online sample sales had just begun and I was getting so many credits by promoting them on my blog, which was taking off. I was providing recommendations to my readers on a daily basis so it also kinda became my job to shop.
I never thought I would fall out of love with shopping. But it turns out, you CAN have too much of a good thing.
I learned the law of diminishing returns while taking economics at Wharton. I never thought it would apply to my shopping habit though. But since moving out of NYC and moving several more times after really forced me to take a look at everything I owned and why. I realized that a lot of my shopping was out of habit, or emotions. Had a bad day? Go buy something new. Going out on Friday night? Get a new outfit. This blogger recommended this new whatever? Go buy it. Bored? Go shopping. A new season rolls around? It’s an excuse to go shopping. See a store? Enter it and buy something. Most of the time I was shopping for no reason at all.
Add to that all of the blogger events I attended over the years, which came with a gift bag, new sweater, boots, jewelry, beauty products, and tons of other goodies. And with companies sending free stuff on a regular basis (to review on What’s Haute), my apartment basically turned into a small boutique. And I was overwhelmed with all of the stuff I now owned.
So last year, with a renewed focus on my goals (and after surveying all my stuff), I decided to institute a self-imposed shopping diet. I could only purchase three new non-essential items per month. At first it was hard. I was so used to buying something new and nonessential almost every day! But the diet really forced me to decide if I really wanted to buy what I was considering. For example, I saw one of my fave bloggers rocking sequin socks and I went to Amazon to purchase them immediately. Then I asked myself, “Do I really want sequin socks to be one of my three purchases for the month?!” Plus, I owned so many impulse buys that I was initially excited to buy but of course the feeling quickly wore off. And then you’re stuck with this stuff forever. That’s another thing to consider – the cost of ownership. Because once you buy something, it’s yours. You must house it, store it, find a place for it. And if you move, you must pack it, transport it, unpack it, and find another place for it in your home. That sounds fine until you own tons of stuff. Then it gets costly and messy and overwhelming.
Now with the popularity of Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method, paring down is popular. And that means getting rid of stuff AND buying less. And investing in pieces that you will keep and wear long term, rather than trendy, one-off items that are just hot for a moment. It’s easier for me to cut back on shopping now because for the most part I’ve grown bored with it. Fashion has become so easily available and readily accessible that it’s no longer fun and exciting for me. I’ve stood in line for hours to shop the latest fashion collaboration. I’ve owned luxury bags that I’ve craved, shoes I thought I couldn’t live without, and so many clothes I couldn’t (still can’t) even wear them all. But as Kondo says, you should only keep things that spark joy. For me that extends to buying new things as well. Every now and then I do get excited by a brand or certain products. I treated myself to a Wandler bag (pictured) because every time I see one of their new bags, I wanted one. (Really, I want them all!) I treated myself to this yellow dress and it only cost me less than $1 – and I didn’t break my shopping diet! (More on that in a future post). And there are online and brick and mortar stores I’ll always browse through, like ASOS, Forever 21, Nordstrom & Nordstrom Rack, Zara, H&M and my favorite: Target! But the joy of shopping for me has waned.
So instead of accumulating a bunch of new stuff I’d get bored with eventually, I’ve been thinking about trying a rental service for clothing, like Rent the Runway Unlimited, Stitch Fix or LeTote. Have you used a rental service? And for my fellow reformed shopaholics, how and why did you fall out of love with shopping? What did you do to kick your habit? Would you institute a shopping diet?
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