I’ve been thinking a lot about my consumption lately, and more so, just how many new things I seem to have bought in the last six months alone. While I’m no minimalist by any means (and I doubt I ever will be!), I’m firmly of the thought that we should only own what we love, and that this should fit within our means; both financially, and from the perspective that we can only consume so much. So when I read an article last weekend about the buy nothing diet, it really struck a chord.
One of the key things that I’ve been doing for years, to try and meter my spending and keep my shopping habits on track, is to keep a spending journal. Every time I make a new purchase for my wardrobe, I jot it down in a notebook, and tally up the total number of new additions each month, as well as just how much I spent. There’s no denying that I’m an emotional shopper – since I lost my mum in 2015, I’ve found that February has been a pretty spendy month for me – and it’s come through more this year than ever before. Considering that we’d like to jump on the property ladder at some point, all these new additions haven’t been quite so conducive to ramping up those savings….
So when I stumbled across an article chronicling Micha Goebig’s year of buying absolutely zero luxuries, I felt a little inspired. I started to think about how I could incorporate ‘buy nothing’ into my life, whether it be in smaller increments, or on a smaller scale. And I also started to think a bit more about how I could get back to that core manifesto on which I’ve been basing my entire wardrobe on; quality over quantity.
SO… JUST WHAT IS THE BUY NOTHING DIET?
It probably goes without saying, but the crux of it is that you refrain from buying any luxuries. The necessities such as food, basic household supplies, and toiletries are still on the table, but any item that fits more within the ‘want’ category – think clothing, shoes, beauty products, candles, flowers and the link – are completely off limits. It’s a movement that comes from the idea that shopping takes up too much cultural, mental and social space in our lives, and given the the ‘diet’ is supposed to span over the course of the year, works to break those shopping habits which so easily become ingrained in our everyday lives. Living in a world where consumerism is conspicuous, rather than conscious, it’s a way to regain that power, and reject the call to consume.
So, I figure now’s a good time as any to point out the white elephant in the room; as someone with a blog and a YouTube channel which occasionally relies on new wardrobe additions for the creation of content, where does someone like me, go from here?
WHAT OTHER OPTIONS ARE THERE?
If buying nothing is a shade too strong for you, but you’re all for conscious consumption, consider trying out a capsule wardrobe or getting on board with the five piece French wardrobe challenge, which force you to challenge the way that you look at your closet, and how you approach shopping for new wardrobe additions.
Another option is the #30wears campaign. This encourages people to extend the lifespan of their clothing by asking yourself, ‘will I wear this at least 30 times?’ before heading to the check out. As someone who used to manually track how often they wore each addition to their closet, I’m completely all for this – there’s nothing like a new wardrobe staple that you truly get your money’s worth from.
My final suggestion, would be to purchase only pre-loved. Personally, I’m a huge fan of consignment stores (The Real Real has to be my favourite, alternatively I occasionally browse Vestiaire Collective and eBay) as they allow me to get the look I’m after at a lower price point, make higher quality pieces more accessible, and reduce my own impact.
As of right now, I’m on a little bit of a self-imposed shopping ban – there’s not set time frame, but after investing a huge amount into my winter wardrobe, I’m at a point where I don’t really need anything, and taking a peek into my closet is evidence enough that I have plenty to wear. That’s not to say that there won’t be the odd new addition here and there (or that I won’t look to take up the 5PFW Challenge again soon), but I’m hoping to start a little bit of a softer take on the buy nothing diet, even if it lasts for just one month.
image via pinterest