What an Accidental No Shopping Summer Taught Me

A lesson everyone should learn.
2 year old denim shorts and a 5 year old maxi dress.
2 year old denim shorts and a 5 year old maxi dress.

In a culture thats been training us to want more and more, it’s becoming harder to know when enough is enough. Now more than ever before, people are really trying to define this for themselves by doing things like no shopping months, or years, or giving a budget for how much can be spent on what.

It’s a time that people are really trying to take back their power over consumerism and define it for themselves.

I’ve looked at so many others on Instagram and thought to myself, “Oh how cool would that be to dedicate a whole month to not buying anything new!”.

Because although I’ve fully committed myself to a more minimal lifestyle it’s still relatively new to me. I have my moments where I see things I like and walk around the store with it only to eventually remind myself that I don’t “need” it simply because I like the way it looks.

I Didn’t Buy Any Clothing During The Summer — By Accident

So a couple weeks ago as I was reflecting back over the summer, I realized I hadn’t bought a single new piece of clothing. I was shocked! Even though I’ve dramatically cut down on my purchases, there have still been months over the past year where I probably went a little overboard; so to look back at an entire season and know I hadn’t bought anything I was completely surprised.

Now that doesn’t mean that I didn’t THINK about buying something at least once a week, but the difference being that I knew something similar to it already existed in my closet.

I realized I didn’t need three linen shirts that were all essentially the same style. I’m so much more aware of what already exists in my closet so when I go looking for something, it truly is to fill a gap of something that I don’t already have.

Living in a place with predictably hot weather all summer long also makes things a bit easier. When I think back to the things I wore over the summer, I unknowingly developed a uniform that included flowy maxi dresses, linen tops, denim shorts, and jeans for the occasional brave day. All of which I’ve either had for years or have added over the last year in a more mindful way.

As I looked at some of the dresses I wore the most this summer, I realized I’ve had some of them for five years.

As for the newer pieces, I also looked at them and remembered that it took time for me to not only find them but it also took time to save up for them; they weren’t just impulse purchases. Curating a mindful closet really is a process, but it all begins somewhere.

For me, even just making the choice to not add and extra t-shirt or tank, for no reason, was the first step.

5 year old knit tank, 3 year old denim and tee, 1 year old linen knit tank.

Preparing For Fall

With summer coming to an end, I’m looking ahead to fall and I know that I haven’t yet developed my uniform for fall/winter so I’ll need to fill some gaps.

For example, black jeans have always been a fall/winter staple for me and the ones I’ve had for the last couple years don’t fit me anymore, so I know I’ll be looking for a pair of those.

Other than that though, I’m really going to take what I’ve learned during this no shopping summer and be super mindful about the pieces I buy. If I know I already have a black v-neck sweater, I’m going to stop myself from adding another one “just in case”.

I’m going to challenge myself to just add one new piece each month, which will also foster a much more mindful approach to my consumption.

If I know that over the next four months I’ll only be adding four new pieces, I’ll put much more thought into what those pieces are and how they’re actually going to serve a purpose in my closet.

My Takeaway From This

As I’ve worked on narrowing down my closet, and now that it’s full of all my “most loved” pieces, wearing things on repeat doesn’t seem like a chore. Being a “outfit repeater” is actually more fun that having a bunch of pieces that I just feel lukewarm about.

The biggest takeaway from all of this for me is that creating a closet that is minimal and suits your lifestyle best really is a process and takes time. I definitely don’t have it all figured out but by having the success of a no shopping summer and challenging myself to only add a certain number of pieces per month.

It does, however, continuously help to retrain my brain and the way I think about shopping and clothes.

Have you ever tried a “no shopping month”? What takeaways did you have from it?

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