Saturday 19 December 2015

Thoughts on buying nothing for a whole year

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I wasn't going to buy any new clothing for the whole of 2015. There were a few reasons for this; I had at one time been inspired by this blog, although I didn't act on it at the time. Secondly, each and every time I have moved house (or country) I have been amazed at how much stuff I have. Even in China, when I barely made enough money to see me through each month, and spent what I did have on travel, I managed to leave there having shipped a box of stuff in the post and abandoned a significant amount in my apartment. I was also thinking about how much money I could save if I wasn't buying unnecessary clothes.

So I've made it, and it's not been nearly as difficult as I had anticipated! I have to confess I have bought one thing this year; an orange dress that I needed to wear for King's day in the Netherlands. 

It struck me the other month, as I was in my local Tesco, that although I have tried my best to avoid being in situations where I might be tempted to buy something, even when I am surrounded by clothes, I can't find a passion to even want to look. As I walked through the rails of clothing, much of which was on sale, it all felt really cheap and uninspiring. I didn't even feel an urge to browse, as none of what I could see looked even vaguely appealing. Is it only when we step away from our almost daily need to buy things, that we see how little we actually need stuff.

I've been spurred on in this challenge by reading this blog. Which although not directly about buying less clothing, does question our fascination with belongings. Whilst I don't think I could ever really be waste free, and I have always been fairly anti-plastic bags anyway (thanks to my Mum), since reading about Lauren's journey I have definitely been far more mindful of my waste. I pick up a lunchtime roll in Sainsburys and forego the flimsy plastic bag (that is going to be used only to carry this roll about 100 metres!) I've started to buy Ecover cleaning products, I've made my own body lotion and toothpaste. I've started using my tea flask much more often to carry water around - someone stole my bobble, but never mind as that was plastic anyway!

Completely zero waste is a massive lifestyle choice and an incredibly difficult thing to achieve. But little by little I am making small changes to consider the waste I am leaving on this planet.

Since I've gone a whole year without buying anything new, some of the things I wear all the time have started to wear out. But by not buying unnecessary things, has helped me to see what I actually need to buy - what do I wear all the time? What things have now got holes in? I realised that I needed to buy a new pair of Winter boots, because the lining of my three year old pair was worn out and I can't wear them without them ripping apart my ankles! I managed to actually not spend money on this, as I had John Lewis vouchers I'd been holding onto all year (thanks Dad!), and I was glad to have them saved for a big, worthwhile purchase.

My converse trainers have no inside around the heels and are starting to show a little hold in the seam... so they will be one of my first purchases in 2016. I have also managed to wear holes in a pair of jeans and two different pairs of leggings. No thigh gap over here! :-/

I will start to buy things again next year, but I know that when I do I'll be a lot more mindful of what I'm spending money on. They'll be things that I am going to wear regularly, that either complement what I already own, or will be things that I don't already own. I will buy the couple of things mentioned here, and I know now, that I will be looking for quality replacements; which I suppose may cost more at the outset but having spent a year spending nothing on clothes, I've realised the benefit of buying things that will stand the test of time and wear. This isn't to say that I'll suddenly be splashing the cash, but just that I now, more than previously, will be considering whether what I buy could last me a year (or more).

The only thing I've bought this year

:: How about you, would you ever try and take on a challenge like this? Are you an avid shopper or do you like to keep your wardrobe minimalist? ::
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  1. That's my girl - you've inspired me to cut back on my charity shopping!!

  2. jajajaja Mum! Well done nuf. We can't buy ourselves to a better world but we can boycott our way to it <3