I’m not a big shopper…well of clothes, shoes, and accessories that is…take me to a bookstore, and I can spend any amount of money you give me :)I’m also conscious about what to buy and minimizing my social and environmental footprint as possible, I don’t buy a lot of things. In 2016, I went into an ethical shopping spree, you can read about it here, I bought clothes and shoes from responsible companies only. In 2017, I was inspired by Sarah Lazarovic to set an intention not to buy any personal items. (You can read my 2017 intentions here.)
Excluded from the no buy items were books, music, and gifts.
The intention was to pause before buying and ask the questions:
1- Do I really need it?
2- Do I already have something similar that I don’t use? (Mostly about clothes)
3- Can I borrow it?
4- If I really need it, can I buy a used one?
If the answer is yes to question 1 and No for 2,3 and 4, then I’ll buy it, this happened once when we decided to go on a safari in Kenya for the summer. I had to buy proper shoes (I just had FiveFingers which wouldn’t work) and safari shirts and pants. I still kept it to a minimum.
What I learned in a year of No Shopping
There are alternatives to buying new.
I got a dress, a ukulele, and a meditation cushion because I asked to borrow!
In Feb of 2017, a dear family member passed away, and the tradition in our family was to wear white during the three days of azza. I don’t have white clothes, half my closet in Nia clothes and the other half are casuals with few dresses. My first impulse was to shop! But I really didn’t want to go and didn’t have time, plus I was just starting my year of no shopping! This was when the pause happened, and I asked those questions!
I called a dear friend and asked her if I can borrow things from her, and she sent me few shirts and a dress. The dress was beautiful and useful that I asked her where she bought it from so I can buy one (it was a good thing to have, and I needed it) She said I could have it, so I don’t have to buy! We both felt great about this exchange that wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t ask in the first place.
The ukulele I got from a friend who was hosting lessons in his house, he gave me an old one to use while I find a used one to buy, he was encouraging and excited about my year of no shopping. When it was time for him to leave Saudi back to the states, he sold me the ukulele in exchange of me practicing 🙂 (Sorry Michael I haven’t been, but I will start again soon…I promise)
The cushion also came from a friend who had one she wasn’t using and was happy to let me have it.
Those items I received have more value to them that if I had bought them new, it created reciprocity and exchange of something far more valuable than money. Asking to borrow is indeed a gift we give each other.
There are more items in the closet than I can remember.
Whenever I had to wear something other than my everyday clothes I found items in my closet that; I forgot it was there, never been worn, or didn’t wear for ages! It can be easier to shop than to look at what is hiding in the closet.
If I love my stuff, wearing them 100 times still feels good.
I don’t get bored from the clothes I wear because I love them and I feel good wearing them. Most of the time I don’t care what people think of what I’m wearing, I’m not a fashionable person so not being trendy doesn’t bother me at all. But I realized that how I embody myself and how I feel is what people notice most of the time, not what I’m wearing.