As many of you know, I recently accepted a challenge from a reader to not shop for a month. I committed to go the entire month of May without buying any new clothing, shoes, or accessories.
At first, it was really easy for me to refrain from shopping. In fact, I started to feel like it would be “a piece of cake” for me to breeze through the challenge and I even considered the possibility of extending my shopping hiatus.
Then, It Happened…
Then, it happened… I learned about the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Nordstrom’s sales, here’s the bottom line. They only have sales three times per year – two half-yearly sales in May and November, and the “Grand Poohbah” of sales, their Anniversary Sale in July. I can’t remember the last time I haven’t shopped at one of these sales. After all, Nordstrom is my favorite store, I love shopping there, and I’m a “regular.” Many of the salespeople know my name and greet me warmly when I arrive. I feel “at home” there, like I’m in my element.
I Can’t Get it Out of My Mind!
Interestingly, I pretty much forgot about the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale this time around. I was humming along, writing this blog and doing Project 333, and focused on other things besides my old standby pastime of shopping. But ever since I was reminded of the sale the other day, I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. I’ve perused the Nordstrom website several times and bookmarked a number of items I’d like to buy. I didn’t add anything to my online shopping cart, but this was difficult for me, as I saw that some of the jackets and shoes I’d recently considered buying had been marked down considerably.
So far, I’ve successfully resisted the urge to buy, but I feel like I’m “white knuckling” it at this point. I discussed this matter with my husband yesterday and he said, “Better to buy things at full price than to buy things on sale that you don’t really need.” I know he’s right, and the full price for many of the items I want isn’t all that high anyway. Still the allure of a sale has a tendency to take hold of me such that I lose all sense of reason. I love the idea of getting a “deal,” as well as the possibility of being able to buy more with my money.
Fear of “Missing Out”
Old habits die hard… I’m afraid of “missing out.” I worry that if I wait until June to buy something at Nordstrom, the pieces I want most will be gone. The nature of my worry is far out of balance with reality. Not being able to add another jacket or pair of shoes to fifty or so that I already have is definitely not a tragedy of epic proportions. I know this, yet I still crave the items in question. I know my life won’t end if I don’t partake in the Nordstrom sale, yet I still worry about missing out. It doesn’t make any real sense, but that’s how I feel.
Striving for a Happy Medium…
I’ve learned so much about myself since starting this blog and particularly since beginning Project 333. I learned that I don’t need a closet full of clothes to dress well and look good. In fact, I feel more comfortable dressing with less, as I’m not overwhelmed by clutter, chaos, and too many choices.
I believe there is a happy medium between my pre-Project 333 packed closet and the minimalist state of having only 33 garments to choose from. In all honesty, I feel my “wardrobe sweet spot” is closer to 33 than to the almost 300 garments I started the year with.
Staying True to My Word
I am committed to honoring my promise not to buy anything new during May. That is my bottom line. How will I stay true to my word? Well, I gave myself a bit of a pep talk the other day. I reminded myself of the following:
- I’m doing Project 333 until the end of June, so I won’t be able to wear any new clothes I buy until July anyway.
- I have a lot of clothes, shoes, and accessories already and I don’t urgently (or even non-urgently) need anything new at this point.
- I am committed to my promise not to shop during May.
- I am committed to my goal of having a streamlined wardrobe filled only with items I love and wear regularly.
- I want to buy more ethically and sustainability made clothing.
- I am willing to pay more money for quality items that are produced ethically, suit my lifestyle needs, and are at least an “8” on a scale of 1-10. I don’t need to buy items on sale!
- I can shop again in June, which is less than a week away at this point. Not long to wait at all!
A Different Perspective
Reminding myself of these things has helped to calm me down. I was able to look at the Nordstrom website from a different perspective and far fewer items caught my eye. Those that did have been placed in my “shopping folder” (I dragged the links to that folder for “safe keeping”).
I’ve decided not to look at the Nordstrom website again until the beginning of June. Before I look at the site, I’ll take a moment to jot down any items I can recall that I still want. Then I will see if these items are still available. If so, I will evaluate their suitability for my wardrobe and lifestyle. I will allow myself to buy one or two items that meet those criteria. If nothing fits the bill or what I want is no longer available, I will be at peace with that reality and trust that there will soon be other opportunities to buy.
We Are More Than Our Clothes
There is so much more to me than what I look like and what I wear. I am a multi-dimensional human being, but I have been living my life as if shopping and having a huge wardrobe are of paramount importance. They’re not… The tagline for this blog epitomizes what I want to create for myself and what I wish for all of you – a full life. Right now, I have a full closet and a relatively small life. I don’t feel fulfilled and I’m not nearly as happy as I could be.
All of the “great deals” and “fab finds” I’ve purchased haven’t made me love myself or my life any more. How could they? Nice clothes are just that – nice; they don’t fill our souls.
The End Game – A Full Life!
At this point, I really don’t know what will fill my soul and lead me to feel happier and more fulfilled. I only know that shopping won’t do it and it never has. Oh, and I know one more thing. I will continue writing, searching, and striving until I find out what will make me happy. I fully intend to “trade my full closet for a full life.”