In With the New - Wait, Nothing New This Year?!

By Liz Klemt*

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Blogs are often about encouraging you to DO something such as up-cycling, DIY projects, exercising, healthy eating, etc. But this is going to be about NOT doing something.

I decided in November 2014 that I wasn’t going shop for an entire year.  When I first say this, people are like, “How will you eat?” Let me be more specific.

No shopping for clothing, shoes or accessories, new or used, for an entire year. Pretty black and white, right?

When I came up with this idea, I had just conquered the madness of Black Friday (aka Thanksgiving evening, the heathens!).  I was happy with my haul that I carried gleefully out from the Denver, CO outlets at 1 AM. I normally suffer a bit of buyer’s remorse and turn to my mother to justify these purchases and prove to her (myself) that these are items I NEED. She normally responds with a “Hmmm, yes” and “Wow, that is a good deal” and “That definitely makes sense” and a subtle “Sounds like you won’t be needing anything for awhile!” But being 1 AM - aka 3 AM on the East Coast where my mom slept - I had to stew about these purchases and wonder if I alone could justify them.

I got home, left my shopping in my bags, and headed to bed. The next evening, I decided to put my new purchases away only to find there wasn’t much room in my drawers or closet - or the hallway coat closet for that matter. I wondered to myself, How did this happen?! Then I called my mother, of course, to justify my purchases. After I rattled off everything I bought and the sales and how much I saved, I asked the careful question: “Do you think I have too many clothes?” My mom responded with a loving, “Well, your wardrobe has definitely grown this year….” #ouch #calledout

I got my first big girl job this year and decided I needed clothes I could wear to work and casually. No more Soffe shorts. However, this reasoning gave way to holding up comfy nightgowns from Target and telling my roommate “it’s long enough for work.”

Growing up in a small college town, there wasn’t much to choose from when it came to shopping. Hmm, Kohl’s or Old Navy or Rue 21?! American Eagle only when I could convince my mom and when it was on sale. We didn’t even have a Target until my sophomore year of high school.

Fast forward to Denver and I’m surrounded by stores that I could have only dreamed would grace my hometown: Ann Taylor Loft, H&M, Gap, J Crew Factory, Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack. Cue emoji with heart-shaped eyes.

This brings us back to me trying to fit all my new clothes into my limited storage in my Denver apartment. As I tried to stuff more tops in my drawer, I thought: Why did I buy all this stuff?! I don’t need this. I shouldn’t go shopping for awhile for sure.

Then I started to think, how would I define “awhile”? A week? A month? Maybe a year?

As the extremely determined person I am, I immediately knew I wanted to do a full year. Bring it, I thought, envisioning myself surging past sale signs and clearance racks.

I told my friends, co-workers, and people at church of my decision. Some stared in disbelief; others bargained with “Why not start with just 3 months?”  A few jumped on board, telling me to swim against what our culture tells us to do everyday: That if we buy and consume, then we will be happy; we can fill the void with a swipe of our credit card.

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So now to begin the adventure of not doing something. Only 355 more days, guys!

*Liz is currently a social worker in Denver, CO. She graduated from James Madison University in 2013. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @Y0LK_.

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