Hello to many new faces who may have found me via my friend Julia! This is my third monthly update in my attempt to curb consumption and buy responsibly in 2019. You can find more about why here as well as my January update here and my February update here.
Chris will probably find quite a bit of satisfaction in this reflection but I have to give it to him – I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m really good at making rules that only I know to how to bend to my advantage (without technically breaking them).
March and April blurred into one with a busy few weeks at work (and now it’s May?!) so I’m combining those updates into one. I really struggled this Spring. I didn’t fail in terms of my rules as I sold six shirts, two dresses, two bags, two pairs of pants, a pair of shoes, two pairs of sunglasses and a blazer as well as a bunch of skincare. I also donated/gave away/threw away another two pairs of shoes, two shirts, three pairs of pants and a pair of pajamas. I literally cannot stop selling things.
I also can’t, however, stop replacing them. Hmm. If you’ve been following along since the beginning, you might identify this behavior as familiar (spoiler alert: this compulsion for finding the “perfect” item is a big reason I started #noshop19 in the first place).
While it’s disappointing to see this behavior resurfacing after what I’d consider a strong start to the project, I have learned a tremendous amount about my self in the process that’s made my relative failure worth it.
- I recognized the behavior immediately. I replaced a few things in January + February, but they were genuine “replacements” that I needed and I did controlled, intentional research before I purchased. This time, I sold sold sold and then shopped shopped shopped – browsing, ordering, returning, deciding I liked something and then that I hated it three weeks later and started the process all over again.
- I know why I’m doing it. The one big difference between Jan/Feb and March/April was a significant upswing in stress. My uncle passed away really unexpectedly, and I flew out to Utah for the funeral with Nell. The emotional stress of losing a family member coupled with the physical stress of flying alone with a baby really took their toll. We tried to make the most of our pre-planned vacation the week after when we met C in Florida, but I was stressed about getting behind at work and it took us a bit to settled in to a new routine on vacation with a toddler. I definitely tried to make myself feel better by “filling in the gaps” I had created in my wardrobe by cleaning out but I got a bit carried away. I can tell you that buying things will not make you feel better when you are sad or stressed. The power of consumption is always temporary. I look forward to reminding myself of this the next time I’m emotionally driven to shop online.
- Technically I didn’t break any rules. I didn’t buy any more than I have gotten rid of, the majority of it was purchased second-hand (a lot with Poshmark credits) and 99% of the items purchased are high-quality items I see in my wardrobe for years.
- Even four months in to this project, I feel SO much more confident about my personal style. I now know that I prefer:
o To invest on unique tops that make me feel polished but comfortable
o To limit the number of jeans/pants I buy as I tend to stick the few that fit best
o A wardrobe of neutral colors (white/cream/black/blue/grey/tan) that I can easily mix and match
o A well-curated and simple accessory collection that I can wear every day
o Well-made flats and sneakers – the extra expense is worth it to me
o To keep transition from only browns to more blacks in my wardrobe, allowing more of my closet to do double-duty at work and at home
o To think twice about adding more blazers to my wardrobe, I may love them but I hardly wear them
o The way I felt in January and Feb! Buying again made me feel even more stressed and started to confuse the confidence I’d been feeling about the wardrobe I’d already built.
- The good news is I believe learning is iterative. The best part of blogging about this is the opportunity to live, stop, reflect, and improve.
- I recognized the behavior while it was happening but didn’t try very hard to stop myself. It wasn’t until the boxes of returns starting piling up that I realized I’d gone right back to my old behavior.
- My rules were not made to be bent. I’m not doing myself or my planet any favors by pushing more donations and clothing into the marketplace and buying more stuff. This project is about more than myself and I need to remain cognizant of why I set out on this experiment.
- I’m really coming around to accepting that I need to take on less. I simply don’t have the headspace to manage all that I commit to – being a great mom and wife to my family as we learn our way into parenthood, a demanding job where I’m not willing to sacrifice performance or put my own responsibility on my team, a home to keep tidy and welcoming, and my health that requires a little extra TLC than the average woman. None of these are negotiable. I’m hard to pressed to keep all of this afloat yet I add on Instagram, occasional blogging, #noshop19, super restrictive eating plans…of COURSE I don’t feel like I’m doing anything well.
The mantra of this challenge was buying less, appreciating more, and doing my part to help reduce consumption and buck the trend of the fashion industry’s unsustainable pace. I have decided to give myself grace and acknowledge that despite these bumpy challenges, I am still succeeding at absolutely every part of this mantra. My progress may not be perfect but it’s moving me in the right direction and only motivating me to keep getting better.
So what now? I’m going to keep going. May has been purchase-free aside from a few makeup items I bought on a work field trip and I’m taking the month to re-center and focus on my family, my job, and my health. I know if I do that (like really do that), the distraction of consumption won’t be hard to ignore.
I’d love to know if anyone is still chugging along with me! Let me know if you have any questions – I will get right back to you in the comments, it’s much easier for me to respond there vs. DM’s. Thanks again for your support!