Why I’m not shopping this year

Authored by Alex Blackwood, digital editor at dish.

On the third day of 2021, having already gone the entire year (so far) without purchasing any new clothing, I decided to keep it that way: I am attempting to go the whole year without purchasing so much as a slip dress.

I made this decision after realising I am legitimately addicted to online shopping. All through last year, I kept a TradeMe tab open and obsessively trawled the hand-knitted, cable-knit and silk sections looking for vintage gems. I keep a ‘want’ file on Instagram and when I was feeling the need I’d dip in and drop a week’s rent on local, sustainable designer threads, only to then drop the same amount at less socially and environmentally reputable chain stores.

Sustainable clothing is fantastic, and so is supporting local. If you need more clothes, that is. Otherwise, it pays to remember that the most sustainable outfit is the one you already own. I find myself saying that a lot, but in reality, ignoring ads perfectly curated to your interests and breaking the habit of shopping online when you’ve had a rough day (or even just when you’re bored) is hard. And for years now, there’s been nary a week where a parcel hasn’t greeted me at the front porch.

So I’m going cold turkey on not just online clothes shopping, but clothes shopping in general. I have set rules: socks and undies don’t count (I can already feel the pull of Videris lingerie as my first within-the-rules treat). And if I go op shopping with friends, I am allowed to purchase just one garment per shop so that I avoid being a party pooper.

So far, I’ve found myself trawling online shops once or twice and had to snap out of it and do something else instead. I’ve been sucked in by a couple of gorgeous made-for-me dresses on Instagram, and then thought, no, no, we’re not doing that anymore, and not made it to the check out. I’ve (sadly) turned down a lunch-break shopping trip to avoid temptation. In a month or two I might be able to tag along, but for now I’m flexing my willpower.

My bank account is plumper, I have slightly more time to read, draw and be present for my cherished down time. And one unexpected benefit is the mental space not worrying about where that package is, or where to find a spot in my wardrobe. It was something that I genuinely believed I enjoyed, but only a month in, it’s actually one less thing to worry about.

I’ll let you know how I go.

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