Somehow, as of March 1st, it has been a full two years since I began my clothes buying ban. Two years without purchasing a single item of clothing, shoes, jewelry, or accessories. When I first embarked on this journey early in 2017, I expected that I would coast into that first year of no purchase on fumes, if I was going to make it at all.

For those who haven’t been following along since the beginning, the impetus for this clothes buying ban was the want to simplify my life and eventually have a very minimal capsule wardrobe. The problem was, I already had a ton of clothing. And since I had regularly purged my closet over the previous few years and had otherwise gotten better at saying no to purchasing new items if they were on “such a good sale” or “good enough,” I didn’t see a quick way to minimize past where I was currently. I felt a bit stuck.

Sustainably Minded Minimalism

I felt stuck because it wasn’t as simple as tossing all my gently worn clothes into trash bags and shipping them off to Goodwill and keeping just the pieces that fit well into a capsule wardrobe, and then buying new things to fill the gaps.

The majority of my clothes were just fine, and I liked them well enough. But I still had an over full closet and dresser. In order to make this switch with my eye on both sustainability and frugality, I knew I would first need to wear out the clothing I already owned before I could in good conscience start fresh with new items.

The average American throws out 81 pounds of clothing and replaces them by spending $1,932 – $2,508 on new ones each year.

That wouldn’t be me.

Instead, I first made a commitment to myself – and then later, more publicly here on the blog – that I would not go this route of spending and waste in pursuit of my dream minimalist wardrobe. I would pay attention and learn to make do with what I already had.

Current closet: still plenty of things to wear
**I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. I will only ever recommend something I really believe in and encourage you to find free or secondhand options whenever possible.**

Making My Clothes Last Longer

When I first began this challenge, I rejoiced in each item of clothing I wore to threads because it meant I was one piece closer to getting to “start over” and really live this minimalist thing. But I found that the longer I sat with this challenge and lived it month to month, the less happy I was when something wore out.

My mindset began to change. I started to treat each item of clothing with value and respect, both of the materials and labor that went into making it, and my hard earned money that disappeared so quickly with each new shirt. Instead of working to wear my clothes out as quickly as possible in order to shrink my wardrobe, I began to work toward protecting my clothes so they wouldn’t wear out so quickly.

So how do you make your clothing last as long as possible? For me, that means taking off my work clothes as soon as I get home in the afternoon and putting on clothing I don’t mind getting more beat up when I’m in the garden, going for a walk, or cleaning up the house.

I make sure to re-wear pants in particular at least a couple of times before the go in the wash. And then I machine dry as few pieces of clothing as possible. In the summer, this is easy because all our clothing gets hung up to dry on clothes lines in the back yard.

Socks and underwear dry particularly quickly, but it’s easy to toss them in the dryer with everything else, so that’s where they used to go. But since I’ve pulled them out of the dryer and let them air dry, they last so much longer. In the winter, though, it means hanging things up in random spots in our bedroom (I’m really overdue for an indoor clothing rack).

When you no longer treat your clothes as disposable, you look at them more carefully and take care of them like they are a limited commodity, something that’s cost precious resources, time, and money to create.

Clothing Ban Inspirations

It’s funny. Outside of the personal finance space, the idea of a clothing ban is a very odd thing. Within the space, though, it is much more common. Through this process, I’ve loved reading about others embarking on similar challenges because it gives me motivation to continue my own.

My friend Erin over at Reaching for FI recently completed a clothing ban as well, and I asked her to share a bit here about what that process looked like for her:

I never meant to do an official clothes buying ban and I would’ve told you two years ago that it was something I could never do. This would’ve been despite the fact that I don’t care about clothes, per se. I love the way fun colors and patterns make me feel, and it’s hard to deny the power of a well-fitting item of clothing as an ego boost. I was constantly buying a few new items of clothing here or there (it’s easy when you’re buying fast fashion and things are max $25 an item), even though I never would’ve said I valued clothes.

But one day I got tired of constantly having to pay off my credit card from clothes purchases and finding room in my increasingly-overfull dresser and closet for the steady stream of new clothes. In many ways I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person, so I just…decided to stop  buying clothes and that was that. Six months later I realized I hadn’t bought clothes for an extended period of time, and decided to make it official on my blog for some accountability. And last November, I hit the year mark. 

I still have way too many clothes. But I’m still working on paring down my wardrobe, and for the first time in a few years, I’ve got quite a bit of extra space in my closet that I don’t need. For years I held onto the business casual wardrobe I acquired after I graduated, despite the fact that my job is way more on the casual side of “business casual.” What if I changed jobs and needed those clothes again?

But the process of reducing my wardrobe combined with a clothes ban has taught me that a) I need to let go of things I haven’t worn in ages, and b) part of letting go is letting myself accept that I’m a different person from the one who bought the clothes. If (God forbid!) I end up in a job where I can’t just wear jeans and a sweater every day in the winter because winter is the worst and staying warm is my primary focus, it’s okay to (strategically and mindfully!) buy some new clothes.

I wouldn’t want to wear a lot of the business casual clothes that I bought years ago because my tastes have changed (slash I weigh more than I did right out of college so lots of things don’t fit correctly anymore), and keeping the old ones just because it was a sunk cost and I already owned them would be wasteful. Paring down my wardrobe also makes it easier to tell when I’m hanging onto things I no longer wear for whatever reason.

Now that the official ban has ended, I’ve bought new clothes (I did make a few, very strategic exceptions to the ban before it ended). And I can’t deny that I do still get a thrill of trying on a new item of clothing—it turns out it’s extremely hard to break the habit of emotional spending, and a year doesn’t magically change who you are.

But I’ve been strategic about my purchases: two dresses that I can wear to events like weddings since that was a gap in my wardrobe (and it’s the time of life where I’ll be going to lots of weddings in the next few years); some basic tees and tanks that are extremely versatile; skirts that can be dressed up or down and are practical (THEY HAVE POCKETS), which means I’ll actually wear them often (a departure from most of the skirts still hanging in my closet).

I’m deliberately spending more money per item of clothing, which absolutely cuts down on mindless spending and wasteful purchases. And now that I’ve bought some pieces to round out my wardrobe, I’ll be going right back to my new default of not buying clothes until the next time I do actually need something.

A Change In Mindset

When I began this clothing ban, I expect it to be just that: a prohibition on buying clothes and related items. What I didn’t expect was how my entire mindset on material purchases and a consumerist culture would change.

While I’ve had no limitation to other physical goods I’ve purchased over the last two years, I’ve seen a significant decrease across the board. Each time I think back to the last physical item I’ve purchased for myself – or even for someone else – I realize it’s been a while.

When you’ve been so focused on making do with and using up what you have in one part of your life, it only makes sense that would spill over into everything else. I now find myself catching myself trying to be creative whenever I do need something (which isn’t often), and will attempt to figure out if I can do without that item or use another one in its place.

Not buying books either these days but waiting for library holds

Reading stories of full year shopping bans like The Year of Less and The Year Without Purchase would have felt like some fringe extreme challenge prior to this clothing ban (though Jen Hatmaker’s 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess still sounds pretty dang tough). Now, I see that it would be a challenge, but a surmountable one. While I may not meld this into a full year long shopping ban, I’m not sure that I have to.

Reading the memoirs of those who have completed a more strict shopping ban for a full year make me realize that many of the thought processes I have before purchasing almost anything these days line up well with what they discovered over those years. It isn’t the stuff in our lives that are important, but the people and the time we spend with them.

And, of course, there’s the environmental side as well. Though I’ve always been aware of my impact on the planet, it is too easy to compartmentalize and purchase things that aren’t important but are there to make our lives “easier.” Oftentimes, they don’t actually make things easier, but it feels like it at the time of purchase.

Now that I’m so constantly aware of what makes its way into my home, I can’t ignore the disposable or unneeded items that land in my cart that have nothing to do with clothing. We all live in a world that is increasingly overwhelmed with stuff – my own county is now struggling with what to do when we run out of space in our last remaining landfill – and while recycling and reusing is great, not buying in the first place is best.

A better use of our natural spaces

The Emotions And Boredom That End With Buying

And then there’s realizing how much of why we buy more stuff is conditioned subconsciously our whole lives.

Bored? Go shopping.

Upset with a friend or spouse? Find something new to brighten your day.

Excited about a promotion at work? You deserve it.

While I’ve never considered myself an overly emotional shopper, I definitely found myself time and time again looking to something new to fill the space of whatever I was feeling at the time – or if I wasn’t feeling much at all.

After putting my son in preschool and finding myself with a small space of time after work before needing to pick him up, I found myself at Ross, at Fred Meyer, at Goodwill. Most of the time quietly browsing, enjoying me time. But then I ended up with even more stuff that overwhelmed me even more. My goal of a more minimalist household was even farther away.

After beginning my clothing ban two years ago, I found I had to change that ritual of me time once a week. Instead of finding myself in a clothing or department store, I found myself outside for a run or at the gym for a short work out. Just like I had to learn when I cut out my take out work lunches, the routine was more about the space and time to myself than it was about finding a new thing to bring back home. By flipping that on its head, I found a new way to spend my time that was healthier, free, and didn’t involve bringing more items into my already full home.

img_3784
Running > shopping

Britt over at Tiny Ambitions is another blogger who has done her own version of a year long shopping ban, and I asked her to share a bit more about that experience here. Unsurprisingly, I found that much of what we discovered about ourselves through these bans to be similar. While our words our different, we’ve certainly come to some of the same conclusions.

What I learned most from my shopping ban was how emotional most of my purchases were. My shopping urges often surfaced when I was frustrated, overwhelmed or bored. On the other hand, my shopping ban also showed me that I love unique, one-of-a-kind things that others overlook.

I also learned how little I actually need during the course of a year. Consumable products last much longer than we think and items prone to wear and tear are easily fixed to prolong their lifespan.

My shopping ban wasn’t about never shopping again or forsaking all ‘stuff’. It was about figuring out how to consume in a more healthy, sustainable way.

The Privilege Of A Clothing Ban

And then, of course, there is the privilege that comes with a clothes buying or any kind of extended shopping ban. I wrote about this more in depth at the one year mark, but it warrants a note here as well.

This clothes buying ban I’ve embarked on has only been possible as a positive addition to my life because we are in a situation where I absolutely could have continued to spend money on clothing. We are financially stable. Had I wanted to give away my whole wardrobe and start from scratch with a minimalist wardrobe from day one, I could have done that.

While we certainly don’t have salaries that would be considered “high income” for our area, we make plenty decent money and we have low fixed expenses, especially beyond the mortgage and childcare. All these things combined mean that this pursuit of eventual minimalism through a clothing ban is possible.

It means that I already owned quite a few quality pieces that have held up well over time. It means that while I have accepted some hand me downs over the past two years, I’ve been able to be extremely choosy about what new clothing comes into my home. It means at the point I choose to finally close the chapter on this clothing ban, I have the money to go out and buy new clothing.

I’m still passing items along (and not accepting all good quality hand me downs) because I can afford to replace things

I will never say that “anyone” can do this, because it’s simply not true. I had the bandwidth to tackle this challenge because I have space in my life beyond worrying about how to take care of the basics. I wasn’t worrying about having my only pairs of work pants wearing out because I already had more than enough.

This also doesn’t mean I’m not proud of these two years, and that it hasn’t been hard from time to time, because it absolutely has. Just the other day I had such an urge to buy a cute cheap top at the store just because it was there and I wanted something “new.” But I reside in a place that made this challenge possible, and it’s important to remember that. But I’m still dang impressed with myself for checking off that two year mark of a complete clothes buying ban.

Moving Out Of The Ban

Overall, this ban has been such a positive experience for me. I simply think about clothes less because the items in my closet don’t change. Dressing for work – and for the weekends – is easy because everything I still own is something I like and looks good on me. The brain space that used to think about outfits and getting dressed can now be used for other things.

And when I’m somewhere that does sell clothing, it is so easy not to buy anything because my ban has made it a clear line. I don’t have to think about saying no, because that’s already the answer. And so I’ve created more space in my life – space that used to be used to shop (and usually pretty mindlessly).

Eventually, though, I’m going to need to break this ban, at least to buy underwear and bras again. And a new pair of boots (though not soon). While I’m not certain exactly how this will go, I love this idea of limiting the number of clothing items in a given year. It feels very similar to my current ban, because once those items have been purchased, the ban is back in place until the next year.

Still plenty capable of looking professional and not like I don’t buy clothes

I expect I will eventually go this direction, but perhaps with an added layer of first attempting to purchase any items second hand, or even better, free via a clothing swap. Of course, there are certain things like undergarments that even I wouldn’t buy used, so this won’t be an absolute. Hence a total count for a year. We shall see. I’ll let you know when I get there.

In reading and readying myself for an eventual break of this clothes buying ban, I paid attention to others who had previously completed a clothing ban, because I wanted to know what the “after” really looked like. Jillian at Montana Money Adventures was another such person, and I asked her to reflect on her two year ban:

It’s been two years since I finished a two year clothes shopping ban. I had a hard and fast and rule during the ban of no clothes because I really wanted to focus on being creative and figuring out how to use what I had. When my last pair of jean tore a few months before the ban was over, I opted to wear leggings under them.

In the two years since, the shift in how I few buying clothes has changed. I only keep the clothes I’m actually wearing. I know what I have and what I need. I have gotten in the habit of paying attention to the spots my wardrobe is thin and where I have plenty. For example I own 5 pairs of boots that I bought 7 years ago. They are in great shape and so I never look at new boots. I only have one pair of leather sandals, and the sole has been ripped apart for a while now. It’s on my list of things to buy if I happen to come across a style, price and fit I like.

In my 20’s I would wander through clothing stores, just searching. Searching for something to catch my eye or “refresh” my wardrobe. Now I know what I need. When I find it, I feel good about buying it. I know it’s been a need for a while. The old game of, “Hum, do I like this? Should I get this? Do I need this?” is over. I know how much I need. Right now I have one plain tee shirt, and I often find myself wishing I had two or three. As soon as I find a great tee, I’ll buy two.

The biggest benefit two years out is that my wardrobe is simple and perfect. Everything fits. I like everything that’s in there. I wear it all. I know what I have and what I need. Everything feels comfortable and like myself. I don’t have that yearning for my clothes to change anything about my life. My life is really nice, and I can just get dressed in the morning.

Some Day Capsule Wardrobe

Reading Jillian’s thoughts make me realize where I hope to be in the future. While I may never have the ultimate, Instagram-worthy capsule wardrobe, my closet will be yet smaller than it is now, but everything will fit, and everything will look good on me. And at the point something needs replacing, I’ll do that. But never again will my wardrobe get out of control and end up with too many cute, cheap, someday clothes that never get worn.

img_3620
One of my favorite shirts (and a necklace made from a friend back in college)

Clothing is a mostly mindless part of my life now, but mindless in a good way. Instead of browsing sale racks for another cardigan I don’t need, I’m finding ways to stretch the life out of the ones I do have so I don’t have to think about replacing them. They may eventually wear away beyond repair, but I value each piece as it rotates through my closet in a way I never have before.

Have you ever done a clothing or shopping ban before? Is it something you would consider for the future?

52 thoughts on “In The Pursuit Of Minimalism: Lessons From A Two Year Clothing Ban

  1. Thank you for sharing your journey and insights. I’m 2 months and 18 says into my clothing / shoes / books / makeup shopping ban for 2019. You are one of the inspirations for me jumping on the ban-wagon. So far it’s been pretty easy. I know I have everything I need right now and I can easily make it through the year.
    In January, I was walking through an outdoor shopping mall on the way to meet a girlfriend for coffee. Noticing all the SALE signs in the windows made my heart race. That was an interesting observation. There’s that game we play with ourselves when we don’t need something, but it’s fun to shop. And see if we can find something cute – score something on sale.
    But I kept on walking and the feeling passed quickly.

    February was easy. My son got married on the 24th. I wore the same dress that I love so much and wore for the weddings of my 3 daughters. I enjoyed having the opportunity to where it again. Plus, I felt so liberated (!) about not having to go out shopping to find something new to wear when I went out for dinner with family that was visiting from out of town. Such a time, energy and anxiety saver.

    Spring and summer should be pretty easy. Last year, before I even thought about doing a spending ban, I bought some new cotton tees. So really, I should be set. The only thing I might “need” is a new pair of running shoes. But since I’m a walker, not a runner, they should last me the year.

    Thank you for your blog and for being such an awesome role model.

    1. This is a wonderful start, I love it!! And how special to wear the same dress at all of their weddings – I actually love this regardless of a shopping ban ❤️

      Re: running shoes. I’ve gotten quite a bit of feedback about this over the last two years, and I’ve moved running shoes into the fitness category instead of clothing, since quality workout shoes are really a health tool rather than simply a piece of clothing.

  2. Upset with a friend or spouse? Find something new to brighten your day.

    I’ll admit there was a time in my life when I did this, way too much. For the past few years though, I’ve been killing it without even trying an official ban. Besides a few of my own t-shirts for promotion at FINCON in 2018 I bought one item of clothing. A pair of gloves for ice climbing. My old ones had too many duct taped holes. They were almost more duct tape than glove. This year I’m off to a great start and so far haven’t bought any clothes.

    1. Amazing how shopping becomes the default for so many things. Well done on your non official ban!!

  3. i just had to bite the bullet and buy some pants. ever since levi’s screwed up and made the pockets of their jeans too short i’ve been wearing 3 pairs of hurley pants in heavy rotation for work. one of the three ripped out last week so i bought two more pairs. i didn’t need two pairs but the problem is they no longer are making the model i like. i always wear ’em two days and rotate so a pair lasts about 3 years of about 220 work days a year.

    1. Yeah that sounds more like how my husband wears out his clothes. Except his definitely only last one day til they need washing lol

  4. I’m actually in the market for a few more pieces of clothing, so I guess I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum. But I’m only looking in thrift stores, which a) slows down my consumption and b) means I’m not perpetuating fast fashion. So that’s something.

    My main bit of curiosity is workout shoes because I know you exercise. How do you deal with those because there’s no way your athletic shoes lasted 2 years without ruining your knees. I’ve never had workout shoes last more than a year — and that was by alternating between two pairs — so were they the exception or did you find some magical brand that just never wears out?

    1. Dang it, I included that in a previous update but apparently should have mentioned it again here since it’s a hot topic! 1) I had a pretty darn new pair going in to the challenge 2) I have older shoes for non running (or to travel with and just run in slightly older ones for the week or two I’m gone) 3) my mom bought me a pair this past Christmas and – most importantly – 4) I got convinced by a whole bunch of people online to put them under “health” instead of “clothing” since that’s really what they are. But still haven’t bought a pair thanks to 1-3 🙂

  5. I’m so proud of you for sticking with the ban for so long! Always inspiring me! 🙂 I’ve actually done an accidental no-shopping 2019 so far but I’m struggling to get to the end of March. So this weekend I decided I will definitely finish out March before making any purchases just to prove I can do it (looks tiny compared to 2 years but gotta start somewhere, right?). First steps: Getting lots of things cleaned/repaired/etc so they stay in good shape…

    1. Thank you!! And I seriously struggled the first 3-6 months. I’d not call myself a huge shopper by any means, that that habit is a strong one that gets ingrained in us young.

  6. Wow 2 years is certainly a long time. I’m glad you had such a positive experience coming out of it. Many people just end up realizing capsule wardrobe isn’t for them 🙂 We rely so much on retail therapy. It’s really bad. Over the years I’ve found that as long as I can keep myself busy with something free (like walking or a good Netflix show), I don’t need to go to the store to let out my emotions.

    1. It is such a part of our society at this point it is HARD to break – but yes the alternative activities help a ton 🙂

  7. That’s such a cool thing you’ve done. I’d like to try something similar because we have a problem both on the “stuff in” front as well as the “stuff going out” front. For a while I was trying to get rid of two things for each one that came in to our lives, but the system never stuck. Too many goals, I think…I need to learn to focus on one at a time.

    I also love how you look at the process from so many angles. I wish my writing was that thoughtful!

    1. Congrats, Angela, this is very inspiring! I’m taking smaller steps to reduce my shopping- only buying when something is worn out, and used whenever possible. Maybe a full fledged ban will be in order sooner rather than later though. I’m tired of hauling boxes out when it’s time to switch seasonal clothing.

      1. And passing on clothes to younger kiddos as well! I could almost do a clothing ban for my son now as well 🙂

    2. Yeah, it seems like with small children especially that in order to actually make a dent you need to send out 5-10 things for every one in just to hold steady 😂

      Thanks for the kind words, friend.

  8. Although I have never experienced an official clothing ban, I too have reached a place in life that I don’t focus on buying anything new until I see the need to replace something. I tend to spend a bit more to purchase high quality made clothing that last a long time. More importantly, that I enjoy wearing. For me, less is more in that sense. It does make us aware of a lot of things once we decide to spend consciously and reduce consuming, especially for no valuable reason. Congratulations on what you accomplished with this experience!

    1. I think the previous few years of focusing on higher quality items I really loved was what set me up to continue this ban so successfully 🙂

  9. So proud of you for sticking with the clothing ban for that long. We can easily look at our closet of clothes and say I need more because I’m tired of wearing this or that or simply you want to buy more clothes. I’m glad that you’re able to fight the urge not to buy new clothes because you knew that you had a good set of them and figured that it was more of a want than a need.
    I don’t have a shopping ban per se but have bought less clothes over years compared to when I was younger. I know that my set of clothes is good enough and don’t need anything new for the foreseeable future

    1. Yeah, it was definitely a process to start the ban that began with buying less and being really selective of what came into my house in the first place.

  10. I don’t even know where to start – this post is so awesome! I love that you included a section on privilege. It’s a topic that certainly doesn’t get enough play in minimalism and something even I hadn’t considered when I did my shopping ban. Maybe I had an easier time with the ban because I started with ”quality” pieces to begin with. I also had the space to do a ban because I don’t have the worry about meeting my basic needs on a daily basis.

    Congrats on your two year ban! I’m going to have to read more about the x number of items per year challenge. It seems like a logical extension after a shopping ban and a nice way to transition back into consumption.

    1. Privilege definitely plays a big part in being able to pursue minimalism at all (and the same goes for the way we view frugality – it’s a choice for many of us). And yes, having barriers in place once I start buying again will be a good way to keep things in check I think.

  11. You are so dang inspiring. When I was still in my debt payoff phase I stopped spending money on clothes. Now that I’m out and working towards financial independence I still don’t spend a lot of money on clothes. However, I haven’t implemented the shopping ban.

    Perhaps I’ll consider it. I like the valuable lessons you and the other ladies have learned from doing such a thing.

    “It isn’t the stuff in our lives that are important, but the people and the time we spend with them.” – golden nugget right there

    1. Thank you! ❤️ And to be honest, doing a shorter one of perhaps six months would be very telling without the super long term commitment.

  12. Back in 2013, I decided to be more intentionally with my clothing, and only buying a few new things each season. Since then, I really only buy a new thing here and there and decided to regularly start purging. I gave away half of my wardrobe last year and I’ve still given away a lot more.I feel like my clothes are secretly multiplying when I’m not looking or something, hahahaha.

    1. That’s how I feel about the stuff in our home generally – I’m not sure how we still have so much clutter.

    1. It has definitely been the case for me! I can’t see a downside of giving it a go 😉

  13. I would like to do this, although it is pretty tough for me to find shirts secondhand. Maybe I can at least try to make the ones I have last longer. Very interesting stuff either way!

  14. For the past two years, I’ve been serious about saving money and reducing my household expenses, which of course, included clothing 🙂 I found that to truly reduce my expenses, I needed a change in perspective. For me, it was to stop treating clothing as “disposable.” I realized that I was really throwing away money and I was too, tired of having to pay my credit card bills. Once I started treating my clothes with respect and care, I developed a “love” for my pieces (if that makes any sense!). Thank you for sharing your experience, it’s inspirational to my financial freedom journey!

    1. Thank you! And I completely agree on the change of perspective- probably the most powerful part of a long term ban because you’re less likely to go back to old mindless habits after that 🙂

  15. Such a great job, congrats! 2 years is really great, I’m curious how long I will hold. You inspired me to also start with an official clothing ban.

    Accidentally I already did this from August on, without noticing. I needed new pants for work, bought 3 pairs in 20 minutes and that was it. Good thing I don’t have any free time to go to the city-center to shop! Since August I haven’t bought any clothes.

    The feeling that you’re just roaming around the store to find something to ‘renew’ your wardrobe was also something I experienced when I was in my late teens, luckily that totally changed a few years ago.

    Thinking about going for the accountability and making it blog-official that I’m going to have an official clothing ban!

    1. Do it!! Blogging is so good for the accountability factor. And that store roaming thing was definitely something I had to break.

  16. I love this! I haven’t bought myself clothes in about a year now! (I did have to buy a bridesmaid dress for a wedding I’m in next month).
    I realized how much I was spending on it – because I used to go shopping when I was bored at TJ Maxx or Goodwill. And even though it was at cheap places, I would buy stuff I didn’t really need because it was cheap!!

    1. Well done!! And I was definitely apt to buy most of my clothing at those places as well.

  17. I’ve never done a real clothing ban but that’s because nothing ever fits me and I never learned to enjoy shopping. The trying on of things that don’t fit, the money flowing out, blah blah, no fun at all!

    The skill I need is the opposite one: learning how to pick really high quality and spotting a great fit when I do truly need clothes. I hate the wastefulness of buying something that only almost fits and then having it take up space and never getting used but I do keep making that mistake.

    1. It took me a lot of years to adjust my shopping tendencies, and a ban just seemed like the next logical step at this point.

  18. I feel so seen. My clothing ban was mainly to save for post college and hone in on my personal style but it revealled so much. I too discovered I had been using shopping to eat up time when I was bored. It’s crazy how habits you don’t even think about can make a dent in your bank account.

    1. Right?? Absolutely nothing wrong with spending money if done intentionally. Mindlessly is a whole other deal.

  19. I’ve been doing a “used only” rule (for environmental reasons) and when I assessed my budget at the start of the year, I cut my $80/month clothing budget down to $15/month to cover underwear, etc. So far I bought a used fanny pack and a pair of resale Converse to wear with dresses in the summer (total for both $45).

    I’m also in the process of decluttering and selling whatever I can. One of my challenges is to get rid of everything I have to pass off while making as much $$ as I can, with a goal for $84/month. And that all goes into my brokerage account.

    I am so impressed that you’ve done this goal for so long and I appreciate the points about privilege. It always costs more to not have money because you’re buying cheaper and replacing more often. It shouldn’t be that way but it is.

    1. I definitely see myself going the used only route in the future! Except for the eventually underwear replacement 😉

      1. Oh yeah, I’m definitely not buying used underwear and bras ever. The rest can be used (though I’m judicious about shoes; sometimes those have to be new for foot/alignment wellness).

  20. Hi Angela,

    Love the article. I heard you on ChooseFI and had to come check out your blog.

    One thing that has made air drying clothes SO MUCH BETTER for me is purchasing an airer. I struggled with the foldable laundry rack systems because they take up floor space and… our puppy attacks hanging clothes… and Im bad for leaving it out.

    This airer system lets you hang clothing from your ceiling, so even the tiniest laundry spaces can have a permanent clothing rack. My only regret is not buying a bigger one 🙂

    http://www.pulleymaid.com/classic_clothes_airer.htm

    1. Oooh! Thanks for the link! I will definitely be pondering this one to see if I can find a spot for this in our house 🤔

Leave a Reply