Wednesday, January 9, 2013

No Clothes Shopping, Week Two

Why would it matter to the world, or universe at large, that I’m not buying any new clothes for an entire year?

Well, truth is, it doesn’t. And I know that. I also know it’s a big goal, which is why I am taking it in increments – two months at a time.

Will it affect the economy? Heavens no, I bought most of my clothes at resale shops or during 75% OFF THE ALREADY REDUCED PRICE kind of sales. So it won’t really even save me money, to be honest.

It is just something I want, or need, to do.

As I stated in previous blog on this subject, when I tried it from Thanksgiving until Christmas, I discovered a few things about myself. Okay, well, that happens a lot, I’m always discovering things about myself, its part of being alive. But this discovery wasn’t exactly a feel-good, I’ve-learned-a-life-lesson-I-can-apply kind of thing. It was more like an Ugh, recreational shopping! I am doing it, too!!! type of discovery.

Because I don’t want to shop for recreation…I’m deeper than that, or at least I want to be. And truthfully, I should be able to easily go a year without buying clothes. Hell, I could probably go a year without doing laundry. I have things in my closet with tags still attached…and yet I was always acquiring more.

And the kicker? I was creating a junior clothes-horse in the process.

My son is eight, and he has 8 pairs of shoes. His dresser drawers will not shut. His closet looks like three children live in our house rather than just one. And you know what he bought with his Christmas money? Clothes, even though Santa brought him quite a few new outfits.

What 8-year-old on earth puts clothes at top of list of things they want to buy with their own money? Mine. And where did he learn this? The same way children learn 90% of the habits, routines, and non-personality based actions they adopt and carry into adulthood – by watching the person closest to him.


And while I have to admit, a big part of me is delighted that he loves fashion. I love that at an early age, he takes care with his appearance and likes new clothes. But I don’t want to teach him to shop as a hobby. There’s a false lesson in that I don’t ever want my child to learn.

Shopping + Acquiring = Happiness….right?


And too many people learn that lesson the hard way.

So, I decided to include him in the no-clothes-shopping year, but in an adapted way. His new clothes will be purchased only on an as-needed basis …no frivolous buying for a boy who could easily go a month without wearing the same thing twice. So when a friend called to tell me VANS were on sale for $14 at JC Penney, I had to think long and hard about taking advantage of what was a pretty sweet deal. You see, my son doesn’t only like clothes; he likes the latest style of clothes and knows what’s cool at the moment. A few months ago it was DCs… now its VANS. He was very excited about going to get a new pair until I told him we were buying a size up from what he actually wears. I explained how I was trying to go a year without buying clothes for myself, and only buying what is absolutely necessary for him, on the way. He protested a little, because he really wanted the Vans, but he couldn’t argue my point…he simply does not need another pair of shoes RIGHT NOW, even if they were free.

So now he’s hoping his feet grow quickly, and I’m hoping to be able to follow through with my little plan and set an example. It may not be a lesson other parents find worth teaching, but what I am going for here is this – an acknowledgement of abundance. We have so much, we are truly blessed, and we need to slow down and acknowledge it. My son may not understand now how good he has it, but my hope is that he will realize at an early age that shopping + acquiring = happiness is the myth many people are fed from infancy, and leads to cycles of over-work and depression that wreck lives and can even destroy families. Getting lots of stuff…even our favorite stuff…is not what it’s all about.

It’s not even close.

So will my one small act, not buying clothes for myself for a year, and only buying the necessary essentials for my son as he outgrows other things and needs new items, change the world? No. But I know it will change our habits, our routines, and even our budget. Now that spontaneous shopping isn’t an option when we’re bored and need something to do, we’ll look for more and more viable, purposeful ways to spend our time…and the money we’ll save from not buying unnecessary items might just help fund some of these adventures, or make a nice donation to a place we want to help.

In my parenting philosophy, it is a valuable lesson worth striving for. And knowing my son is watching…I think I’m going to make my goal!!!

(sorry for the absence of delightful photos; for some reason, blogspot is not giving me the option at this time to add them...which is making me angry and likely to heave computer out the window at any moment now....)

1 comment:

Debby said...

Shopping is one of the easiest, least nurturing way to spend time. And, of course, two more ways to fill empty time or more likely emptiness inside ourselves are TV and eating when not physically hungry. I got rid of the TV, but I still struggle with overdoing the other two. So, thus musing is encouraging. Thanks, Amy!