Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Month That Changed My Life (in a wee small way, but nevertheless...)

Here she is, folks...a certified clotheshorse.

Why yes, that is a ridiculously huge basket of yarn and a favorite pair of cowboy boots behind me...what of it?

Let me say here that I am pretty proud of the fact that the sweater I'm wearing in the photo above only cost .50 cents. But see, that is part of the problem. I'm a lover of bargains and resale shop shopping, and I'm also a lover of clothes, a fact that this picture, which only shows about fifty percent of what's actually in my closet, can prove.

How will I ever share a closet space with someone else when this big walk-in can barely even hold my things?

I strive to embrace the simple living concept of not being materialistic and all of that good stuff, but I like clothes. Alot. I never though about how much until a Red-Box drama I rented a few months ago enlightened me. It was the vow a character made - not to buy clothes for an entire year. I thought, woah.....there is no way! Her reasons were moral and noble and had to do with her personal beliefs about acquiring and abundance, and also the frivolous things we focus on and spend our time, money, and energy on. As good movies usually have a good message, this one got me thinking about my personal beliefs about acquiring and abundance, and I found myself I frivolous what comes to time, money, and energy? Could I go a year without buying new clothes?

So, I decided I'd challenge myself in a mini, toe-in-the-pool-because-I'm-too-scared-to-dive-in kind of way: From Thanksgiving until Christmas, I would not buy any clothes, either resale or on sale, even if I had extra funds or found great bargains. None at all. Yeah, I know that's only a month, but let's just say it was enough of a challenge that I was nervous. Have I mentioned how much I love clothes?

And you know what? It was an eye opening experience to me in many ways, but the one I want to focus on here is this: my  little experiment showed me that the primary reason I shop for clothes is...drum roll please...B-O-R-E-D-O-M. Yep. Boredom.

As an adult with ADD who choses not to medicate, it's fair to say that for my brain to work properly, I need more stimulation and activity than most people. I channel that need into projects, social time, creative activities, physical exercise,you name it. I need things to do, plain and simple. Still sometimes, all that I take on is not enough, and I find myself completely caught up on every possible thing and it's just 11am on Saturday morning and I've got to find something to I'll go out and find a yard sale, a thrift store, a sale at Old Navy. I never, ever imagined myself a 'recreational shopper' because I'm not the typical mall/outlet store/something-with-the-word-warehouse-in-it's-name Saturday peruser. And yet, here I was, unable to shop for a month, and humbly realizing I spend an awful lot of time shopping out of boredom...just like everyone else.

And the result? I was purging constantly. I might have only been spending $10 or $20 a month on new clothes, but due to the small space I live in, I was always having to go through it to make room for more. And what good does it do to purge if you're just gonna replace it all 5 minutes later?

When I finally get over being afraid of my sewing machine, I'll make something wonderful with these fabrics...which I've had for years now...

And so I made it through the month without buying clothes for myself. Big woop to many people, I know...but it is a big thing to me. It opened my eyes a little to the fact that I DO recreationally shop, whether I like to admit it or not. And it isn't good, for many reasons, but mostly because even if I'm getting a super-dooper's still something I don't need. It's still materialism. It's still uneccessary. There are so many more meaningful things I can do with my time than look for super-dooper deals on things I've got plenty of already.

And truth be told, I have enough clothes. More than enough. I could easily go a year without buying any new clothing item, and I think it's worth a I'm going to. Month by month, we'll see how it goes. Because while purging is good...

Thrift-store bound goodies!!
...not acquiring it in the first place is even better. So, at the time of this writing, I'm beginning the vow anew, but in baby steps. From January 1st until Valentine's Day, I will not buy any new clothes or shoes for myself, because I truly don't need them. And if 11am Saturday rolls around, and I am bored, well...I believe I am intelligent enough that I can find something more stimulating and meaningful to do with my time

Next, we'll work on not buying books...or not buying yarn....

...nah...not this year. Gotta contribute to capitalism in some way, right? :-)

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