A year without buying anything

My friend Sophie spent 2009 not spending anything at all on clothes. As someone who has an imploding wardrobe and accessory collection, I was impressed by this feat and wanted to find our more. I put four questions to her…

Why did you decide to take a no-purchase stance in 2009?

I spent four months travelling, living out of a suitcase and when I returned to Melbourne I was overwhelmed by the amount of clothes in my wardrobe, and how many items I had not worn for years. I was confident I had enough clothes to last a year without a purchase so I made the New Year resolution.

Did you find it difficult to survive without things you needed or wanted?

It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. Need and want are two very separate issues. I needed little as I had so much however I wanted, and I wanted even more because I couldn’t have. The year without buying did further highlight this difference and I now buy more of what I need and less of what I want. However it is very satisfying when the two overlap.

Do you think it is sustainable?

I am certain some people could sustain it, however for me a year was enough. Living in the shopping capital of the Southern Hemisphere [Melbourne] doesn’t help.

Would you recommend others to do a year without purchasing anything?

I would encourage people to do it if they were aware of the consequences and were prepared for the ups and downs.

~

So, even though we’re getting well into 2010 already, I would like to take a similar stance to Sophie as a resolution for this year. Having ‘stuff’ around you – especially too much – can really weigh you down. I would like to liberate myself by having only the items that I need to exist around me. I tend to hoard items for sentimental reasons, which is fine, but when too much is entering the system, a lack of mental and physical space really does become an issue…

5 thoughts on “A year without buying anything

  1. Whilst I admire the sentiment Kate, I shall not be joining you.

    Us working class poms put a high priority on style and presentation. Especially when their childhood clothes were purchased from the aptly named Half Price Store.

  2. I too admire your quest. I like nice things but I don’t believe in investing too much emotion (is that the right word?) into material things. I prefer to invest in experiences and moments. Am I getting too deep?! Also, as someone who is not a shopper, when I do go shopping for clothes it is usually with focus and intent and I come away with quality pieces I wear to death. Fancy a clothes swap? Also helps to iron… ;P

    x

  3. Every couple of months I throw clothes out of my wardrobe. My rule is, when I look at it, if I hesitate, it’s gone!

    I always wonder whether I should really give it to charity or not but not once have I ever thought “Oh I wish had that t-shirt”

  4. Thanks for the comments guys – it’s interesting to hear your perspective.

    I am terrible! Yesterday I deliberated throwing away two pairs of shoes – one pair had half the sole hanging off and the other, so stretched – they no longer stayed on my feet! Pleased to say, however, they did end up making it in the bin.

  5. So when you say ‘anything’ – you don’t mean gadgetty tech things right? I mean thats more important than menial items like clothing and shelter, surely. Also, does it count if someone owes you money and buys you a new pair of Ferragamo shoes instead?

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