5 Tips to Pull Off a Shopping Break and 5 Reasons Why I Do It - The Closet Conundrum VI

In this new installment of the beloved Closet Conundrum Series, we are going to talk about spending bans. I am sure the concept of a shopping break isn't new for most of you. A lot of people do this, and yes, I am one of them. I am going on spending breaks at least twice a year. This year I did my first one secretly in January. 

My rules for them are fairly simple. No money spend on clothing, accessories or decorative cosmetics for 30 days. If I do really have to replace an item I can do that - and no, having a hole in 1 t-shirt but 5 others left doesn't count.

This time around, which wasn't my first, it became so much of a habit to not shop that I kind of forgot to start again. Well not really, but I barely got anything new since. One of the items I bought is this thrifted striped shirt here. And since my current fashion fancy is layering a longer top in a different color or even print under a shorter one (see here) and I only had a bunch of shorter, unsuited tank tops, I bought 3 of those as well. You'll see them soon enough. 

Anyway, I like to do these shopping breaks, spending bans, or whatever you want to call them because:

1. For me going on a shopping break is like Lent or similar rituals in other cultures. Stopping my consumption on purpose helps me realize how much I actually do have and that I can perfectly do without adding new stuff frequently. It helps to focus on what is already there.

2. Well saving money. Usually I do it right after sales season, that should about explain it. But in case you aren't convinced yet, try to write down for one month every single thing you buy in those three categories: clothing, accessories, decorative cosmetics.

3. I can properly welcome stuff into my wardrobe I purchased previously. I find that if you just add and add and add very few of these items have the chance to become a favorite and well used piece because the turn over is just too quick and you forget it as fast as you add it.

4. Self mastery, will power and habit breaking. It's so easy to fall into the habit of just accumulating stuff and so hard to break it.

5. I do not have a lot of physical space to store my clothing so this is, combined with the selective shopping with a curator mindset, one way to keep the influx down. And I found I am actually happier with a smaller wardrobe full of stuff I love to wear and don't neglect. Your mileage may vary, especially if you have a whole room to use for your clothing, something I have no experience with.

5 Tips to Pull Off a Shopping Break

1. Avoid Newsletters

I've said it here, I actually cancelled most shopping newsletters I had subscribed too. Most of them pull you in with a discount code upon subscribing. Apart from me mostly not actually reading them and they cluttering my inbox, they also can be tempting us to "just check it out". Quicker than we realize we've spent an hour browsing the online store, put stuff in our shopping basket and maybe even hit "Check Out".

I cannot advice to avoid shopping malls because one of my go to supermarkets is inside one, so that's where the self mastery and will power come in. And I actually find it easier to not enter into the shops at the mall than to avoid online shops, with me being on the web and on fashion blogs with tempting links and flashy banners a lot.

2. Prepare by taking a good hard look at what you have

Taking a good look at what is already in your closet and compare it to current or coming trends can help you realize that infact you do not actually "need" anything new. And lets be honest, we almost never need the item we think we do unless you only have one winter coat and it starts to have holes, is shabby, has serious wear, is not suited for certain tasks you do not need another. Your vanity might, but your cold behind doesn't.

Oh hah, that leads me back to investing into really good pieces. I am not saying "classic" because for some classic might be the way to go, but for someone else Comme de Garcons might be a more fitting choice. Watch that you aren't going to tire of the color if you opt for anything but neutral. Anyway ... You can totally get away with having just one coat, I promise. Keep it fresh with different scarfs, handbags, hats, whatnot. Changing out the accessories will do wonders on people's perception.

3. Keep shopping your closet

Whilst you are on the break, try to purposely use items you haven't worn much lately and/or combinations you haven't ever or not done in a while. That way it can almost feel like you are wearing something new. And if you pull of a combination you never did before, you are infact in a way wearing something new.

At the same time, you can use this occasion to do a bit of closet purging on the side. With the assessment from point 2 and the remixing of point 3 you should get an idea of what you have that you do not actually like. Infact, starting your quest of a wardrobe full of items you love with a shopping break is a very good idea. See it as a sort of reset point.

4. Think of the wonderful thing you can buy from the saved money

Do you have something on your wishlist that seems out of reach? This doesn't have to be an item of clothing or accessory, it could also be travelling. A shopping break can help you get closer to obtaining it because you are saving money. By thinking of that "dream object" you can be more steadfast in pulling through. In the end, it's all about really knowing what you want.

5. Distract yourself

Use the time you are not spending shopping to do something else. Reading that book you've been wanting to read. Starting that craft project. Anything you've been putting off. Don't use browsing shops offline or online to procrastinate. You get the idea.

Be aware to not run off and start hauling in new things once you are done with the break. Yes, you are now allowed to shop again, but that would totally defeat the purpose of doing it in the first place. Instead, start to shop with intention now. I may refer you to the 5 Questions and 5 More Questions to ask while shopping.

Have you ever done a shopping break? What are your experiences?

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