Is There Life After Shopping?

Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Review

About two years ago, I came face to face with a realization about myself that triggered some serious soul searching. As I was trolling an equestrian website for winter riding boots for probably the 50th time that week, a question popped up in my mind: Can I go one day without buying something online? Could I stop, if I wanted to?

I let the thought pass as quickly as it came: It’s fine, I’m fine. I’m not in any serious debt like you see on TV or anything… But was I fine? Denial is a good indicator that something wasn’t right.

Shopping was a hobby. Shopping was a friend when I was lonely. Shopping made me feel in control when I felt stressed out. Shopping filled the empty parts of me that I couldn’t bear to face. But whatever solace shopping brought me, it never lasted.

In May 2013, I purchased my first home straight out of college at the ripe age of 24. Aside from the new financial management that needed to become a part of my daily life, I was more concerned with how it looked, and underneath it all, how it appeared to others. Pinterest, HGTV, and magazines fueled my fire as I went on a quest of buying home decor and furniture, becoming restless and uncertain of my decisions, ultimately selling or donating the furniture, buying more, selling/donating more… it was an endless cycle. And finally, when I realized I had wasted at least $6k alone on the initial move into my condo on furniture I no longer own, I felt totally ashamed, embarrassed, and frustrated by my own inability to decorate a home.

I heard things like, “It’s okay to spend that much on furniture because it’ll last forever.” Wrong. My items never stayed in the condo longer than a few months. “That’s okay if this item is cheap, you can replace it with something you like better later.” Wrong. I never found what I loved and accumulated a lot of things I didn’t love in the process.

No matter how many things I brought into my condo, it never felt like “home.” Would I ever find my “style”? Would I ever be good at decorating? Will my home be organized, ever?! Interestingly enough, at the same time, I felt a curiosity growing toward the idea of detachment and the art of minimalism – that is, owning less things. I have been striving towards this goal over the past few years, but nothing seemed to “click.”

Does any of this sound familiar?

But then I found a game changer, and it was a lot more simple than I would have ever imagined.

In October 2015, I was introduced to Marie Kondo (nickname: KonMari)’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” It has been life-changing, and more importantly, life-GIVING. This is my journey to complete her method and transform my life.



What I love about KonMari’s book: It offers a step-by-step process to follow in addition to well-thought out explanations of why we think the way we do about our possessions. It made it easier for me to part with certain items. Some categories were easy for me, some were difficult. Each person will probably be different.

The first category I present to you today: Clothes. Yikes.


Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Review

My wardrobe was reduced by 70%.  This includes all tops, bottoms, jackets, coats, socks, underwear, purses, bags, accessories, clothes for specific events, and shoes. At the beginning, I owned 331 items. The crazy thing is not the number, but how I felt I didn’t really have “that many clothes”. I felt normal. The culture I grew up in, I suppose… But I never felt like I had enough.

Now: 106 items. I feel like I have everything I need. I identified wardrobe gaps at the end of my tidying, and I have filled them. Abundance!

Another welcome side effect of tidying: I am saving more money than I ever have in my life. Turns out if you stop buying things, you have more money to do other things. Who knew.

What I learned about myself:

  •  I found myself wearing things I hadn’t worn in years that I actually really love.
  • Some of my favorite things are expensive, some of them are really cheap.
  • Don’t buy an extra of anything for “when the first runs out.” This is just a mental safety blanket. They don’t fit the same, and you’ll probably be bored of it by then. Unless you’re Steve Jobs or Facebook Dude Andy Samberg or whatever his name is.
  • Don’t let others dictate what you should own. For me, I stressed out about rain boots after reading many “minimalist wardrobe” plans that always included a pair of rain boots. After spinning my wheels, wasting a little too much time frantically online window shopping, I took a step back and asked myself… Do I even need rain boots? I decided my answer was no. My combination of hiking (waterproof) boots, leather booties, and winter boots have got me covered. I can’t imagine walking for miles in something like Wellies. If I ever find an actually comfortable pair of rain boots that don’t feel like plastic or cardboard, I may reevaluate this.

I’ve had a lot of questions about if I did a capsule wardrobe. I started down this path, planning everything out in Engineer Fashion with Excel and Powerpoint… only to become increasingly overwhelmed by the feeling that I needed to go out and buy all the items on my list. But an interesting thing happened post-tidying: a capsule wardrobe was borne out of the clothes I already had. Since my focus was on consuming less, not buying more, this was an important realization that helped me stay in line with my goals.

Need inspiration? 

  1. What do people say when you wear the same things all the time? Nothing. (http://caitflanders.com/2016/02/16/my-teeny-tiny-wardrobe/)
  2. Changed my view of wardrobe from “perpetually incomplete” to “complete”. Boom. Done. (http://www.becomingminimalist.com/completion/)
  3. I modeled my “minimalist” wardrobe after this beautiful infographic, found at (http://www.nialogique.com/minimalist-wardrobe-checklist/)
  4. 17 Staggering Statistics About Our Shopping Habits (http://www.becomingminimalist.com/shopping-statistics/)
  5. Sometimes we buy things because it makes us feel productive or like we are “taking the first step” towards some goal we have. Here’s why it’s hindering more than it’s helping you. (http://www.breakthetwitch.com/false-first-step/)

What would happen if we went a day without buying something, a week, a month? Can we be happy with less? Can we find healthier ways to fill our time?

In the future luxury goods will be methods that bring us back the power of our own attention: the power to choose ourselves what we want to notice or not. And there lies the true luxury of the future, to be able to resist shopping and still be happy.
~ Sante Poromaa

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