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Overcoming my shopping addiction by becoming a minimalist.

Confession: I used to have a shopping addiction.

Whenever I was feeling down and out, I would head to the mall (or TJ Maxx) and indulge this addiction. Shopping is funny in that you don’t really see it for what it is, until you start to really look at the void that it fills. Having a bad day? Buy a pair of shoes. Feeling a little under the weather? Then buy this super cute outfit – that will make you feel better.

Shop until you drop was the name of the game and like any addict, I was hooked.

What an easy addiction to indulge in too. I mean, society almost expects us to buy into this notion – literally. We live in a world of fast fixes and consumerism, and our constant desire to have new things keeps this wheel turning. I love the rush of shopping. I love buying new things. I love coming home and unpacking my bags and adding these new items to an ever growing collection of stuff. Seriously, I could stare at a new pair of shoes and be filled with a sense of ‘love’? Sick, right?

At some point, I started to realize that this isn’t a healthy attitude. For starters, it’s expensive. Secondary, there is only so much space to put things. The more stuff you have, the less space you have to put it. It’s amazing how hard it is to put together an outfit when your closet and drawers are so full of clothing that you have to dig through to find anything. I mean, honestly, it can be exhausting and absolutely overwhelming. And so I started purging. Trips to Goodwill. Bags of clothing to friends. I started to shed this excessive lifestyle for something more simple. I was craving space over living quarters cramped by clothing.

As I purged, I started to notice that many of the items I have purchased over the years were what I now consider fantasy items. What I mean by this is that there were plenty of items that I owned that I would realistically never wear – or would maybe wear once or twice to an event and then retire it to the ever growing collection of things I would most likely never wear again. Sure, those 6 inch leather platform heels, covered in rhinestones are sexy as hell, but how often would they really grace my feet? And yet, there they were taking up valuable space in my closet. That full length gown was a steal on sale, but it has sat there on the hanger for 2 years, without a proper event to be worn to.

The more I started to reflect on my purchases, the more I realized that I would go shopping and make purchases based on a fantasy version of myself. The editorial version, if you will. Totally unrealistic and totally a money and space trap. I decided enough was enough.

This year, I have made a goal to limit the amount of clothing/shoes that I buy. To keep myself in track, I am keeping a list of every single purchase that I make in this category and at the end of the year, I plan to analyze this list and refine it even more for next year.

So far, I am off to a decent start. We are three and a half months in, and so far I have spent less than $100 on new ‘fashion items’ – most of which came from a purchase I made today. I caved when I went on a mission to find caffeine and decided to window shop in the process. Normally, I can window shop and be ok, but today I ended up buying 2 new shirts at a cute boutique that I passed. I feel a little guilty, but am already wearing one of the tops and loving the way it feels – so soft and there is a tiger print, which is totally ‘me’.

I’m keeping myself in check though. By adding these items to the list, I am reminded that this will not be a regular occurrence, but rather a rare indulgence.