6 Months, No Clothes

My deepest apologies, friends, for the click bait title. I just couldn’t resist.

So, you know how I mentioned in one of my child-training posts that I want to teach myself and my children to be less entitled and less enamored of worldly things?

Well, it’s wasn’t just idle words (I hope).

Here’s the thing: I love bargains. I always have. And I couldn’t care less about name brands–at least in terms of status symbols. I like that certain brands are known for their quality but will only buy them at steep discounts and am happiest when I find them secondhand at Goodwill (i.e. I talk about being an Anthro-lover, but I only buy things from there on rock-bottom clearance with an extra percentage off plus a coupon). And if something declares that I spent a lot of money on it by the brand emblazoned on it, I literally won’t buy it. (Because, even if I bought it for an incredible bargain, I would feel compelled to go around telling everybody about how I hadn’t actually paid full price, and–let’s be honest–that’s just obnoxious).

So! In case many, many rounds of Thrifted or Grifted have failed to convince long-time readers that I love me a good deal…the above overkill paragraph probably won’t either. But I guess you get the point that I don’t spend a lot of money on, well, practically anything.

And that’s a good thing.

But, as I’m sure you’ve heard, you can actually have too much of a good thing.

And in this case, my too much of a good thing is: cheap (as in inexpensive) clothes.

My nose was pretty well rubbed in this fact as I sorted, donated, sorted, packed, sorted, and unpacked an embarrassing amount of clothing in the process of prepping to move.

And that was after several rounds of the same a year ago when I donated over 50 bags of “stuff.”

Not too surprisingly, I realized that, like just about every other creature of habit on the planet, I found myself reaching for the same 20 items of clothing, which was making everything else in my closet jealous and sad. But never fear! This is a not a blog about how I threw out everything I owned and have now vowed to wear the same 3 t-shirts and 2 pairs of pants until the end of time, amen.

Yes, I donated and gave away a ton. Yes, I f-i-n-a-l-l-y tossed the ratty stuff. Yes, I tried to only bring the things that I truly loved and plan on actually wearing. And, even so, I have puh-lenty of clothes.

Which is why…I’m not buying any more for 6 months.

Anybody else feel a bit let down by my big revelation? I mean, big woo, Abbie. 6 whole months of not buying clothes. Cry me a river, please.

But I decided to just start somewhere and see where it goes. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up with a full-on capsule wardrobe as a result of all of this. Maybe I’ll end up only wearing itchy hair-dresses as penance for buying too many clothes from Goodwill for too many years (#nope).

In all honesty, I haven’t bought many clothes at all in the past year due to: pregnancy, house expenses, lack of interest/time, etc. But not being ABLE to buy anything is another animal entirely. I don’t go to very many stores these days, but now, when I do, I avoid the clothing section altogether, whereas, in the past, I would have made sure to at least rifle through the clearance racks.

The three exceptions–since we’re going for honesty here–have been a tankini top that I bought to match some swim bottoms I wore to the beach last week, a big beach hat that I wore there (both kind of necessary), and a pair of slip on sneakers that I grabbed for $3 when my flip flops broke on the trip. But I have yet to wear them, so I may return them.

It’s been two months since I’ve bought any clothing (other than the above items), and I…don’t miss shopping. Mostly because I stay away from it. I’m sure I would be considerably more tempted if I were putting myself in harm’s way, so to speak. But, as I mentioned before, I already wasn’t doing much of it, so it hasn’t been a huge shift.

But, huge or not, it’s been good.

My 6 months will be up right before Christmas, so maybe I’ll treat myself to something nice (on major sale, of course) at the end of it. But maybe I won’t. As always, I will keep you posted, whether you want me to or not.

Anybody else ever gone on a clothing fast? (I’m sure many of you don’t need to and are rolling your eyes at me, but…maybe not everybody?)

Or done a capsule wardrobe?

I thought I like variety too much to even consider one, but the older I get and the more kids I have, the more I care about a) quality/long-lasting pieces and b) simplicity (too many options = frustration/time I don’t have spent on picking outfits).

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20 thoughts on “6 Months, No Clothes

  1. Ok, so I had a different but similar story!! 2 yrs ago my husband, 2yo, 4yo and 3mth old when to the USA on a 4 month vacation. (We are from Australia). We packed up our house (to rent out when we were gone to save $$) and I had a similar experience to you- I felt overwhelmed with all the stuff!!! While we were away we bought a camper and had just the necessities. I wondered if it wld feel like a holiday for me and … it did. I spent time trying to figure out why and the only thing that I Cld work out- we had less stuff. Less clothes to wash, less toys to pick up, less dishers to wash. So coming home we eventually began unpacking and I decided to throw lots of things and better still stop buying. I love a bargain, but I realised there is only so much stuff I need! So 2 yrs on I buy very little stuff in general. We have been building a house for the last yr and have been living in a tiny 2 bed unit- happily! I’ve got a very loose capsule wardrobe happening and my kids have less and less toys and things in general. It’s been a journey but our big USA trip was the starting point. I’ve now been on a clothing fast for 2 yrs with the exception of planned, good quality purchases. First 6 mths was the hardest now it’s just my new way. Recently I watched documentary called ‘fast fashion’ and now I’m shopping fasting for so many other reasons!

  2. I only buy clothes for me when I have enough rewards gifted from my mother in-law to get them dirt cheap or free (I shop at Old Navy mostly) I’m worse when it comes to clothes for my two kiddos, especially if they are cheap! I have my rules though: no more than $5-9 for kids because they outgrow them so fast, and no more than $15 for me. Only exceptions are shoes, and even then I rarely buy myself any. I wear the same pair of flip flops for 5-6 years

  3. I do a “capsule closet” for me and my 3 kids. I say it in quotes because I’m not really obsessed with the rules, it’s just to make life simple and keep down the laundry and not spend money. What I personally found was that I bought a lot of items at thrift stores that weren’t keepers in the end. : ( After giving away so much I was stunned to realize I didn’t have many basics that I needed. After months of getting by I finally went shopping and have bought a few pieces every few months. I think the biggest shift is just trying to dress modestly and cute and comfy but it not being about getting attention. And with the kids it just makes sense. Too much isn’t a good thing. It’s just overwhelming. and I started just like you, I avoided shopping. I also found it helpful to unsubscribe to from any retailers online and I stopped reading magazines. Bc literally every single page is an ad for something. Good luck and I can’t wait to hear how it goes

    1. Yeah, I’ve always been a thrifter, and I DO wear most of my thrifted clothes pretty regularly. In fact, almost all of my jeans are thrifted. BUT. I don’t wear very many of my dresses or nicer shirts, and I have too many of those. They just don’t translate well for everyday wear when I spend 90% of my day at home with lots of kids, 5% at the gym, and 5% somewhere fancy like the grocery store. My kids kind of have capsule wardrobes by default because I’m constantly giving getting rid of stained or torn stuff, and we literally don’t buy clothes except for birthdays/Christmas or if there is just a genuine need that’s not being met (i.e. the t-shirts and shorts I just bought Theo for play clothes because he pretty well had nothing).

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      1. How do you get away with not buying clothes for your kids? Is it because you are able to utilize hand-me-downs? I’m genuinely interested because my kids grow out of clothes every year!

        1. Yeah, we do lots of hand-me-downs. And we do buy clothes when the kids NEED clothes (usually from Goodwill), either because somebody has completely grown out of something, and there’s no hand-me-down available or because of a specific occasion (like a wedding), but between the few special things I buy them for birthdays and Christmas and what they receive from relatives, they usually don’t need much.

  4. We wear capsule wardrobes at my house. It started with my kids. I got tired of matching up outfits that went together. So, now everything goes with everything else. Now I wear one, because before I only wore jeans and t shirts, so now I feel like I don’t look too slouchy on a daily basis (I’m now actually wearing jeans and a t shirt, but they fit well and look nice! Haha). I am sure that I have more clothes that I actually wear now than I did before, anyway. And I had certain colors that I gravitated toward, so now those get to be my colors. The best blog I’ve found to explain it/offer suggestions is actually a lady that writes a food blog, but wrote a post about her capsule wardrobe. She gave good suggestions and didn’t make the rules too stuffy. I could tell from the beginning, it actually makes getting dressed SO much easier.

    1. Yeah, the thing with me is I DON’T get dressed. I wear gym clothes all day errr’day unless I’m going somewhere specific, and I just have too many clothes for how seldom that is. Currently, I’m shooting for getting reducing the number of options to only ones I love, and then I’ll try to see if I even care about making myself “get dressed” every day.

      My kids don’t have tons of clothes, but it’s still a lot with 7 of them.

      I’d be interested in the specific name of the blog too. :)

  5. Earlier this year I did a “no spend” challenge, where I only bought gas & groceries and paid the bills for a month. It was really eye opening. I, too, enjoy a good deal, and I also enjoy purging my closets, so I don’t have much lying around. Giving up shopping for a month was tricky, yet I’ve never looked back. Since February (my month of no spending) I have bought only 5 clothing items and they were all pre-planned purchases to meet a specific wardrobe ‘need’.

    Good luck! I think you’ll find it very freeing. I’m excited to read updates over the next six months.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Barbara! As I mentioned in the post, I haven’t been buying much at all for a while, but it’s really helping me to avoid those impulse, “Oh, that’s so cute and cheap!” buys that I tend toward when I’m allowed to buy whatever whenever. I’ll keep y’all posted!

  6. I thought after your last post about Honor being six month old this was going to be diaper-only pictures of him…haha!

  7. When I realized that I had too many clothes, I did a big closet cleanout. After that, I made a rule for myself. If I bring something in, something has to go out. If I buy a new shirt, I have to get rid of (sell, donate, trash) something else out of my closet. Helps me to keep the amount of clothing manageable, and I still get to have some new variety from time to time.

  8. I purge my clothes, often, but I am working on going through ALL the clothes in the house. And, I’ve been thinking about a capsule wardrobe for my kids–all in a similar color scheme to help them dress themselves without looking cray! Too far or a good idea?

    1. Our 20 month old goes to daycare and he wears a uniform! I LOVE IT – navy and maroon polos with khaki or navy bottoms. It makes getting ready so easy!

  9. I too am on a clothes buying fast! After the ding dang flood last August I had to confess that the very first (and basically only) thing I saved were all of my clothes. As the flood waters burst into our home I had my hubby, myself, and 3 sons lug armload after armload of clothes upstairs. After my closet was all dry we lugged the clothes back down. I was horrified to see how many items still had tags!! After months of wearing only work clothes while we renovated I lost all desire to shop for new, pretty clothes. I did have to buy fall boots as those were all victims of the flood water. And I must admit during heavy rainstorms I remind my hubby and kids that my clothes once again take priority after photo albums;)

  10. Ohhh picture me with that grimace emoji. I have been thinking I need to curb my clothing spending lately. We are at the end of the line as far as kids go and, frankly, I have been enjoying the experience of shopping and knowing I am not gearing up for another pregnancy, don’t need to buy nursing-friendly tops, etc. But I’ve gotten a little carried away. Like avoiding the sale racks, I have unsubscribed to various sale emails and stuff that tempt me…but I am still finding ways to buy new clothes:)

    I think it is fine to find clothes that I feel comfortable in and flatter me, four kids later, but it is time to slow this train down.

    1. I definitely need to try this. Especially because as I am reading this, I am making excuses for why I NEED new clothes for going back to work (I am a teacher).

      My hubby and I are trying for a second child and each month it doesn’t happen, I allow myself retail therapy to cope. It isn’t working and in the end it just makes me feel worse. It took us five years of trying for our toddler and I just want to learn to be content with what we have now. Any advice for learning to be content?

      1. Here’s a quote I once read by GK Chesterton and it’s been very helpful to me in this area. Because, like you said, spending money on and getting more “stuff” doesn’t help anyway.

        “There are two ways to get enough: one is to accumulate more and more, the other is to desire less.”

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