A Year of No Shopping


If you were going to go one year without shopping, how would you do it?

Did you know that the fashion industry is the second most wasteful industry after oil? Yikes. Who knew something so beautiful could be so ugly. If you are like me, you want to see this change. The easiest way to make a positive impact is to reduce consumption. AKA, stop shopping so damn much.

In this NY Time article, author Ann Patchett explores her Year of No Shopping, ultimately coming to her understanding that:

The unspoken question of shopping is “What do I need?” What I needed was less.

Immediately, I wanted to challenge myself to do something similar. So today, let’s explore this a little more and walk through the decision-making process.

So where does one start when kicking off a year of no shopping?

  1. First, create your goal. Why are you doing this and what do you ultimately not want to shop for? Clothings, shoes, jewelry, dishes, furniture, makeup, art, lamps, plants, books, junk food, buttons…cats?! The possibilities are endless. Understand what your life requires. A freelance photograph needs cameras and memory cards, an artist needs paint, a fashion blogger needs clothing. I am going to challenge myself to not purchase jackets, shoes, purses, makeup, or books over the course of this next year. I am doing this because I want to maintain my minimal lifestyle and get full use out of the things I have, including the library that my taxes pay for.
  2. Second, create your guidelines. Every challenge needs some rules and an understanding of when to make exceptions. Here are some optional rules and exceptions to the no shopping challenge:
    1. Safety – This is always an exception to the rule.
    2. Weather – Buy the things you need to stay dry and warm.
    3. Undergarments – Please, buy the new undies if you need them.
    4. Space for Pleasure – By actively trying to consume less, you are doing an amazing thing. It shouldn’t feel like a punishment. If your goal is to buy less home decor and you find yourself really wanting a candle, perhaps it is best to buy one candle.
    5. Time or Spending Limit  – But perhaps you should have some self-imposed limits for this “Space for Pleasure” exception? Maybe you have to wait for 30 days before making the purchase. Maybe you can buy an exception item but only under $30. The idea here is to really force yourself to think about your purchase.
    6. Replacements – Can you buy a new shampoo if yours runs out? Yes, yes you can.
    7. Gifts – You are allowed to buy someone else a dish as a housewarming gift, but only if that dish does not end up in your cupboard.
  3. Third, start. Now that you know your goals and guidelines, get to it.

Oh, and remember, this is A Year of No Shopping, not A Year of No Spending. So don’t hit the mall or the plant nursery or the animal shelter unless you are seriously masochistic and have great discipline. Focus instead on all of the things you can do with the time not spent shopping. And focus on feeling gratitude for the things you already have.

The best thing to do with the best things in life is give them up.

– Dorothy Day

Interested in joining me in A Year of No Shopping? New Year’s is right around the corner and a great time to start. Let’s take the jump together.


What would you give up in your Year of No Shopping? What exceptions would you impose? Let us know below.


2 thoughts on “A Year of No Shopping

  1. Anonymous

    At the very end you note a distinction between “spending” and “Shopping”, I think you can add “purchasing” and evaluate the differences in these activities. I almost never shop. I purchase, only doing comparisons to minimize “spending”. Your drive towards minimalism is terrific, but seems like an evaluation of “need” should occur prior to an attempt to purchase, like before ever leaving the house. Lists can help.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is very thought-provoking! Yes, I agree with the evaluation of “need”. For me, the self-imposed time limit I suggested is the best way forward for this. Thanks for reading and commenting!


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