How To Stop Buying New Clothes?
Basic rules that will help You save money and will help the environment…
I know, I know — it is hypocritical for a clothing company writer to promote not buying clothing. But it’s not! Neothinker has been found in late 2019 with a simple idea — don’t make clothing that nobody needs. But let’s start from the beginning!
Fast fashion giants have made us, the consumers — to chase ever-changing weekly fads and the world of clothing is as speedy as never before. This brings us to a very problematic place — the fashion industry is currently responsible for 10% of all carbon emissions. This might not seem that much when You think that clothing is one of 5 most basic commodities (clothing, food, housing, healthcare, and education should be free for all). But it is! To put this in perspective — it takes almost 4 000 liters of water to make a pair of jeans. A single pair of jeans! That means 20% of all water wasted on this whole planet each year is wasted solely because of the clothing industry.
It would be a bearable burden to carry as clothing is, first of all, is a need not just a nice-to-have like many other products that we don’t need and still continue on buying. But if You look into the closets that we have back home — they are filled with hundreds, maybe even thousands of clothing pieces that we never wear. I can guess, that if You would count closely — You would realize that the actual amount of clothing pieces You wear constantly — probably are way less than 10% of everything You have.
That brings us to some easy steps You can take to be less of a burden to the environment!
Step 1 — No spontaneous buying.
How many of us are addicted to shopping? Studies tell us that in countries like USA, around 6% of people have a shopping addiction. Even if it sounds like being a shopaholic is not as bad of addiction compared to alcohol, sugar, drugs or other self-abusive behaviors… We believe that most of us have it. It’s not that we can’t control it, thus it should not be called addiction.
The problem is that even if we can’t be considered real shopaholics — we still suffer from it. Most of us were already solving our worries with a stroll through the mall. Some ice-cream, a new sweater and an unnecessary knick-knack that will just stand there and will collect dust is how we calm ourselves. Dog’s calm themselves by chewing on something. We calm ourselves by shopping for stuff we need.
Now when malls are already dead… We do the same thing on the couch. We just score what we want by scrolling. And it’s like constant Christmas because we get to unwrap something every few days. This goes to clothing as well.
So how can You stop Yourself from spontaneous buying? I would suggest starting slow by realizing Your urges and spectating on how You do that. But that will be very difficult to do if You are not taking up a self-calming practice like meditation, self-awareness or just almost any kind of sports where You can focus on Yourself.
Then whenever You are bored and start looking something new to buy… You have to snap Yourself out of it and ask “Do I really need that?”. The answer is almost always — of course You don’t need it, You already have plenty. But You might not feel like You have plenty. Which brings us to our next point …
Step 2 — Decide on how much You need!
It is very nice to write a little journal about what You wear every day. And after a month or so, calculate how many pieces of clothing You actually wore. The answer will amaze You, because it’s always just a couple percent compared to what You have in Your closet. And You know it.
Then just compare those wearable numbers to numbers You actually store and realize how little You actually need. I am not suggesting something very radical as well known “French 10 piece closet” approach, because depending on the climate that even might be impossible… But I can tell You for sure — if You have more than 50 pieces of clothing (including underwear, shoes, hats, and coats) — You are definitely overkilling it.
Step 3— Create Your personal seasonal style.
Steve Jobs is well known for his black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers combo. You should be known for Yours. Believe it or not — needing to choose what to wear each day gives You decision fatigue because we all can just make so many decisions each day. And if You can make choosing what to wear out of the equation, You will have more brain juice to make better choices in other places.
Instead of scrolling around the web and pressing the “Buy Now” button, same pictures and create a Pinterest board (or any other kind of mood board anywhere else) of what You think You want to look every day. Consider stuff like the level of casual versus representative, because You will be wearing the same stuff to work and the same stuff to a bar crawl on Saturday.
To be honest, that is exactly why I am not a huge fan of formal wear. Yes, it is a social norm but has nothing to do with us as a society, especially when overused like it is today. Anyways, with all personal things considered try to make Your own style. The new vision of You. You need to be recognizable from a mile away. Just like Valdo. In my case — I always wear black/white striped shirts. I also try to buy the same stripped ratio (not too big, not too small), even though fabrics differ and cuts differ too.
Step 4— Throw it away.
Our current generation is really bad at this. Our grandparents were even worse, but their excuse was that it is difficult to get stuff. Now it is easier than ever to get new stuff, so after You have decided on how much of what is enough — throw everything else away. Donate it. Donating it is still a huge burden on the environment as most of the clothes You donate get burned in poor countries anyways. But that’s something You have to do to start decluttering Your closet. To start decluttering Your mind from consumerism.
Trust me — I know how difficult all of this is, I had more T-shirts than I could ever wear and couldn’t throw any of them away. But it is something You have to make Yourself to do if You want to move forward. Do it because it is hard, not because it is easy. You know You will not wear it anyway, don’t lie to Yourself that “You might”… Because You won't.
Step 5 — Buy responsively.
You can’t imagine how much money You will start saving when You will buy a couple of same styled pats, a couple of same styled T-shirts, a couple of same styled hoodies, shirts, dresses etc. And just stick to what You got. It’s even more fun to look for something specific to buy than to just buy spontaneously.
Because You would not believe how difficult it is to find — one simple “Pugsley styled” T-shirt that You like. Not to even mention how difficult it is to find five different ones.
By shopping for actual things You need with actual specifications in mind, You will be using the shops in Your advantage, not the other way around. Because now, shops are getting better and better at luring You into buying stuff You don’t need because You don’t have anything specific in mind. Then You start liking almost everything. And as we know from social media — those who like everything actually like nothing at all and can’t be trusted. Let them be the cash cows of fast fashion — You are better than this.
Step 6 — Don’t judge Yourself.
The worst thing we do is judging ourselves when we do something we shouldn’t. Don’t make the mistake of not allowing Yourself to sin. If that sin is really worth it. Because from time to time, You will find something You love. Something breathtaking. Something unexpected. Something You just know You have to have when You see it.
Just don’t let it get out of hand. Because remember, You have a max on Your closet — If You pass that threshold, You will have to throw something away. So whenever the time comes and You just have to get something unexpected, don’t make Yourself miserable about it. Just get it, but keep Your promises You made to Yourself, environment and Your closet.
Step 7 — Buy better quality. Wear longer.
The real fulfillment comes not when Amazon ships You another box, but when You fall in love with one of the things You have. When You fall in love so deeply that You just can’t take it off. And You wear it every day without skipping a beat (skipping a beat only to wash it). That’s the real fulfillment and You know it.
Because if we all would wear any clothing peace for just 6 months longer, we could influence our carbon footprint significantly. To be honest — Neothinker focuses on this issue so deeply. We aim to improve patterns and quality as much as we can, so our clothes could be worn longer. I know, that calls for bigger prices and lower sales in the long run, but it’s not about money. It’s about the cozy living of the future. Future where we have not what we want, whenever we want it. Because that would be hell. The future where we have as much as we need. And we are all happy with what we have.
We hope these tips helped You to reconsider Your shopping habits and they will help You to grow as a human being. Because in order to grow, You first need to let go of Your biggest attachments. And most of our biggest attachments are collecting dust in our oversized closets. Good luck!