How To Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need

A Starter Guide to Slow Fashion

Karen Mac
toasting good
Published in
4 min readAug 28, 2019


We all want to be more mindful consumers.

When it comes to our clothing, we hear about issues like fast fashion, workers’ rights, and climate change, and we want to be apart of the solution — not the problem. But we’re also overwhelmed by advertising, cheap prices, and a culture that tells us that we need more “stuff” to be happy.

How do we say no to a pace of life that puts trendiness and consumption over the people and natural resources that sustain this way of living?

Enter slow fashion.

Slow fashion is a movement that honors our relationship with clothing and its production. By purchasing ethically made, versatile, and lasting clothing, we are intentional about saying no to on-demand consumerism.

When I first started learning about the pitfalls of fast fashion, I got overwhelmed pretty quickly. I’d spend hours trying to sort out the brands that were actually ethical from the ones with great marketing campaigns, and I’d obsess over my buying choices.

But I’ve now realized that the easiest way to approach ethical and sustainable living starts by simply slowing down. Here are three small ways to get started:

Reconnect with your clothes

The slow fashion movement is about reconnecting with your clothes, rather than seeing them as items to wear once and throw away.

Instead: Before buying more stuff, take some time to reflect on your closet.

Conduct a “clothing audit” by going through your wardrobe and asking yourself the following questions:

  • When did I buy this item?
  • How many times have I worn it?
  • Why do I like this piece?
  • How can I use it better?

You may discover some forgotten pieces or figure out new ways to use your clothing. But more importantly, you’ll develop a better understanding of what you actually need or want.

Say no to the information overload

How many times have you bought something simply because you fell prey to a sense of false urgency generated by that promotional email, social media post, or flash sale?

Instead: Try limiting the amount of “noise” you receive from retailers.

Consider unsubscribing from certain newsletters that you’re no longer interested in buying from, turning off “push notifications” from your phone, or looking at promotional emails only at certain hours of the day.

Set aside dedicated times for purchasing

Saying yes to slow fashion doesn’t mean that you have to stop buying things altogether. Instead, I’ve found that when I set aside dedicated times for thinking through what I actually need & finding ethical options, it ensures that the items I actually purchase are more well-loved.

Instead: Pick one day a month for buying and planning your purchases, and stick to it.

Be a more intentional consumer by looking at these items:

I love Karen’s tip to batch your spending, rather than purchasing indiscriminately. I like to choose the purpose for my spending and be intentional about it.

For example, with the fall season creeping in, it’s helpful to do some shopping for transitional pieces! Here are some great end of summer and fall transitional pieces from Social Enterprise Alliance members.

toasting good is a conscious lifestyle platform powered by Social Enterprise Alliance. This platform’s mission is to inspire a movement of people passionate about social impact and eager to create change with their daily actions.

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Karen Mac
toasting good

trying to be a better human in a global world