Friday, 30 June 2017

#6MonthsWithoutShopping: Lessons From a Former Shopaholic

It's here! The end of June! After completing my #6monthsWithoutShopping challenge without a single fashion purchase, I think I'm officially able to call myself a former shopaholic!

I love shopping and bargain hunting a lot. Getting together with friends would be an excuse to shop, I'd shop during my lunch breaks, shop when a sale email came whenever I got the chance basically, and often that meant shopping more than once a week. I'm an emotional shopper too - happy, sad, bored, all were excuses to shop. My parents taught me the value of money so I wasn't spending huge amounts and never more than I earned, but I suspect I was shopping a bit more than average. Especially after discovering designer handbags 😂

Away From The Blue blog: lessons from a former shopaholic #6monthsWithoutShopping no shop challenge

How My Wardrobe Grew

awayfromtheblue wardrobe progress 2008
Wardrobe at my parents 2008

My wardrobe expanded from a single wardrobe at my parents to a wardrobe and a half after getting married and moving in with hubby, then adding on an extra clothes rack and eventually taking over an entire room filled with clothes and bags. I routinely broke the clothes racks from overloading them! I had way too much stuff. It was when my 'wardrobe room' was turned into Toddler T's nursery that I did my first big declutter. I got frustrated at the amount of new with tags items in my wardrobe and resolved to shop better.

The year Toddler T was born I realised if I was going to be adding things to my now limited wardrobe space I'd best be sure I would get use from them - and so started thinking more critically about what I bought.

I attempted a few 'tricks' to help tame my wardrobe and my shopping.

away from blue wardrobe progress 2012
Wardrobe 2012

Why #6MonthsWithoutShopping?

I covered it in more detail here, but basically it was another 'trick' to hopefully curb my shopping and help me use my existing wardrobe more, so I could wear more of what I own 30 times (idea from The True Cost movie). I wasn't sure I could do an entire year, 6 months seemed more reasonable.

away from the blue wardrobe room handbag wall 2014
Wardrobe 2014

How did I manage no shopping for 6 months?

I couldn't make it 31 days without shopping before, so I'm just as amazed as you are that I made it a whole 6 months without spending anything on fashion. There are a few things that helped make me successful this time around that I thought I'd share, in case you want to do your own no-shop challenge for any length of time.

  • Major life change. I mentioned it briefly on the blog, but the later half of 2016 was a bit scary, particularly in December when Baby Boy was admitted to hospital. The next few months involved re-prioritisation and shopping was just not on my radar.

  • Tell people about it. Of course I shared my intentions online on the blog, but I told everyone else about it. Friends, family, everyone was 'in' on it to help me with my goals. I'd meet up with them other places instead of defaulting to shopping as an activity.

  • The long timeframe. I didn't want to be that person that caved in the first half of the challenge, and by then I'd had 3 successful months behind me so didn't want to invalidate it by buying something in the last 3 months. It actually got easier the longer it went on.

  • Timing is everything. The challenge started in summer, and after an autumn full of heat-waves I was thoroughly bored and uninspired by my current wardrobe. When the temperatures eventually dropped, I got to unpack all my winter items and feel like I had something 'new' in my wardrobe. As I don't pack away much of my summer clothes, I wouldn't have had the same enjoyment if I'd started this in winter and had to box away half my wardrobe when it got warmer.

  • Get another hobby. I've always said shopping was a hobby for me - instead I took that time and channeled it into something else. I recently started a volunteer job as an example.

  • Limit your time. Similar to the point above, as Baby Boy grew and he and his big brother napped less, I had less time to shop. Instead of online shopping on the computer when they went to bed, I'd be trying to write a blog post or read the blogs I didn't get to through the day.

  • Have a reward. I purposely asked for (and gratefully recieved) a lot of gift cards for Christmas. It was my 'reward' at the end of the challenge. Didn't make sense to spend money in my favourite stores when I had gift cards just waiting to be spent in July!

  • Practice makes perfect. I didn't always meet my goals when I did No Buy July but I did learn more about my shopping habits - when I was inclined to shop and break the challenge and how I could avoid doing that in future. They were lessons rather than 'failures'.

away from blue wardrobe 2015
Wardrobe 2015

What Next?

I have the gift cards ready to go, I've had 6 months to put together an updated clothing wishlist...but I'm not going to be marking the 1st July with some purchases. I'm going to do #noBuyJuly17 instead, making it 7 months without shopping.

Why another no shop challenge?

As I mentioned above, my parents taught me the value of money and I'd frequently buy bargain pieces to fit my budget. 30 wears and the 6 months without shopping has taught me the value of quality: to have a wardrobe that I love, that I wear often, and where every piece is something I'd want to wear 30 times. It doesn't matter if something was $5 or $50, as long as it's something that's actually getting worn.

I think I have so much further to go to really get value from what I already own in my wardrobe, so I'm not looking at shopping again any time soon. I calculated if I wore some things 30 times I'd have 11 years worth of outfits. Not really feeling the urge to add to that number at the moment! Buying more just means I'll wear the existing things I already love less.

I'm not saying I'm never going to shop again, just that I'm content with the wardrobe options I have at the moment and don't yet see the need to add anything new. I'd like to wear more of my recently unboxed winter pieces before I buy any new ones.

I'm definitely a former shopaholic!

Away From The Blue Blog 2017 current wardrobe
Wardrobe 2017

Have you ever attempted a no-shop challenge? Do you find my tips useful? Or did you just scroll in amazement at my ever-changing wardrobe?

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  1. Well done Mica!!! I don't know if I could ever do it, I just cannot stop buying clothes, I always find something I like. My parents taught me the value of money too, and thankfully I was never attracted to expensive brands but if I see a sale or good deal, I need to have it. My closet is going to explode any minute now and on the top of that, I have my mum making funny comments every time she visits, like 'do you live inside a boutique?' or 'is this your closet or a store in the mall'???. Haha!! Happy Friday lovely!! x


  2. Mica that is awesome, well done you! I know publishing a budget post every month really made me much more mindful of what I was spending and whether I NEEDED the item (answer more often than not: nope). I do have the odd month where I don't buy anything but I've never tried to a long period of time like this. Like you, I enjoy browsing and will always look if % off deals come through via email.

    Going for a no spend July makes sense as well, to avoid a gift card blow out on day 1, ha ha! Good luck and enjoy x

  3. You did so well, Mica! :) It's actually hard not to spend on anything especially when you're in the mall & stores. Though, shopping had been made easy through online shopping sites nowadays! I need to declutter and take away some stuff I do not need anymore. I'm glad I cam across your blog post! :) Now I'd have to remind myself to keep a piece which I'd be willing to wear at least 30 times! Take care!

    Hear from you soon!

    Airish | Gorgeous Glance

  4. Your tips are definitely useful! I don't buy clothing as much, but that's because I really struggle to find something I like, especially now that it's all summer trend only. However, I still have a wardrobe full of items which I rarely wear, so I definitely want to try wearing them all atleast once or twice a month too :) xx

    Velvet Blush

  5. I've done 3 months and 6 months shopping challenges. However with so many things in the closet, its difficult to accomplish my goals, specially: wear all the unworn !!!
    I think you've done a great job Mica !! The most useful tip for me is how you make it a point to wear it al least twice. If I followed that rule I would not have so many items hanging there with tags on a year later.

  6. I'm so pleased for you that you have managed to complete this. You really have done amazing! Have a great weekend.

    Gemma x

  7. I did makeup and skincare no buys frequently, and I had the feeling that they got easier each time I did them. A fashion no buy was never on the cards, as I don´t shop much clothes anyway.
    You can be really proud of yourself, and even better if you picked up a few things along the way that make being mindful in the time to come easier.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  8. This is truly inspiring! I don't know if I could do this challenge, but it's probably something that I should attempt. (I'm a serious thrifter, but my wardrobe is bursting at the seams as well! But good luck to you and your family!

  9. Awesome job Mica! I agree getting another hobby definitely helps. I'm so glad for you and how you are shopping your closet to get the most value and love out of what you already have. Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a great weekend!


  10. MICA!!!!
    You are absolutely AMAZING and such an inspiration!! You are always mention your shopping challenges, and you completed the longest and hardest one!! It really makes me want to try it too!! Thank you for sharing all of your tips - I'm sure they will be helpful if I try #NOBUYJULY!
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend!! Again, I'm so inspired!!!
    xx, Sam

  11. Wow, congrats, girl! I don't think I could go 6 months without shopping. Actually, I don't think I could go a week haha!

    Have a lovely day!

    Kris |

  12. This is such an inspiring post! I did 'no shopping month' and 'no shopping season' in the past and it was a great experience. I'm not on a shopping ban right now or anything like that but I just realized that I didn't buy anything clothes related last month. I just don't feel the need to go shopping anymore. I think that with 'shopping our closet' and learning to get the most out of it, we can really improve not only our credit balance but also our confidence. When we really feel good in clothes we wear, then we are more confident...and I discovered that this confidence is more about learning what works for us than about buying new stuff all the time.

  13. Wow Mica!! You've done so amazingly well! You're not only a former shopaholic (I agree that does seem to be the case for you now!), but also my shopping hero! I am having a harder time ignoring the real reasons behind why I'm shopping (emotions, self-sabotage, etc.) and am debating doing a no-buy month sometime soon myself.

  14. I have been spending less on fashion because I am spending more on my business at the moment. But I really do love shopping.
    I can see that you really really loved it.
    And I find it really refreshing that you are so honest about it.
    I tend to spend more on items and buy less - I haven't given anything away in a while.
    That is my form of being environmentally friendly.
    That said I think I have a problem with shoes.
    I think I have changed a bit too - I need to buy more jeans but I don't really want to go to the shops in case I buy other stuff.
    You have done amazingly well!
    And I really love your tips.
    I might tell someone that I was thinking of buying more jeans and see if that means I spend less.
    Set to Glow

  15. Such a compelling post! I love seeing your wardrobe, so well organized, so I commend you on all of this! You show excellent self control and this is a must read for any blogger. I, too, have alot of clothes, but I really enjoy putting pieces together when I get dressed, and I do tend to wear everything. I could never go 6 months without shopping! Amazing, and I must say I love your bag collection, too Mica!
    Having a family, and less room, is reason enough! I did very little shopping then.
    xo, Elle

  16. Congratulations Mica! What a huge accomplishment!
    I'm currently attempting a No Buy July, where I don't want to purchase any fashion or beauty products, so far, day 2 and all is going well :)

    Kez |

  17. Congratulations, Mica!! Thanks for being so open and honest in this post. I needed to read this after having gone off the rails shopping wise a bit of late. Enjoy every piece of your edited wardrobe!

    SSG xxx

    SSG xxx

  18. Amazing post!

    Mihaailo |

  19. This is awesome! You've done so well to not shop for 6 whole months. I don't shop too much anymore, as shipping all my stuff gave me a minor freakout, but I still don't think I could go for 6 months. Maybe I should give it a try!

  20. Thanks for the amazing tips! I certainly need to stop spending so much money on clothes and makeup

    Vanessa x |

  21. Amazing result, Mica! I love your new closet and wardrobe. I also changed my shopping habits when my daughter was born. I guess kids do that to you. :-)

  22. That's awesome that you were able to finish off 6 months!!! I've never had a ban as such but I have never been addicted to shopping. I actually hate shopping haha. I've been trying to do a capsule wardrobe for awhile - haven't exactly formalised it but just trying to be creative with the things I already have!

  23. Wow you go girl! I definitely need to try some of your tips! I have been trying to limit my shopping as well!

    <3 Shannon 
    Upbeat Soles

  24. 6 Months? Oh my god girl, how did you do it? I am so jealous of you!

    My Vogue Style |

  25. I found these tips really helpful! Might try my own No Buy July!

  26. Mica, you should be so proud of yourself!! I think you have some great, practical tips that anyone would do well to follow, even if they're not following a 6 month no-shop. I am always inspired by the ways you can remix an item and show all the ways you can creatively wear something.
    Due to my budget, I'm definitely not a shopaholic, but there are ways I could shop smarter, so thanks for the tips!! Have a great week :)

  27. Wow! Congrats! As a current shopaholic I understand how much self control this probably took to complete. I don't know about 6 months, but I'm considering maybe doing 1 month with no shopping.

  28. Wow! Great job! I think I might join you in that challenge! I need to curb my habit too, but not just for fashion. I buy SO MUCH stuff!! Thanks for the inspiration! #mummymondays

  29. You are so amazing Mica! I have tried it once before but I couldn't even get pass my first month. That's amazing!

    Jessica |

  30. Mica, you did an excellent job and I'm excited that you're taking on 7 more months! That is awesome. I did a similar challenge with makeup. I'm reviewing everything I already have in my collection. I made a couple of purchases, but not a lot. You are an inspiration and this challenge will help a lot of people.

  31. Some great tips here! I actually have the opposite problem when it comes to clothes at least, I live in the country so I can't shop whenever I feel like it. Probably a really good thing for me! I always have a wish list though so when I do go into the city it's to buy specific things I've had my eye on for ages or want to add to my wardrobe. Well done you for completing your challenge!

  32. Great tips here - I'm not sure I could do it!! I could do a month I think...I've recently had a huge wardrobe clear out and it's so satisfying!!
    Em x

  33. I recently moved and while packing I saw how much I actually had. I donated two big bags of clothes that I haven't worn in years. That was my sign to pull back on the shopping. Thanks for these tips!

  34. Totally wardrobe scrolled, lol. I'm impressed you went 6 months without buying any clothes though. I know you mentioned you have an updated clothing wishlist, but to be honest I'm curious what you took off the list? It's easy to pursue the list of wants, but I'm curious why you decided to take items off your list? Do they not match your personal style anymore? Do you not think you'll get a ton of wear out of them? What were the items?

    Since going back to work I haven't gone clothes shopping in almost a month and a half. To be honest, I don't really miss it either. I may consider doing a 6 month challenge down the road as well, but I want to whittle my wardrobe a little more first.

  35. You got it, girl! Congrats! I can relate so much to your story as I used to buy clothes every month, when I actually didn't need them. I work from home, so it's not like I need a different business outfit for each day of the week. But lately, I'm find myself taking advantage of the sales more often and always make a wish list of what I actually need.
    Thanks for the inspiration


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