Anybody out here been going on a shopping spree or two in the past few months??
If you answered “Yes!”, I would say I’m not really surprised. In conditions of general uncertainty and stress, impulse shopping might seem like a great way to blow off some steam. Not to mention when brands keep bombarding you with sales and offers.
And far be it from me to tell anyone what or what not to do- especially when you need a little relief!
But I think it’s also important to be realistic about the ways erratic shopping behavior can impact you. Especially when you consider there are quite a few costs that hide behind a seemingly innocent shopping spree… Besides the obvious, monetary one!
And luckily, there are also much better alternatives you can employ, that will make you much happier long-term:
Cost on your mental health
If you think an overflowing wardrobe doesn’t impact your mental well-being, picture the following scenario:
You’re half-asleep, trying to sip your coffee with one hand, and get dressed & made-up, pack your bag, lunch (and mask) for work with the other. You have at least 4 half-outfits laid on your bed, each missing something.
Stress, anxiety, exasperated shuffles through hangers and bottoms of drawers, muttering under your breath. In the end, landing on the same outfit of a random pair of jeans and a humdrum tee, before getting out the door.
Still, you’re now probably running late… frazzled and annoyed, before your day has even started.
Creating a shopping list that suits your existing wardrobe’s needs.
And then (even harder, but that much more important)- actually sticking to it 🙂
If you want a leg up on this, make sure you download the Shopping List Printable in You and Your Personal Style (Lesson 3)! I created it specifically for the moments you might feel reallly tempted by a new item, regardless of whether you actually need it or not.
Opt for the list if you are sick of repeating the scenario above on a loop, and are ready to start your mornings feeling cool, calm and collected. Not to mention, in control of your looks, no matter how early in the AM you have to compose them!
Cost on the environment
By succumbing to one shopping spree after the next, you are not only creating more clutter for yourself, but eventually for the environment.
Because everything that gets used also gets discarded sooner or later. And the more you buy- clothing, accessories, bags and shoes- the more likely it is that it’s going to be sooner rather than later.
And let’s be fair- the over production of cheap bits and pieces in unsafe conditions (aka fast fashion) affects not only the environment, but eventually each of us individually.
Now, if you want to counteract this, you can apply a few of these principles of sustainable fashion consumption. Or you can do something as simple as caring for your existing clothes (follow my guide here!) to prolong their lifespan.
And because, eventually, that lifespan will reach its end, a really great way to alleviate the strain that unwanted garments are putting on landfills is to recycle them.
And there are many ways to do so!
You could, for example:
- Resell clothing in good condition (double $win$!)
- Hold swap parties with friends or colleagues
- Donate to the less fortunate, to charities or organisations you know make sure the items end up where they are actually needed
- Use old cloth T-shirts as cleaning rags
- Repurpose some pieces as art projects (a collage moodboard for your home office?)
- Look for fabric recycling centers nearby- all threads and scraps have value!
This one is closely tied to the monetary cost of an excessive shopping session.
But the opportunity cost is actually painful not only because you will have spent your money on frivolous items, but you will also miss that money when you encounter a truly great piece that you might go head over heels for.
In addition, the opportunity cost of a shopping session also encompasses the time and energy you are dedicating to it. Time and energy which could be very well spent if the items you buy are high quality, fit your style and taste, and fill an existing need.
Otherwise, this expenditure will only lead to another, as you then have to dedicate more time and energy to figuring out what to do with the items you don’t want, and to clearing out space (more on this in a bit).
And also to replacing them with more suitable ones.
The solution to minimize your opportunity cost?
Minimizing impulse shopping! Instead of grabbing anything and everything just because it’s there, try giving yourself the time to look around.
Compare and contrast different brands and sources, because in the end, you will be much more likely to end up with a beautiful and functional piece!
Cost of space
Not surprisingly, the cost of space is quite a major one when it comes to accumulating too many items. And it’s a cost that ties in very closely to the first point.
Especially with housing becoming more and more expensive, it can be quite difficult to find a space large enough to accommodate both you and your piles of clothing, bags, shoes and accessories.
Not to mention, there are more important things to fill your home with than just clothing!
The solution here:
Either adopt a more minimalist approach to your closet (without necessarily a minimalist aesthetic too- as I elaborated here). Which means buying less, using for longer, and ruthlessly curating your closet on a regular basis.
Again, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and not quite sure how best to do a wardrobe overhaul, my course also tackles this subject, and gives you a very practical methodology.
Or you can try and get crafty with your storage solutions!
You may have also already experienced the magic power of vacuum storage bags for your clothes. But even though they save a ton of space, they are not exactly the best for the garments themselves.
So you can instead try to:
- Hang your hangers vertically, using the horizontal bar to hang another from it (like a cascade)
- Vertically double your space with an extra hanging rod
- Raise your bed, in order to add a storage space underneath if non-existent
- Buy dividers for your drawers and shelves- seriously helpful for seeing more of what you own- and therefore, wearing more!
Cost of creativity and style development
Last but certainly not least, as you may have already gleaned from the previous points, erratic shopping behaviors also impact your styling creativity.
And unfortunately, they may even stifle your joy at putting together new, interesting looks…
Because, ironically, the more clothing you have- but which can’t see or reach often- the less you will actually try new and interesting combinations. And instead, will likely end up keeping a handful of looks on rotation.
Still, it’s enough to invest a bit of time, effort and a little money in understanding your own personal style, to finally get in touch with your actual style wants and needs!
It’s a small initial investment which will help you understand and elevate your looks, from one month to the next, and from one year to the following!
Plus, by learning how to employ the best sources of style inspiration for YOU personally (Lesson 4 of my course), you will be able to restart that creativity and enthusiasm.
Because, in the words of designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs, “Life’s too short to wear boring clothes”!
I’m hoping this post has helped you understand the importance of healthy shopping habits. Not only for that one moment when you’re actually purchasing something, but also for your overall happiness and relationship with your style, long-term.
And since a picture is worth 1000 words, all the imagery in this article comes from You and Your Personal Style!
I wanted to give you a little taste of the course, as I built it specifically to support you in more confidently expressing yourselves through your style, and in creating a better relationship with it. (Which is an inextricable part of setting good shopping habits!)
I hope you decide to give it a go (especially since it comes with some pretty sweet perks😉)
And if you want even more stylish updates directly in your Inbox, make sure to join The Style Club! There are already plenty of free goodies waiting there for you.