Last time we talked about closet minimalism, I ventured on a six-month shopping ban.

And, I did it! Sort of. Mostly. We’ll get there.

The reasons I gave for instigating the ban, I now realize, aren’t the full truth. While my motivations for culling a streamlined, thoughtful closet are still very real ( less stuff, increased consciousness, easier decision making, yada yada ), the shopping ban forced me to come face to face with a pesky truth I’ve struggled with for a long time: negative self-esteem.

The truth is, shopping ( or rather, consumerism ) presents us with a false solution for wholeness. It promises happiness, but the reality is fleeting. Caroline talks about the connection with negative thought patterns + consumerism more eloquently in this podcast. And as much as I hate to admit it, I must somehow believe buying that new dress or cute pair of shoes or whatever is going to solve my dissatisfaction with my Roman nose and frizzy ass Medusa hair.

Maybe you don’t struggle with this, and that’s great. But it was me, IS me.

All along, I think I knew the root of my constant shopping was the elusive promise of feeling good about myself. Sometimes it even worked! But inevitably, I’d buy those trendy skinny jean overalls that looked so cute on the model ( ugh, whyyyy even? ), put them on, take one look in the mirror and end up in shame spiral fueled by self-loathing and hits from the Cheetos bag.

Deciding to reduce your closet or build a capsule wardrobe will NOT magically bring happiness. Neither will expanding your closet or buying lots of new things. You can’t really be happy unless you do a few things first. Accept who you are, right at this moment. Define your why. And be hella grateful for what you have. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.

That being said, I’m owning up. During my shopping ban, I purchased one pair of sandals and a new jacket + pair of shorts for our upcoming trip to Tanzania + Zanzibar ( !!! ). Were these items “needs?” Kinda sorta not really. They were more “wants.”

But we’re all human here. Mistakes happen, so let’s just keep striving to do better + forget that skinny jean overalls thing ever happened.


“Nothing is going to make you happier than you decide to be right now.” ( Caroline Rector, Unfancy )

Hillary September 24, 2015

YUP. Yup to all of this.

When I first moved to Maryland, I was really lonely. I left all of my friends back home, my boyfriend was in grad school six hours away, I had just started my first real adult job, and I just felt…sad. And displaced. And uncertain. And definitely confused and lonely. I found that, for the first two years at least, I did a lot of shopping—not because I needed things, or even that I particularly wanted them (I actually don’t really like shopping at all), but because it gave me something to DO. Once I figured out that I was only spending money because it made me feel purposeful, I cut that habit off REALLY fast.

This is so on point as always, lady. Well said.

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