Confessions of a Recovering Shopaholic


clothes pegsAlison writes:

I have a great friend called Jacqueline*. She has the most infectious laugh. She’s fun to be with and always looks amazing! Jacqueline has decided to buy no new clothes this year so I interviewed her to find out what motivated her to do this and to see how it’s going. She was very honest with me and told me that she feels she’s really taking back control.

Why did you decide to buy no new clothes this year?

Basically I had no wardrobe space left to store anything else! I initially thought the solution was to go through all my clothes, shoes and bags and de-clutter, but it’s really difficult to do this while you’ve still got new things coming in.  And even more difficult bearing in mind I have a problem letting go of things, especially things that aren’t damaged!

I have so much to wear without buying new – buying stuff is nothing to do with not having enough to wear. I think ‘Wow that would look good, ooh, that’s my colour or that’s the new fashion- I’ve got to have it!’   I think it’ll make me feel and look better.   This is what makes me buy it in the first place; it’s like a mini addiction.    It’s the excitement of something new. Once I’m in possession of the new item I often see sense and return it and feel relieved!

So what did you do practically?

My weakness is people tempting me, something at the till or an email in my inbox. I started in January to cancel catalogues that come through the post. I also unsubscribed from White Stuff who were sending me “20% off” emails, which arrived with attractive pictures. It was just too easy to click on the item, worry they might sell out in my size and buy it. Somehow the emails carry the subconscious message “it’ll look great and I’ll look great”.   If I’m at the shops now I don’t go in to avoid being tempted. I need to unsubscribe from M&S too. It’s made me identify the things in my life that draw me in or make me spend money. (This includes objet d’art for the home as well).

How did the decision to buy no new clothes make you feel?

I felt relieved and up for the challenge. It is the purchasing of new things that can give you a short-lived boost or high (similar to eating chocolate!) rather than wearing and enjoying what I already have.  I never get rid of the ‘old’ clothes’ as there’s nothing wrong with them; hopefully I can now enjoy wearing them.

I saved an awful lot of time as I always used to buy extra sizes to ensure the correct fit and then spend a lot of time returning them to the post office or to the shop. I’ve also saved time and hassle checking to see if I’ve been refunded correctly and then following up if I haven’t. It really simplifies your life.

I used to think ‘I’m saving 20%’ but as my husband pointed out I was actually spending 80% 😉 so I’m saving money too.

It’s like taking back control of your life and not letting consumerism control you.


*Jacqueline is a pseudonym