For anyone who has ever wondered how to give up shopping for Lent—or how to give up shopping for any reason—this one’s for you. While we obviously talk a great deal about what you should buy, we’re also firm believers that a shopping cleanse is one of the best ways to reinvigorate your style. It forces you to take stock of what you already have and use your creativity to find new ways to wear your existing wardrobe. Don’t ever think that taking a break from shopping will affect your style negatively. It will probably even improve it.
Before we get into the methods to help you give up shopping, the first step is taking on the task of cleaning out your closet for Lent. That way, before embarking on your shopping cleanse, you can take a final opportunity to make any purchases you actually need, e.g., a new pair of black sandals after your only other pair met their demise. This will help to ensure you don’t have to cheat during your shopping cleanse and fall into an unrecoverable shopping binge. Now that you know what the first step is, find out the rest of the methods to help you take a break from shopping below!
According to Psychology Today, the number one science-backed method for resisting temptation (e.g., shopping) isn’t exactly what you’d expect. According to research by David Desteno, Ph.D., the most successful method for curbing impulse shopping is practicing gratitude, love, and compassion. Kurt Gray, a researcher at Harvard University, also condones this method. He says that donating to a worthy cause or even just thinking about helping another person will increase your ability to practice self-control.
Fake a New Wardrobe
By knowing how to repurpose what’s in your closet, you can essentially “fake” a new wardrobe. Check out seven ways to style your existing pieces (the overalls trick is pretty genius).
Take the time to unsubscribe from the loads of e-tailers that send you newsletters on a daily basis since their sole purpose is to tempt you to spend. You can always resubscribe post-cleanse.
Try the Power Pause
The Power Pause is a simple, effective method for curtailing spending. The moniker is pretty self-explanatory: By pausing anywhere from two hours to two days after first spotting the thing you’re lusting after, you’re doing away with emotional shopping and instead shopping consciously. Most of the time, when you pause instead of purchasing something right away, you’ll later find you didn’t really want or need it anyway.
Stop Shopping Impulsively
Next time you feel an urge to make an impulse purchase, try this trick: Think about what you want your wardrobe to look like in six months, one year, and five years. If the item doesn’t fit into the long-term vision you have for your wardrobe, then move on.
Track Your Spending
Eccolo Marble Notebook ($22)
According to Be More With Less, writing down every single thing you buy (just as you would with a food journal) will help you to take stock of your goals and visualize how much money you’re saving during a shopping cleanse—how’s that for motivation? This book is filled with sage advice on how to keep a shopping journal (along with other advice to help you quit shopping).
Curb Emotional Shopping
This first step is to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of emotional shopping. If you realize you are, in fact, guilty of this, make an effort to replace shopping with another hobby, like cooking. It’s also helpful to ask a trusted friend or family member to hold you accountable when you slip up.
Next up, check out the best wardrobe editing tips, all in one place.