In May 2018 I made a decision not to buy any clothes for 100 days.
The main reason why I did this is because I knew I was getting married in a year, so I wanted to bring the least amount of stuff possible to my new home. To do this, I knew I had to address my full closet and tallboy of clothes.
I also wanted to declutter and simplify my surroundings, because I felt as if I owned too much stuff! Read on to find out how it all went.
My best friend joined me on my decluttering journey
I asked my best friend Cassie to do the challenge with me, partly because I knew she’d be a willing participant, and I was right. We decided that accessories and shoes would not be banned from the challenge, as we’re both pretty creative and the former allowed us to have some fun with our wardrobes.
Shoes were permitted because I have a chronic foot injury that requires me to wear sneakers everyday, and I knew I’d need to replace mine soon. There was, however, an understanding that we could not go overboard with purchasing these items as that would defeat the purpose of the challenge!
We began the challenge on the 1st of June 2018, where we posted our outfits every day on our joint Instagram account as a means to track our progress.
Interestingly, when we started telling our friends what we were doing, and asked them to follow our page, we got a lot of ‘Ha! Good luck’ remarks. I never felt motivated to prove people wrong because I knew I was doing this for myself. On the other hand, we did have a lot of supporters.
What did I learn from simplifying my wardrobe?
I’ve decided to write a bit about some of the key takeaways of the challenge, and how undertaking it helped me to be mindful of simplifying my surroundings, and life.
I forgot how many items of clothes I already owned
I realised that, over the past few years, I was mindlessly adding to my wardrobe, and not taking stock of what I already had before I purchased something else. It may seem obvious to some, but the challenge made me realise by doing this, I was significantly adding to my clutter.
To be honest, this made me feel a little guilty, that I’d spent money on things that I didn’t wear, and that I was mindlessly contributing to my future tasks of throwing out clothes.
I am, however, pleased to report that I did not find anything that still had the price tag attached to it.
I experienced major first world problems
I didn’t have a ‘Last shopping session’ prior to the challenge, which I soon regretted. (Note: there was an understanding not to go overboard if we did have a Last Supper, as that would also defeat the purpose of the challenge!)
Most of my clothes were old and weren’t my current style. Some items were faded or didn’t fit right, and I only had two winter jackets that helped me break up my outfits. One of these jackets didn’t fit right, so it was annoying to wear.
This may be a bit of a first world problem, but I wasn’t comfortable posting these boring outfits to the world as I didn’t feel like they were a true reflection of my style.
First world problems aside, this forced me to be more creative with my outfits, and I found I was wearing combinations that I wouldn’t normally wear and many that I wouldn’t wear again.
I hated taking a photo for Instagram every day
This was my least favourite part of the challenge. I spend 45-50 minutes on the train each morning, and if I’d taken the photo before I got on the train, the first 20-25 minutes was occupied by uploading my photo with a caption.
It’s amazing how long it can take to write a caption and add hashtags. This was eating into my ‘relaxation time’, or in other words, the time I took to stare out the window and take in my surroundings, or read a book.
Although most of my long-winded posts discussed the lessons I’d learnt so far, I started to feel as if I was coming across as a narcissistic Millennial because I was talking too much about myself.
Men’s opinions differed to my female friends and family
My husband, brother and male colleagues at work thought the challenge wouldn’t be hard, making me come to the realisation that shopping for clothes is more of a ‘female domain’.
I saved so much money
I’m good at saving, so I did not embark on this challenge to save money. I also went in knowing that I couldn’t replace my shopping void with another habit, as this would defeat the purpose of decluttering and simplifying my surroundings.
As I stuck to my guns, I’m pleased to report that I saved so much money!
I was astounded to see that this helped me to reach my yearly saving goals so much earlier.
It also made me realise how reducing mindless purchases and paying more attention to what I did own helped me increase my home deposit savings quicker.
How much better is it to put money towards things like that, than to adding to a pile of stuff you eventually forget about, and therefore probably didn’t need in the first place?
I only spent $17 on accessories
I spent $10 on two scarves from Best & Less, and $7 on a Kmart one.
I didn’t buy any shoes. I did need a new pair, particularly towards the end of the challenge, but was having trouble finding something comfortable (I have nerve damage and a bursa in my right foot and need to wear custom orthotics).
I didn’t buy a tonne of clothes after the challenge (when people kept saying I would).
When the challenge ended, I wanted new clothes SO BADLY. As my challenge primarily focused on decluttering, I knew that if I were to do what people thought I would, then I wouldn’t have learnt much during the 100 days.
However, I didn’t see anything I liked at the shops, so I didn’t buy something new for the sake of buying it.
I bought my first item of clothing twenty days after the challenge ended. I’m pleased to say that I do wear these items regularly.
Would I do the challenge again?
Yes, in a heart beat. In fact, from early October to late December 2018, I went 73 days without purchasing any clothes!
I learnt so much about myself during this challenge, and I’m always trying to make an effort to apply my ‘declutter and simplify my surroundings’ mantra to any area of my life.
I also spend less time looking for my next purchase and time on other things such as talking to loved ones, cooking, reading, meditating, going for strolls, or in other words, non-materialistic pursuits.
I’d love to hear if you have done a similar challenge?