By Di Golding
This past Tuesday marked the end of my year-long shopping abstinence and I’ve made some definite decisions about my shopping future. I knew this year would change me but I wasn’t sure how. I wasn’t a super- compulsive shopper before I started, but I didn’t like how much importance I put on my outward appearance or that I’d get uncomfortably covetous when I saw something cute but frivolous in a store window or magazine. I also didn’t take the time to really think about why I was buying something or who my purchases might affect. I’d just have a bad day so I’d buy a pair of shoes, or I’d have a good day and buy a dress to go with my bad-day shoes. Or I’d be bored so I’d get a new bag to complete my bad-day/good-day outfit. The combinations and personal justifications were endless.
In anticipation of my first post-challenge clothing purchase I’ve been doing some research, a process I usually reserve for major purchases like furniture or cars. Over a year ago I would have walked into a store and spent maybe less than a half hour browsing before settling on something I thought would work and then convince myself that if I bought a similar item that was on sale I could spend more on something else. What’s different now is that I’ve decided to make sure my future purchases have more meaning and add real value to my life.
What I love about second-hand, consignment and swap shopping is that the clothes have a past and a future. I know that I’ll get the majority of my ‘new’ clothes this way because it’s just smarter on so many levels. There’s something about a pair of designer jeans that someone else paid for and worked in perfectly that gives me an almost insane amount of glee. But alas, there are certain items I will have to purchase new.
In my last blog post I mentioned my desire for new hiking boots and have since been trying to find a suitable pair online( I’ve pretty much decided on Keen footwear). My criteria have evolved to caring about where and how the item is made, something that wouldn’t have been as important to me before the challenge. It’s encouraging how many companies are trying their best to reduce their carbon footprint, ensure the people making their products have a living wage and genuinely care about being responsible to their customers. It’s what all companies should aspire to and something we, the consumers, can hold them accountable for. Now, instead of spending money mindlessly I’ll look at it as ‘rewarding’ a company for a job well done. I truly believe that each dollar I spend is a vote for how I want the world to be. Silly how it took a year of not shopping to learn how to do it right.