Why I put a moratorium on buying new clothes


So last week I told you all about how I came to read The life changing magic of tidying up. If you missed that post, just click here to catch up.

I had a few epiphanies from that book one was about “stuff”. Specifically – how we accumulate stuff and why the buddhist monks might be on to something.

You see, as I’ve been recovering from burnout  I’ve been paying a lot of attention to habits and what kind of things contribute to that feeling of overwhelm and fatigue for me (while also hearing my clients’ stories too and yep you guessed it, there are some common themes here). So one of the issues for me is the piles of “things to do”. It’s probably a remnant from my upbringing because my dad was a bit of a workaholic and he instilled that strong work ethic in us kids and one of those values was “not being able to rest until the jobs are done”. So consequently

  • I see the pile of dishes on the dirty side of the sink and I feel a sinking feeling.
  • I see cluttered surfaces and I feel like there’s no space.
  • I see a pile of washing and I feel the list of things to do – piling up.

All of a sudden the creative energy I had to do fun things with gets zapped by the time I’ve done the job.

In the last week as I’ve been stuck in bed with this mega cold it occurred to me yet again how much simpler life is with less “stuff” (and thank god we’d Konmari’d a lot of stuff at the beginning of the year).

Let me explain.

Have you ever gone through a period of wearing every pair of knickers in your drawer and getting to the stage where you literally have to do the washing or else you’ve got no underwear? Or socks, or your work or school uniform…. or clothes in general?

We’ve reached that stage a few times (especially since having kids – omg we had a few bouts of gastro where we were all so exhausted that “luckily?” we had enough clothes, towels and sheets to keep us going for a while. The downside? Well the last thing we felt like doing after a very draining week was all that washing and all that folding.

So after reading Marie’s book it occurred to me that having less stuff meant having less stuff to do because of it.

  • Less dust collectors on the mantle piece – literally means less things to collect dust (and it makes it a lot easier to do the dusting because I don’t have to lift up so many things).
  • Less dishes in the cupboard means less dishes to wash (and stack in the dishwasher).
  • Less toys the kids have – less toys to pick up.
  • Less clothes – less clothes to wash.

You get the picture?

So I decided to put a moratorium on buying new clothes. As it is, I’ve still got far too many for my needs and I think I could go through a Konmari round 2 and still have a full drawer.

Ultimately, the reason I decided to not buy another 6 pack of undies, or another 6 pack of socks and another couple of t.shirts is because I don’t want to have to be able to go another week before having to do the washing. Because what that actually looks like is a massive pile of clothes that needs to be washed, hung out on the line, brought in and folded. It looks like 4-5 baskets worth of washing, hanging out, bringing in and folding.

And I realised that with my waxing and waning energy levels at the moment, it’s actually more sustainable to maintain a smaller quantity of clothes for myself and the kids too. Less washing, less folding all makes the task smaller, less overwhelming and less of an energy zapper because it’s dealt with quicker.

There are other benefits too – like not contributing to landfill by creating more waste when these unnecessary extra things have run their course, saving money and being able to appreciate what you have even more because it’s not clouded and surrounded by all the extra stuff you really don’t need.

So I’d love to hear from you.  Have you come to this conclusion too? Or has this given you a light bulb moment?

I’m dedicating this year (or as long as it takes) to making changes that make a difference in my life and health, be they in terms of cleaning, cooking, making time for fun, making time for healing and other lifestyle habits. Because while the nutrition and biochemistry is important so is this other “stuff” because when it’s out of whack, often your health is too. I’m thinking of doing this by creating a “Books that change your life”  book club  to start working around these issues so if you’re interested in coming on this journey too, let me know.

That’s all for this week though, next week I’ll share the other big epiphany I had from The life changing magic of tidying up.

Happy de-cluttering!