Sale! REA! Extra priced! Black Friday! free deliveries! pay 1000 euro’s and get 5 euro’s ‘for free’. ONLY NOW!
Not a day that goes by and some sort of retail- or interior chain is screaming at me to shop their goods. Their beautiful, in sweatshop produced, items oozing must-have luxury, 2 seconds of happiness and the idea that if I don’t shop, I no longer belong. Just let the money flow. It’s crawling through my Instagram pages, my Facebook feeds and even in my work inbox (god damn where’d you get this e-mail?!). And quite frankly I’ve had enough. I’m quitting.
The entire internet is sprawling with fashion blogs. Shoplogs. Shopvlogs. Shop! Shop! Shop! Do you really believe that £5,- top you’re so proudly presenting will still be ‘soooo adorable’ in a month? in a week? I must admit, I had never thought much about purchasing low-cost-big-volume ‘just because it’s on sale’. But I still did it! Subconsciously. Last summer I stood IN LINE for a Swedish Hasbeens pop-up sale. Because I desperately needed apparently not one, but two pairs of (admittedly gorgeous) sandals. And thus over time, my wardrobes and cabinets filled itself with stuff. But all the more I’m thinking ‘Ellen, would you really have bought it for its original price? Does it fit your house/body/head perfectly?’ More often than not, the answer is no.
In two weeks I’m moving apartments, and I just don’t know how I did it, but I’ve collected an array of ‘stuff’ over 2 years of living in Stockholm. Upon moving to Sweden 3,5 years ago I only had 3 moving boxes, a chair, a bed and a table. That’s it. I can guarantee it will be at least twenty boxes now. 5 of those filled with clothes. And then I’ve already given 3 boxes away to good-will.
The extend of craziness around shopping is driving me all the further from it. I avoid all shoppingcenters ’till 5 PM. Weekends are a no-go. And when co-workers tell me they stood in-line for the Balmain collection I’m secretly thinking ‘wow, is that how you spend your thursday mornings?! slaying yourself through the crowds, jumping onto the first piece of clothing you can find? and then grabbing onto it like it’s your last IV-drip?’ And then the realization hit me. 5 years ago, I DID THAT! But it’s not the brick-and-mortar stores that worry me. It’s the internet.
It’s quite honestly scary how consumed I can sometimes spend my nights trolling Housedoctor or Lagerhaus’ websites looking at various bowls or posters. And it’s in there that I really see the issue. The time I spend wasting on shopping. I ponder for minutes, hours looking for the best deal on an item. I check price comparison websites and if there’s a 10 euro difference I feel like I’ve won. The next three clicks, a creditcard check and 5 minutes and… I’m done! I can pick it up at my own convenience at the postoffice the next morning. And this is where I feel my biggest issue is. The wasted time and not realizing that no, I don’t need yet another thing stuffing my place. When I see a gorgeous designer chair all I can think is how lovely it would look in the corner. A corner that already has a designer chair and kicked its previous designerbuddy off its place. No I’m done. I’m drawing the line.
Last week I started my two month SHOPSTOP. No clothing, no interior, no oh-but-it’s-oh-so-dark-I-could-really-use-a-new-coat-to-make-my-day-all-bright-and-shiney-and-christmas-is-coming-and-I-need-a-new-dress-and-also-a-pair-of-shoes-for-newyears. Nothing for myself. I do realize december and january are the most difficult months to do this, because A. Christmas and B. January sale (I’ve been eyeing a Balenciaga bag for about 7 months now and I know it will be on sale, what are you doing Ellen?!).
Now, I must admit, in the past year I’ve already dialed down my consumption quite a lot, so it’s not a cold turkey project for me. My money looks much much much better on the bank, so with pricey purchases I’ve already ‘denied’ myself a bit. But I need to take some distance. Distance from the crazy Swedes, and Dutchmen, rolling extreme amounts of cash over the counter. And it’s not just the low-end sales I’m talking about. All of Stockholm is walking around with £3000,- Chanel bags like it’s nothing. It’s come to a point I don’t even like Chanel anymore. Can you believe that? (for all fashionista’s reading this, yes I know, you will unfollow me).
Now, some readers might think: how much does she regularly shop? And the thruth is, I’m an average consumer. I barely have the time to actually physically shop, but say a sweater or dress here and there. I’m certainly not at the end of the spectrum. 2 weeks ago Scandinavia’s biggest Mall opened 3 kilometers from my place and pretty much everyone I know has already shopped there (besides me, I felt pretty good about that). The extreme consumption is just plain overkill. People are actually increasing their mortgage and taking on 12% interest loans in order to fulfill their shoppingaddications. So no, it’s time for a reality check.
And for the economists reading this: don’t worry, I won’t completely stop consuming. I’m still allowing myself to buy gifts for others. And on restaurants, drinks and coffee’s I’m not placing any restrains. Basically all food and activities are allowed. Moreover, I want to actively spend my money in those areas, ’cause I want to see the other side of Stockholm. The Stockholm filled with restaurants, quirky innergardens, arthalls and musea. Have lavish lunches at Odenplan or the Photography museum. The Stockholm that is actually enjoyable. Not the greed-filled cashregisters that cling everywhere. For the next two months it won’t be my wallet filling that drawer, as I will gladly, happily, quietly enjoy my glass of wine 2 streets further (, still dreaming of that Balanciaga bag).
Note: I’d like to think I had a pacifists’ heart doing this purely for the ecological impact my (and in general: Europe’s) consumption has, and even though it’s partly in there, it isn’t my main motivation yet.