And will I be able to do it for a full year?
When I was younger I used to shop because it made me feel better. When I was a teenager it was an escape from home. While my dad was ill, shopping would distract me and make me feel normal, like any other teenager. When I was a student I shopped because I thought it would make me look better or be more loved. Then, I started a corporate job and decided I needed an all new glitzy boss-babe wardrobe. And after my dad past away I felt so numb I didn’t realize I was ordering so many packages.
And now: now I’m done. For these past 2 years I have been cleaning out BIG time. I’ve been at a fleamarket twice where I’ve probably sold 26 pairs of shoes, 8 jackets, tons of weird trinkets I’ve collected through my travels and nearly the entire contents of my kitchen cabinets.
Both in Dec 2015-Feb 2016 as well as Jan-Mar 2017, I entered myself in the social experiment of a shopstop. After reading a book of a Swedish mom participating in a 1 year experiment, I wanted to see myself how it affected my health, my time, my relationships and the physical space around me. And even though those periods did affect me and set an array of cleaning out in motion, in the end there was always some sort of wedding I wanted a new dress for or a designer bag I was ‘craving’ so much. My consumption has decreased, yes, however, even though perhaps once per month: I’m still buying ‘things’
Now, I’m entering myself in a year long shopstop. I actually already wanted to start in December, but guilty as charged: I was in Morocco and bought some ceramics and a bag. (4 plates and a stray bag – I kept it decent, but I STILL shopped) and thus December was lost. Better start with the traditional ‘new years’ resolution then?
In a month I’m moving in with my boyfriend in a temporary rental situation. I have owned my apartments for the last 3,5 years and have lived by myself throughout that time. When I moved in to my first apartment I had a 2 bedroom 80m2 space and only 1 chair and a table. So, in the autumn of 2014 I bought out an entire IKEA catalog. We will now be moving from a 70m2 and a 50m2 apartment, to probably one 60m2 apartment, if not less, so space will have to be optimized, or I just need to get rid of even more junk.
Rules for the coming year:
- No clothes, unless my bag gets lost at an airport and I need to buy new lingerie/undies.
- No interior items. This will be a hard one if we’re buying an apartment together, but we already have plenty. That lamp will have to wait for 12 months.
- Gifts can be given in the form of wine, flowers or an experience (concert tickets, brunch, delicious cheese tastings, museum etc.)
- Books can be borrowed from the library, or from friends. There is no need to buy new ones if you can access them through the public service.
- No electronics. SHOCK HORROR. I’ve been talking about Bose Noise Cancelling headphones for over 4 months now, but these too will have to wait. Let’s see if I still want them in 12 months.
- No Dutch things from home. Every time I visit I come home with a suitcase full of HEMA and Dutch food, which is breaking my back. And practically, not needed, seeing as Dutch food is also sold IN Sweden.
- If I really need something, check whether I can borrow, fix, make or trade it.
- Sell my car. Now that I’ve changed jobs I can use my bike and the public transportation system.
- Before I purchase any new beauty products, I first need to use up the ones I have in the bathroom cabinets
What CAN I spend money on:
- Food: allll the food I’d like. I love spending money on cheese, lunch, dinner out, newly grown vegetables. Wine! Food is my one thing that will be my guilty pleasure.
- Fika (google it). I love my Swedish fikas and, even though costly, this falls in the food category. Too good to give up, and best enjoyed with loved ones.
- Concerts, Museums, Festivals, Parks.
Not shopping saves an astonishing amount of time. Last week, I went to drop of a letter at my local post office and the cardboard packages were piled up to the ceiling. They didn’t have enough storage space in the back to support the amount of Christmas shopping done by my neighborhood. The first thing I thought was: pff, happy none of those are mine! Not shopping frees up a lot of time and space in your mind. Imagine the time wasted on standing in line at the postoffice, for the team to go through all those delivery numbers and that pile of cardboard until you can finally carry home that big box. The whole view rather looked sad than Christmassy. Is this what Christmas is all about? Stuffing your life with more things from China?
As to motivate myself even more in my year of shopstop: I’m putting extra money into my savings account. I save regularly and have a decent buffer, but every SEK not spend on interior, clothes, bags, facial creams, gym clothes, etc. will go into my stock portfolio. In december I ‘only’ spend 500 SEK (€50) on ceramics in Morocco. In November I spent a lot more on a Stella McCartney bag though. As a balance for myself, I’ve decided that for every month without spending: 1500 SEK (€150) goes straight to savings.
I know I’m not the best at updating this blog, but I plan on writing an update every month at the end of the month, both with my thoughts and experiences, but also how I’m saving money and time, and the choices I make on spending those. I bet it will be short posts though.