“Thrift – the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully”.
Thrift. How can one syllable carry so much meaning? So much, well, opportunity. It has been said that committing to a year of thrift in our current almost locked down existence is “easy”. I spent a long time pondering that idea and concluded that committing to being thrifty isn’t meant to be hard. My decision to dedicate a year to this way of living wasn’t borne from a desire to hurt myself. I mean, who would consciously want to do that?! My thought process was very considered and protracted and my reasons are actually driven from a desire to learn what drives my decisions to buy clothes, where my emotions sit within that process and to further my progress in severing the need for frivolous possessions in my life. That desire also has roots in a need for betterment, for a depth of understanding of self and the ability to relearn the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’. That process will, at times, be uncomfortable, granted. And that’s probably where it sits – somewhere bang in the middle of “easy” and painful. From my experience, that is the exact place where great learning takes place.
And it seems I’m not alone. Deborah Meaden of Dragon’s Den made the decision not to buy a single item of clothing throughout 2020. And she succeeded, with one exception – a £75 pair of trainers purchased for a 10k charity run she took part in. Having written my first blog announcing my plans to do the same, several friends came forward to say they too had made a conscious decision not to buy clothes for an extended period of time. One friend admitted she still enjoys window shopping her ASOS app and, if after a month, she still wants whatever item she is currently lusting after she’ll go on to buy it. “It’s been 5 months now and I’ve never gone back to buy a single one of those items” she said. A male friend, having completed 7 months of not buying any new clothes said it had completely reframed his shopping habits and he is now much more conscious of whether his purchases are being driven from a ‘want’ or ‘need’ motive.
So how have I found my first week of a whole year of thrifty living? I’ve spent more time thinking about the fact that I can’t buy anything than I have about wanting to buy something. I’ve definitely been in the ‘what if?!’ zone, which is future tense, so I need to make a concerted effort to shift back to the present going forward. There’s no sense of loss, yet. I don’t feel like I’m missing out either. Yet. I’ve been busy unsubscribing from the seemingly endless emails I get from various fashion chains. Of course, that doesn’t stop the barrage of ads were faced with on Facebook, Instagram and all other forms of social media and news feeds. Other than that, I feel quite excited by the journey that lies ahead. The need to reinvent clothes and looks to get me through 52 weeks is definitely appealing to my creative side. Bring on week 2!