Nomad Lessons: Buy Less, Be Just as Happy

I love to shop. I’ve shopped because I’m happy, because I’m sad, because I have a big event coming up, because I’m anxious about an impending interview, for every reason under the sun. I love to shop alone, because you can be deliciously selfish. I love to shop with my mom, because nobody knows what looks good on you better than my mother. I love to shop with friends, because you learn a lot about a person by how they shop. You learn that plenty of people are not good shopping partners.

When we moved in August I was horrified by how much stuff we own. I was pretty radical when I packed up my clothes, finally getting rid of the college “going out” clothes that still fit, but look ridiculous on me. I sent a bunch of age-inappropriate cocktail dresses to my parents for the grandkids’ “Dress Up” Box, and others I sent to a cousin in high school who loved them (her dad, on the other hand, might not have apprecaited them). Other stuff I took to fabric recycling at Love & Other Stories (I can’t speak to whether this is an environmentally friendly option, I just know I felt better dropping it off there than throwing it in the trash).

Despite the culling, after I’d unpacked into Gwen’s basement I realized I still owned a lot of clothes. Clothes enough it seemed for every occasion. I challenged myself then to live with what I owned. Could I live through our entire construction project without buying any new clothes?

Two and a half months in, and I haven’t bought anything new. I’ve been gifted a new Cannon Ballers sweatshirt, that I absolutely adore. I picked up a new pair of knee-high black boots because the cobbler said he couldn’t fix the heel on the three-year-old pair I’d bought on clearance and wore at least four times a week during the winters of 2015, 2016 and 2017. I know people joke about “necessities,” but black boots are a necessity – my other shoe options are all heeled, sandals, sneakers, cowboy boots, or Native (yes, the nearly-Crocs shoes beloved by the under-four set).

More than the feeling of new clothes, I miss the feeling of shopping. I didn’t realize how much I used shopping as an activity. I know I’ve self-righteously chuckled at people who include “shopping” in their list of hobbies. But I think I was that person, just less honest.

Since August 19th, I’ve gone shopping just to enjoy the act of shopping. I’ve scouted out the season’s trends. I’ve tried on dresses I wanted to wear to a wedding, but didn’t buy. I’ve scoffed at the 90’s comeback. I’ve led on salespeople when I ask for another size. I’ve discovered I am, in fact, the person I ridiculed. I like to shop. It is a hobby. And that’s okay. My apologies to all the people who admitted this before me. You didn’t deserve my eye rolling.


Alicia Amling View All →

Recovering journalist who discovered a life outside of news leaves you time for things like getting angry, cooking and traveling. Plus, hopefully, writing. I’m a wife, dog mom and Washingtonian.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: