I did not go shopping for one year, and here’s what happened. Now during the COVID pandemic, I’m getting a lot of questions about clutter and cleanup. And we can’t actually do the cleanup until we declutter the areas of the home.
So, we started a group called Hoarding World. You do not have to be a hoarder to take part. Come on over and join us. We’re changing our relationship to stuff.
Why I Did Not Go Shopping for 1 Year
So, a year ago, was the COVID pandemic of 2020. During that time, they told everybody to stay at home. “Don’t leave your homes, and if you do have to go out in public, wear a face mask or you’re going to get sick.”
So, I said, “Oh no, I don’t want to get sick. I need to be healthy for my business. I guess I won’t go shopping.”
And so, I stayed at home, and when I did go out in public, it was to go walking in my neighborhood, but I didn’t go to any stores. And after a couple of weeks, I saw that this was continuing on and on and on. I wondered: “Well, besides toilet paper and food, what do we need?” So, I made a deal for myself for one year. “I’m not going to go shopping. I’m not going to shop for anything that is not necessary. And for me, it’s pretty much everything.”
Take Inventory of The Stuff You Own
I looked around my house and I took inventory. “I have everything I need or want. I’ve got clothes. I have shoes. I’ve got a roof over my head. I’ve got all the toiletries I will ever need in a lifetime.”
And I started thinking, what about my food. “I do need food, but how long can we go if we eat pantry food? We can eat stuff from the freezer and we’ve got two fridges and two freezers full of food. What happens if we just consume what we already have?”
My Personal No Shopping Challenge
So, I decided for myself I was going to play a game. For one year I was not going to go shopping at all. I’m not going to go inside the stores and risk getting sick. So that was kind of like my underlying motivating factor. In a year when there are active stay-at-home mandates it would be easy.
They Psychology Behind Stop Shopping
I didn’t need the latest version of anything because there was no one to impress. When you are out socializing, you have conversations with people about the stuff you bought on sale. You try to one-up each other with their latest purchases or the best deals or the best discounts you found. That didn’t happen because I wasn’t interacting with anyone. I didn’t have any of those conversations, so the peer pressure to buy was not there.
If we needed groceries or toilet paper, my husband could pick those up and I could avoid stores for one year.
Now, there were a couple times we were out and about and he dropped by a store. But I sat in the car and I returned emails and monitored my Facebook groups while he went in and did the shopping.
I’ll Shop from My Closet at Home
During the year, if I had the urge to have something new, I shopped from my closet. Lo and behold, I still have stuff with the tags on it. You guys do that? You buy something, you hang it up in the closet. And then if your husband ever comes in and says, “Oh, is that new?” You’re like, “Oh no, I’ve had that for a long time.” LOL.
Now I’m shopping from my closet. I have clothes in there that I’ve never worn. I have books on my bookshelf that I’ve never read. Let me read those books instead of buying new books. And so, I started using… check it out… using the stuff that I had. I know. How resourceful is that?
Instead of just buying new stuff, I used the stuff I have.
I’ll Donate Stuff I Don’t Want Anymore
I actually got rid of a lot of stuff because as I went shopping in my house, I was like, “Whoa. Where did that come from? Who bought that? Why is that in our house? Why are we storing this?”
Why do we store stuff in our homes we don’t use? If we don’t use it do, we really want it? If we didn’t want it enough to use it, why is it still here?
And so, I started getting rid of stuff, and as I started looking through my house, I said, “Wait a second. Now I have intentional space.” There’s stuff in my house on purpose. This is stuff I want to keep. This is stuff that actually means something to me. All the other stuff I can get rid of.
So, What Happened to Me When I Stopped Shopping?
I didn’t add anymore clutter to my home. I didn’t buy anything I wasn’t going to use. I used the stuff I had. I donated stuff I didn’t need or want anymore. And nothing bad happened to me because I didn’t go shopping for one year.
Would I do it again? Sure. In fact, I think I should. My husband got really good at grocery shopping.
He goes in with a checklist. He knows exactly what he’s going to buy. He knows his way around the store. He knows where everything is. He’s in, he’s out. And when Pat does the shopping, it saves me time from doing it, and money from impulse purchases.
I Don’t Need to Shop Anymore
So, what happened to me was I discovered I don’t need to shop. And I broke the pattern of me needing go to the store every day. When you run a house cleaning business, it is so easy to pop into a store on the way home from a job.
By planning better and tracking inventory I can order cleaning supplies in bulk. This prevents random sweeps through stores looking for last-minute replacement items.
I Broke the Buying Habit for Myself
So going for one year without buying anything broke the pattern for me of loving to shop. And now I don’t love to shop at all. I love to sit in the car and return my emails and do the stuff that I’m best at.
How about you? Can you go for 30 days? Can you go for 60 days? Can you go for 90 days? What is your window of not shopping? How long can you go? And what’s going to happen to you if you don’t go shopping for a period of time?
Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hoardingworld
Reclaim Your Life From Hoarding: Practical Strategies for Decluttering Your Home – https://amzn.to/35R1zIU
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – https://amzn.to/2SXEeme
Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding – https://amzn.to/364zyxT
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Therapist Guide – https://amzn.to/3jdbUqn
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Workbook – https://amzn.to/3wUQse7