How to Crush Your Shopping Addiction


The Problem

I have a shopping addiction. Phew, that's a rough thing to say, but we're all friends here, right? It wasn't until just a few months ago that I realized it, when I tried Project 333 and implemented a shopping ban for the duration.

At first, I thought it was easy. "No shopping? No problem!", I told myself, as I clicked "tops" on the third open online shop on my browser window, and continued to scroll. "If I don't buy anything, then what's the harm?", I asked myself, as I scrolled through the third page of sandals (this was in February!).

I didn't realize for a couple of weeks that No Shopping also needed to mean No Browsing. Why, exactly, was I spending my precious lunch break browsing sandals? There was still snow on the ground! Yet it seemed impossible to pull myself away from what I had decided was 'crucial research' for when the summer finally rolled around and I would need a new pair of sandals. I had justified my endless scrolling - my purchase-less shopping - by saying that when the time did come for me to make a purchase, I wanted to be thoroughly decided on what I wanted. But what was happening instead was the ever constant reminder that I didn't have everything I wanted, everything I 'needed'.

It became easy for me to forget about the clothing I actually had in my closet, things I do love and value, and instead put my focus on the clothing I didn't have, and what I felt I needed to have in order to be relevant in this slow fashion community (ironic, right?).

When, in moments of clarity, I realized just how many hours I had wasted while tumbling down a pointless rabbit hole, I would feel an immense guilt about the whole thing. How many books could I have read, how many blog posts could I have written, with all of this wasted time? I don't think I want to know the answer. There's no point on dwelling on mistakes past, except to figure out how to move past old habits.

The Solution

Once I realized how much of a problem this is, I gave myself a strict "browsing ban" for the duration of Project 333. The problem? That finished a month ago, and I went right back into old habits. It took me a few weeks to realize just why I had been feeling unfocused and uninspired. But then, one day as I pulled myself out of an hours-long browsing binge, I realized exactly what had been going wrong once again.

 And so, it's time for me to face the music, and to follow some rules again. I've come up with 3 things I think will help me (and maybe you, too?) change some of my bad habits.

3 Tips to Stop Shopping

1. Find something else to fill the time

This one seems a bit boring, I know. But this has been perhaps the most important point for me thus far. Once I decided to ban browsing, it was a shock to see just how much free time opened up for me. If I don't have a plan for how to spend that time, it's a lot harder to resist browsing just to fill that space. For me, it's reading and writing. But find whatever works for you, and be glad of your newfound freedom!

2. Remove temptation where you can

It's hard to decide not to shop, if you hang out in the slow/ethical fashion circle of Instagram. On the one hand, it's an amazing space for making connections. But on the other hand, it can be full of influencers promoting or posting about new, amazing things all the time (and yes, I want all of the things). But it can be hard to stick to your resolve to not shop being surrounded by this all the time. Email lists are another constant reminder of discount codes, spring must-haves, and 'quick, before it sells out!' posts.

So, what can we do to stymie this flow of temptation? Unsubscribe from those email lists. Unfollow those brands. Don't worry that you won't be able to remember them, or that you'll miss out on a sale, or that an item will sell out. Those things might happen, but don't worry about it! There is plenty more where that came from, and trust me, it will all be waiting for you if you decide you're ready to get back into shopping. Which brings me to my next tip:

3. Slow down

It's easy to feel panicked about clothing. To feel a sense of urgency to fill all the holes in your closet. And, maybe you really do need a new pair of running shoes, or jeans. But want and need can feel awfully similar sometimes. Take a step back, a few deep breaths, and wait. If you really do need what you think you do, you will still feel that way in a week, in a month. I have learned that I can get by much more easily than my panicked self seems to believe with what I already have. Almost always, it will be completely fine.

I hope these tips help you, even if you don't have a shopping addiction. I think we could all do with a little more mindfulness when it comes to clothing, especially during the changing of seasons.

Have you ever given yourself a shopping or browsing ban? What were some things that helped you through it? I'd love to hear any advice in the comments below!