The Finish Line
Only two days till the end of my one year challenge and I’m starting to reflect on what I’ve learned this year. If I could boil down this year into a one sentence tweetable lesson, what would it be?
One thing I’ve learned is that the longer you go without shopping, the less important fashion and clothes become. It’s not like I go to work in a burlap sack and cardboard on my feet, but I don’t care if the boots I have on are scuffed at the toe a little bit. (Which they are in case you’re wondering.)
I recently read an amazing article by Ann Patchett who is a bookstore owner and has just finished her own year of not shopping. Her description on how buying stuff blurs our vision of the world is spot on:
“The things we buy and buy and buy are like a thick coat of Vaseline smeared on glass: We can see some shapes out there, light and dark, but in our constant craving for what we may still want, we miss life’s details.”
Has seeking after my own constant cravings of “want” caused me to miss the details of my own life? When first confronted with that question, I responded like most of you would, with a simple “Nah, not possible.” But I have learned more about myself this year than any other year of my life. Was that possible because my vision cleared and I could see more clearly?
I’m not sure how different this year would have been if I had been shopping the whole time, but some amazing personal growth did happen. For example, I learned this year that I have a talent for painting.
In July, I picked up a paint brush to paint rocks with my sister April, and six months later I have raised over $800 from selling painted rocks. I never knew I could paint or how much joy it would bring me, but here I am at 41 painting for the first time in my life. And if giving up shopping allowed me the time to discover this talent, then I should have stopped shopping YEARS ago! (If you’re interested in seeing some of the rocks, check out my Instagram. Search for daytwin_rocks.)
Another lesson I learned this year is knowing the true difference between a want and a need, and not just my OWN needs but the needs of OTHERS. In the article by Ann Patchett, she explains that most of us are buried in our possessions and yet we still desire for more. I believe that when we stop shopping, our desire for “more” transfers to other parts of our lives.
This could mean different things to different people. To some it’s more time with your children, and for others it’s more time invested in your personal health. For me it meant investing more time and money into charities and causes.
This year I was able to donate more money and time to charity then I ever have. Not shopping not only freed up my bank account but also my personal time, and since I wasn’t focusing on my own wants I started to focus more on the needs of others.
So, what’s my one sentence tweetable lesson? I guess it’s this:
Your life is more than what’s hanging in your closet.
Thank you for spending this year with me! I know some of you have been reading this blog since day one and it’s because of your accountability that I was able to finish this challenge.
I am going to continue my “no shopping” life style at 60 day intervals like I mentioned before, (read my last blog for details) and I encourage you to join me. Follow my Instagram account myyearofhandmedowns for daily and weekly encouragement, tips, and more.
Can You Change In 21 Days?
I only have 21 days left of my one year “No New Clothes” challenge. When I started this challenge on January 1st 2017, a year seemed like an eternity to go without shopping. I really doubted if I could even do it. Shopping when I was bored or “down” was just something I did without even thinking about it. Sort of like a habit. My shopping habit. And while not all habits are bad, some aren’t good either.
We all have habits we want to change or habits we want to develop, but altering our behavior isn’t always easy. Did you know that it takes a minimum of 21 days “for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell”? https://jamesclear.com/new-habit
I know the myth of “21 days to form a new habit” has been spread for decades, but it’s been misunderstood. What was originally discovered in the 1950’s by Dr. Maltz is that it takes a MINIMUM of 21 days. Recent studies conducted by psychology researchers have proven that it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic – 66 days to be exact.
So, why am I going on about the time needed to change your habits? Because for most of us, shopping is a habit. It’s behavioral. We do it when we’re upset. We do it when we’re bored. We do it when we can’t change other things in our lives. Taking a year “off” from shopping has changed my behavioral patterns and I know if you can commit to 66 days of not shopping, then maybe your behavior would change too.
As my year ticks down and my yearlong challenge comes to an end, I have to start asking myself “What’s next?” Do I just go back to shopping whenever I feel like it or do I use what I’ve learned to encourage others? I don’t think I’ll ever go back to my old shopping habit (I’ve formed a new habit of NOT shopping), but I’m going to have to find the “shopping” pattern that works for me.
Here’s what I’m asking: Can you go the first 66 days of 2018 without shopping?
Like I’ve said before, I am planning on adding five new pieces to my wardrobe on January 1st but then after that I figured I’d not shop for a while again. I wasn’t sure what kind of time frame that would be, but 66 days (roughly two months) seems like a very attainable goal.
Who’s willing to take this 66 Days of No New Clothes Challenge with me in 2018? The 66th day of 2018 is March 7th. Do you think you can challenge yourself until March 7th? Comment below and let me know if you’re in!
I’m so grateful to everyone who has followed me all this year and I want to encourage and help you challenge yourself now. If you plan on taking this 66 Day Challenge, then follow me on Instagram or Twitter. I’ll be posting encouragement there and would love to read your comments!
Let The Count Down Begin
It seems unreal to write this, but I only have 31 days left of this one year challenge.
As January 1st approaches, I keep getting asked the same questions regarding my “one year of no new clothes” lifestyle. I’ve picked three of them and thought it would be a good idea to share my answers with all of you.
Question #1: Did you REALLY not buy anything this year?
Answer #1: Yes & no. Yes, I really didn’t buy any new clothes this year. I’ve received some clothing from others as hand me downs or gifts, but I have not personal purchased any new clothes for myself. I throw in the “no” because I did buy socks and underwear, but I did say that would be allowed this year.
So, while I haven’t purchased any clothes I have added three good quality tops to my wardrobe. I’m thankful to my mom, sister, and best friend for giving me these tops. It was nice to have something “new” and since I’m not shopping, I appreciate these pieces even more. They have all been worn multiply times.
Questions #2: I bet you can’t wait to go shopping! What’s the first thing you’re going to buy?
Answer #2: I’m actually fine with not shopping at this point. It’s weird to explain, but not shopping has become my norm after all this time. I do plan on buying a few pieces of clothing in January but a part of me is not looking forward to hitting the stores and trying on clothes. I might just buy the few items I need online. But yeah, I already know what I want to buy first. A PURSE. You heard me – a purse!
If you’ve been reading all year you know I had a pretty good sized Kate Spade collection that I gave away, and I’ve decided to not purchase another designer purse. I’ve been looking at good quality, handmade leather purses online and that’s what I’m going to get. I want something that will last me for years! If I’ve learned one thing this year it’s this: Quality over Quantity.
I also have a list of five pieces I want to add to my wardrobe in January. I’ll write an entire post on just that later in December, but I plan on purchasing those pieces and then not shopping again for 3 – 6 months.
Question #3: How much money did you save this year?!
Answer #3: None. Really, zero.
I know what y’all are thinking, “How’s that possible???”. Let me explain. I never intended on growing the size of my savings account by not shopping this year. That’s not the reason why I did this (read the first blog post). I assumed I would save a little bit more because I wasn’t spending money, but it’s not the thousands of dollars some people expected.
So, where did all my extra money go? It went to charities, and family, and experiences. Every time I felt the impulse to shop I would log onto one of my favorite charity websites and give there. Got to say, that’s a FAR better feeling then coming home with a new sweater and involves NO shoppers guilt.
I also spent a lot of extra money on my daughter this year. It was a great feeling to be able to buy her all the new clothes a 13-year-old needs and wants. I was also able to pay for her to do a lot of “things” this year. From cons to shows, we were able to go to more and get the good seats. J
Do you have any questions for me? I’m happy to answer any that you may have! Just comment below.
One Girl, One Week, One Backpack
Sorry for being MIA for the rest of October, but it was a crazy busy month. As soon as I got home from Mexico, I had to start preparing for my twin sister’s wedding. (It was beautiful and I wore a cocktail dress I have owned for two years. *Pat on the back.)
If you read my last blog post, then you know I was challenging myself to pack for my Mexico vacation in just a backpack. Some people commented “I do that all the time!” and others said “Are you crazy?!”. I’m not going to lie, I had my doubts if this was something I could go through with. I have traveled a lot and I like to think I’m a ‘light packer’, but even I have never attempted a backpack before.
So, let me go ahead and cut to the chase – I DID IT!!
Yup, you read that correctly. I packed for my entire vacation in ONE backpack and I LOVED IT! It was so freeing not to have to carry around multiple bags or suitcases.
And as promised, I did take a picture of everything I packed. (picture below)
I think one thing I had going for me was that this was a summer vacation. Shorts, tank tops, & bathing suits don’t require a lot of space. Not sure if the backpack would work for a winter trip. It also helped that I packed only ONE pair of shoes. My best friend, Amy, (who I went on the trip with) couldn’t believe that part.
But yeah, I wore a pair of flip flops on the plane and packed on pair of black sandals. I wore them every evening to dinner and they worked with every outfit. Again…beach vacation so my evening outfits were all very similar.
I also limited myself on jewelry. You can’t tell from the photo, but I packed three pairs of earrings and only one necklace. If I had wanted to ‘dress up’ one of my outfits, I could have just borrowed something from Amy. Let’s just say Amy really loves her jewelry and brought enough to stock a small storefront.
And with as little as I packed, I still didn’t wear everything. That blew my mind. When we were packing up to come home I realized there were two nicer tops and a t-shirt I hadn’t even touched. And I have NO idea why I keep packing a pair of yoga pants – I NEVER wear them. I swear that I’m not packing them on my next trip!
As proud as I am of not shopping this year, I’m even more proud of how it has changed my packing habits. I love how simple my travels feel with less clothes. And like I’ve said before – all your clothes are new clothes when you’re on vacation since none of those people have seen them before!
So, now I’m challenging all of you! Next time you travel - pack less. Try using just a carry on or use only a backpack. I’d love to hear how you did and what other “travel light” tips you have.
Side note – It’s November. That means I only have TWO months left in this yearlong challenge!!!! I’m beyond excited with how the year has progressed and I can’t wait to finally clean out my closet. As always, I’ll be keeping you posted.
My Vacation Packing Challenge
I know what you’re thinking, “A challenge within your challenge? Are you crazy?” The short answer is – maybe.
I’m leaving Friday for a short five-day vacation with my best friend and I haven’t even started to think about what I’m packing. I’ve become so familiar with the clothes I own that I don’t feel the pressure to pack early or plan an outfit for every single day. Remember when I did that for my last beach trip and I ended up wearing only 50% of what packed? Well, I’m trying to avoid that this time.
So, what’s the challenge?
Well, first let me tell you about my favorite piece of luggage. I own this awesome lime green hard case carry-on that has followed me everywhere for the last seven years. I’m not an over packer to begin with, so I never need to check a bag. This small lime green carry-on has become an extension of me when I travel. I literally take it EVERYWHERE. And I love that I have never spotted another one like it during my travels. I could easily go on vacation with my lime green travel buddy this time as well, BUT what if I could go smaller?!
What if a 40 something, middle-class, Starbucks loving, Kate Spade carrying, American woman could pack everything for a resort vacation in a BACK-PACK?!
I know, my stomach did a flip when I wrote that too. It just sounds insane! Even now I’m second guessing this idea. But what if it’s possible? Shouldn’t I at least try? I mean, what has this year even been about if I can’t challenge myself further?
So, there you go. I’m flying to Mexico for a five-day bestie vacation and I’m ONLY taking a back-pack. Omg, my stomach just flipped again.
Photos and a blog update will follow as soon as I get home. Wish me luck!!
New: /n(y)o͞o/ : not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently for the first time.
Nine months into this one year challenge and I still haven’t purchased any new clothes. I’ve gotten used to just pulling something out of my closet and heading to work. Nothing in my closet is “new” to me at this point. Even the items I’ve reworked or restyled. They are just “there”.
Last week I threw on a white linen blouse I bought from Target almost two years ago. I even remember the exact day because it was my 40th birthday and I wanted something “fun” to wear to the party. It’s a cute beachy top with gold accents. Anyways, it was on clearance for $7 and I’ve worn it a lot since then.
Back to present day and I have this top on at the office. It’s not new, so of course it’s lost all its excitement factor. I’m walking out of the breakroom and a new co-worker stops me and says, “Omg, I love your top!”
At first I was bewildered and wondered if she was talking to me. I reply, “Umm, this? Oh, thank you.” She goes on to ask where did I buy it and how much was it. We chatted for a minute or so and I walked away feeling a lot better about my outfit choice.
In that moment that blouse became “new” again. My co-worker was being introduced to it for the first time and reacted to it the way I did when I first saw it hanging on the rack at Target.
Since that day I’ve been picking my outfits with this question in mind – “Have they seen this yet?” We all have outfits we wear over and over because they are cute and comfortable, but maybe it’s time to reach past those in the closet. I know I’ve said it before, but your older clothes want to be worn too!
To someone who hasn’t been shopping in almost 10 months, it’s pretty awesome to realize that “new” doesn’t just mean “new” to me. My clothes are new to every single person who’s seeing them for the first time.
I feel like I have worn almost EVERYTHING in my closet over the last 10 months, but now I want to dig a little deeper in those drawers and see what else is in there. I’m excited to see what other “new” clothes I already own.
My Latest Closet Experiment
Your alarm goes off at 5:25am. Crap, time to get up and go to work. You stumble into your closet, glance side to side and think, “What the heck am I going to wear today?” You reach for a cobalt blue blouse and think, “This will do.” You start to leave your closet but you stop short and think, “Wait, when did I wear this last? Was it last week? Was it three days ago?” You rush back into your closet because we CAN’T re-wear the same blouse so soon. Crap, now what do you wear??!!
I know y’all know what I’m talking about. It’s not like were worried about wearing the same outfit twice in a month, but twice in a week??? Sorry, but that just can’t happen. So, what are we to do? How do we fix this crisis?
Here’s what my sister, Windy, started doing and it’s brilliant!
When she gets home from work and changes into her “comfy clothes”, she hangs the blouse she wore that day in the very front of her closet. She does this every single day so that newly worn tops are added to the front while older worn tops are pushed further back. By doing this she has created a natural rotation of her tops.
She walks into her closet and instantly knows what she has worn recently because they are in order that way. If she doesn’t want to waste time planning an outfit, she just picks the blouse that’s hanging in last position.
Told you – BRILLIANT!
Three weeks ago, I decided to give her system a try and I’ve learned two important lessons. The first is that the blouses I wear the most are all blue, green, tan, or white. (Guess I found my color palette.) Secondly, the blouses that are now in this rotation only make up 25% of my closet.
That means there’s 75% of my closet that I’m wearing very rarely or not at all. To see it lined up that way was an eye opener.
I’m almost nine months into this one year challenge and I thought I had a clear idea of what I was going to keep and what I was going to purge when this is over. After rotating my clothes with this system for only three weeks, I know see I have a lot more I could get rid of.
So, here’s your challenge. Start rotating your clothes like my sister has been. You’ll find two positive benefits from it – you’ll easily know what you wore recently and you’ll also see what you’re NOT wearing at all.
Post a comment and let me know how you did!
My mental Shopping Trip
It’s August and I can’t believe I’m eight months into this One Year No New Clothes
challenge. Omg, I can see the finish line now. Whew….
I think most of you have gotten to know the “real” me over this time and I’m not going to
start lying to you now. No, I haven’t purchased new clothes, but I’m already planning
my first shopping trip IN MY HEAD.
I’ve picked the day, the places, and the items. It’s like I’ve started planning my wedding
or something. Is that sad?
And as excited as I get thinking about my first new purchase in a year (it will be a purse,
btw) I’ve started to wonder how these new items are going to make me feel. Will I feel
elated or will I feel guilty? Either way, I know I’ll value them more than I’ve valued new
clothing in the past.
My hope is that I continue to purchase new clothing LESS in the future, and when I do
go shopping, I will go knowing exactly what I need. The last thing I want to do is fall
back into old habits of shopping just to produce a “fake high.”
It’s not like I think buying new clothes is a bad thing, but maybe we should all be a bit
more deliberate in what we are buying. I read this great article that suggests everyone
not shop for three months and then keep track of the items you wear during that time.
This will show you how little of your wardrobe you actually wear, and you’ll start to
notice the outfits you wear over and over. Turns out there’s a REASON why we wear
only 20% of our wardrobes. Fashion stylist Ali Call explains it this way:
We are living in a fast-paced world and with so many variables at
play, an easy solution is to quickly choose from something paired with
success at an earlier date. These pieces become the wardrobe front-
runners because they have a proven track record.
And now that I have had almost a year of wearing the same things over and over, my
eyes are finally open and I see this pattern for myself. There are times when I take the
time to mix up my wardrobe and work at pairing pieces together. If the outfit is a
“success,” I find that I wear it over and over again…and I grow lazy…again.
So instead of heading back to the mall out of wardrobe boredom, maybe we should go
with a purpose and treat it like grocery shopping.
Think of it this way – if you know you want to cook a certain recipe, you go to the store
with a list of the ingredients you need. If you didn’t do that, Lord knows how the meal
would turn out.
Why should we put more thought into what we’re buying for our refrigerators then we do
for our closets?
I Have To Buy Clothes
It’s true, I HAVE to buy clothes next week – BUT NOT FOR ME!
My daughter is starting 9th grade soon and like every other parent in America right now, I’m off to buy her overpriced, low quality, back-to-school clothes so that she can “fit in.” Sigh….
I’m pretty lucky as a parent though because my daughter hates to shop and doesn’t like most of the current trends that are “so basic” (her words). My daughter would love it if she could wear the same pair of leggings and fandom t-shirt every day of the year, but even she knows that she’s being judged on her wardrobe, and she feels the pressure of “dress to impress.”
So, I’m stuck in this ongoing mental dilemma of wanting to teach my daughter that clothes aren’t the most important thing, but I still want her to feel confident at school. As much as I want to tell her that clothes don’t define us, I know they do.
The person we are on the inside is expressed in how we accessorize the outside.
My daughter is artistic and smart and, at the age of thirteen, already knows she doesn’t want to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch. She has no interest in Ugg boots or North Face jackets. All she wants to do is order fandom t-shirts from Hot Topic and wear black leggings.
And who am I to tell her no?
Not buying clothes this year is a personal decision of mine, something I felt I needed to do to change my perceptive and to get my own priorities straight. I haven’t purchased any clothes in eight months, but I still have a closet full of items that help me express my own style and personality.
So, even though my daughter has clothes that still fit from last school year, I’m going to take her shopping and I’m going to let her pick out multiple outfits. I’m going to let her buy fandom t-shirts and dark blue hoodies because they make her feel comfortable. I’ll spend too much money on a pair of Converse sneakers because she really wants them and they express her own person style.
And I’m 100% ok with it.
Are You An Over Packer?
There’s one word that will ignite joy in the hearts of everyone who hears it – VACATION!
I’ve been looking forward to my vacation for months now and it did not disappoint! I traveled back to the beach community I’m from and had a wonderfully relaxing time. I slept in late, ate too much seafood, lounged on the beach, enjoyed wine every night, and I over packed.
Like most Americans, I usually over pack. I try to plan for an outfit a day and then at the last minute I throw a few “just in case” items in my suitcase. But I thought this trip would be different!
I mean, I haven’t bought ANY clothes in the last 7 months and I’ve gotten really good at mix/matching my pieces. I even took 5 items out of my suitcase at the last minute.
But I still did it – I still over packed!
Since the amount of clothing I own and use are on my mind right now, I did something I've never done before - I kept track of what I packed and what I actually wore. Here’s the list:
What I Packed: What I Wore:
2 pairs of shorts 1 pair of shorts
2 pair of capris 1 pair of capris
1 pair of yoga pants 1 pair of yoga pants
1 sun dress 1 sun dress
7 tops 3 tops
2 tank tops 2 tank tops
3 t-shirts 1 t-shirt
2 swim suits 2 swim suits
2 swim suit cover ups 2 swim suit cover ups
3 pair of shoes 2 pair of shoes
6 pairs of earrings 3 pairs of earrings
1 necklace 1 necklace
Writing down what I packed and comparing it to what I actually wore has been such an EYE OPENER!
Normally I pack even more (especially shoes) but I made myself pack less this time and I still didn’t wear it all. I don’t typically like to check my bag at the airport, so I’ve always made myself use a medium sized carry on, but I could have used only half my suitcase for this trip.
So, what would I have done differently?
Well, I realize I only need one pair of shorts and capris. I wore my denim ones and they went with everything. I would have left half my tops at home. I don’t know why I think I need a different top for each day. I ended up just rotating my favorite three and the others stayed in the drawer.
I didn’t need the sundress either. I know I wore it, but it’s because I made myself wear it! I figured I packed it, so l probably should wear it. But it wasn’t really needed. I could have done with one swimsuit, but if you’re going to the beach for 7 days…having 2 swimsuits is probably a good idea.
I will admit that even though I didn’t wear my “fancy outfit” (because we didn’t go out for drinks or anything) it’s still probably a good idea to pack one. There’s nothing worse than being invited out and feeling underdressed.
And I think the key to saving space is packing versatile shoes. Of course, I packed a pair of flip-flops but the other pair of sandals I packed could be worn with any nicer outfit. I knew I wasn’t going to need tennis shoes or heels on this trip, but sometimes those are needed. Just try packing shoes that can be worn with multiple outfits!
The most important lesson I learned is this – if I don’t wear it at home, I’m not going to wear it on vacation. I treated my vacation closet like my home closet. I immediately went for the items I like and bypassed tops that are snug or I don’t feel comfortable in.
I would suggest everyone keep a Packed vs Wore list as least once. I bet you’ll never pack the same way again!
My name is Misty Day (yeah, that really is my name) and I'm a normal every day person. I'm a twin, I work as an analyst, I take my daughter to Girl Scouts and swim team, I play bass guitar in a band, I love food and wine, I like new clothes, and I'm trying to be a better person.