I may be a minimalist but I love clothes! Clothing has always been the hardest thing for me to pair down on. I love buying clothes and I even love making clothes.
But if I’m going to keep things simple that means I’m going to have to constantly get rid of clothes. That just feels wasteful. So now I need to figure out how to stop buying clothes.
Do you feel me? Are you in the same predicament? If so stick around and learn 7 tricks that will help you find out how to stop spending money on clothes when you already have a full closet!
Why Should I Stop Buying Clothes?
Do you love clothes? Are you finding it difficult to keep your closet paired down? Do you find yourself buying fast fashion on whim whenever you go into a store (or even worse, on Amazon late at night…)?
If you are then we need to find a way to stop buying clothes. But why would we want to do that?
There are a few reasons we may want to stop buying clothes, or at least slow down. Here they are:
- The average American buys around 68 clothing items a year. In the 80s they bought about 12 items per year.
- When we buy so many new clothes it supports the fast fashion industry which underpays it’s workers and uses chemicals that destroy the earth, not to mention the waste in landfills from all these clothes, many of which are never even purchased or worn.
- We tend to only wear about 20% of our wardrobe and ignore the rest because it doesn’t fit, isn’t our style, is uncomfortable, or is just forgotten.
- It is really hard to decide what to wear in the morning when you have too many choices.
- Your personal style is hiding underneath all your bad clothing purchases.
- It’s a HUGE waste of money to buy stuff you will rarely or never wear.
- You will feel guilty if you have to constantly declutter clothes.
Now that I’ve listed those reasons to stop buying clothes, which ones stand out to you?
Maybe you are worried about ethical and sustainable fashion and you really want to know how to stop buying fast fashion. I am a seamstress and it really hurts me that garment workers aren’t often paid a living wage.
Or maybe you are bothered by the amount of money you are wasting and the difficulty deciding what to wear in the morning. When I did Project 333 I learned first hand that you really don’t need as much clothing as you think you do.
So now that you have some motivation to stop buying clothes all the time, how do you actually do it? How do you resist the late night Amazon shopping, the great sales, and the desire to keep up with your coworkers or favorite influencers?
Let’s discuss a few ways to stop spending money on clothes you don’t need. By the end of this article you will not only know how to stop buying clothes all the time, but you will also learn how to love the clothes you have more!
7 Ways to Stop Buying Clothes:
- Clean out your closet and keep only the things you really love to wear.
- Play dress up. Make some time to create new outfit combinations with your clothes.
- Rotate your clothes with the seasons to keep things fresh.
- Avoid sales and sales e-mails or flyers. Only shop when you actually need something.
- Don’t shop for fun. Find other hobbies you enjoy.
- Look for more ethical and sustainable ways to buy clothing when you need to.
- Build a better wardrobe. Consider versatility, comfort, and quality more.
If You Want to Stop Buying Clothes Clean Out Your Closet
You may be surprised but the best place to start if you want to stop buying clothes is to clean out your closet.
Wait! Rewind! Did you say clean out my closet?!
I understand the confusion. Why would you get rid of clothes if you always want more clothes? Wouldn’t you want to have as many clothes as possible when you stop buying clothes?
But the reason you need to clean out your closet has a more to do with your mindset than the actual amount of clothing you own. You need to change the way you think about your clothes.
Right now you enter a store thinking you have nothing to wear and need something new. If you are going to stop buying clothes you need to see all the cool clothes you already have!
How to do a great closet clean out:
When you clean out your closet this time we aren’t going to be extreme. I am not going to say you need to pair down to only 33 items or create a capsule wardrobe. I simply ask that you let go of anything that no longer fits, is worn out, uncomfortable, or that you just hate to wear.
Also, as you clean out your closet pay attention to the clothes you have and love! I bet you have a lot of clothing that you enjoy wearing and love the look of. The sad thing is that clothing may have been forgotten because it was hiding under all the hot pink mohair sweaters that itch!
Once you get rid of all the clothes you don’t actually ever want to wear your closet will contain clothes you love. You will magically feel like you have more clothes than you did before because you aren’t digging through pools of wasted money guilt and body shaming when you get dressed in the morning.
Play Dress Up
Now that you’ve cleaned out your closet spend a little time trying out different outfit combinations with the clothes you have. If you have time you can just have a fun dress up session right away. If you don’t go ahead and play dress up for the next month or so.
A good rule of thumb when shopping your closet and playing dress up is to try to find at least 3 outfits for each piece. For example, I have a loose tropical print peasant blouse. I know I can pair it with black jeggings, blue jeans, or my green shorts.
This does not mean you need to buy something to create an outfit. You will find that most of your clothes are already flexible enough to work with two or three other things in your closet.
If you have a really unique statement piece don’t expect it to match a bunch of things. Just rock it when you wear it! And if you will never wear it, unless the Queen of England comes to America and invites you to tea, just let it go. It’s ok.
When you play dress up and see how many outfit combinations you can create with clothes you already have it will be a lot easier to stop spending money on clothes you just think you need when you are in the store.
Rotate Your Clothes
Now that you have really curated your closet so that it doesn’t include stuff you don’t like to wear it is time to notice how many clothes you really have. If you are like me you will still have a lot of clothes you really love to wear.
The problem is, even if you have a lot of clothes there is always that desire to get more clothes. That’s because our minds are literally designed to crave new stuff. So how can we feed that craving if you are going to stop buying clothes?
The question isn’t really how to stop buying clothes. That’s easy. Don’t buy them. The question is really how to stop buying clothes cause you WANT new stuff…
My favorite trick is to rotate my clothing by season. You can do this for Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter or you can split it Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter.
How to love the clothes you already have:
If you choose to change your closet out twice a year you will obviously want to pick warm clothes for Fall and Winter and lighter clothing for Spring and Summer. If you want to change out your clothes for each season you can differentiate Fall from Winter and Spring from Summer by colors and textures you like to wear during each season. For me it’s Fall earth tones, Winter clean pastels and jewel tones, Spring lighter pastels and fabrics, Summer vibrant colors and light weight fabrics.
Even if you don’t have real seasons where you live I recommend you rotate your clothing by colors and styles for the seasons because it really helps you feel like you have fresh new things every few months! It also makes your closet more manageable so it’s easier to find great outfits!
When you rotate your clothes it will be a lot easier to resist the urge to get something new. You will be able to stop buying clothes just cause you want something new because your new set of clothes for the season will fill that desire!
Avoid “Sales” to Stop Buying Clothes
You’ve cleaned out your closet, you’ve found a bunch of cute outfits, and you’ve sorted your closet by season so you can get “new” clothes every few months. It’s time to relax so you sit on your couch and check your e-mail. There’s a great sale at your FAVORITE store this weekend!
But wait! Your trying to learn how to stop buying clothes. How do you resist?
- Go the store just to look. You won’t buy anything.
- Look at the e-mail and the website longingly but then shut it down.
- Delete the e-mail secretly hoping they will send another tomorrow.
- Enter the email and quickly slide down to the unsubscribe button to prevent future temptation.
Now I will tell the truth. I have chosen every one of these options at different times. It has been a long bumpy road for me to fight my clothing addiction and stop buying clothes. I still fail sometimes.
But if you want to make it easier on yourself just unsubscribe. When and if you need to buy clothes from that store in the future you can always go to their website and see what sales they have. You can even subscribe again.
How to Stop Spending Money On Clothes That Are a “Bargain”:
Remember, stores always have sales. They mark up their clothes so they can put them on sale. You will be able to find a deal when you need it!
If you want to learn how to stop spending money on clothes you need to stop thinking your landing a great bargain. You will save 100% off every clothing item you never buy!
Don’t Shop For Fun if You Want to Stop Buying Clothes
Now that you have avoided the sales e-mails, and hopefully the flyers went directly in the trash too, you just have to avoid the store. That’s pretty easy since the store is not in your home. Not so fast!
Many of you have been shopaholics who are used to filling your spare time at the mall or the shops. It may feel like you are missing a really big part of your life when you stop buying clothes and stop shopping in your spare time.
The good news is habits can change and hobbies can be replaced! You have been shopping for fun but there are other things that you can do for fun.
How to stop buying clothes as a hobby:
Instead of going shopping with a friend meet them up for coffee, a movie, or a walk. When you want to check the store for something cute and new spend that time doing something creative or active. And most importantly when you want to scan Amazon late at night or are tempted my Instagram ads put your phone down and read a book!
The single best thing I’ve ever done to save money is picking up other fun hobbies for minimalists. When you love the creative and active things you fill your days with, shopping for fun sounds like one of the most boring things you can do.
Now that we have talked about all the ways you can stop buying clothes we need to admit that you will have to buy them sometimes. I mean, clothes wear out. Also, we face different circumstances in life. You may get a new job, gain weight, lose weight, etc. And in all these situations you will need new clothes.
But it’s important to shop more responsibly now that you have good habits and don’t want to backslide into your old shopaholic ways.
What do I mean by shopping responsibly? A couple of things.
How to stop buying clothes you don’t wear & buy the right thing instead:
First of all when you do buy clothes you want to be intentional about what you buy. You should not let yourself go into the store and binge on everything that catches your eye. If you do that your closet will be full of ill-fitting uncomfortable and fadish clothing like it was before.
Instead, before you buy any clothes you will want to think about what kind of things you might need. For example, if you are starting a new job maybe you are looking for a couple pairs of slacks and some blouses. Get specific about color and style. Think about what has served you well in the past. Go shopping with your specific needs in mind and look for that.
How to Stop Buying Fast Fashion:
Secondly we should shop for clothes responsibly because fast fashion is polluting the earth and practically enslaving it’s workers. When I watched the documentary called “The True Cost” which explains this in depth I knew I had to look into more ethical and sustainable fashion.
The first thing I had to figure out was out to stop buying fast fashion, without breaking the bank….
The good news is that it’s not as hard or expensive as it sounds to dress with ethical and sustainable clothing. If you are on a budget simply check out second-hand and consignment stores or even Poshmark!
And if you want to invest a little more money into your wardrobe check out ethical and sustainable brands. You can check any brands sustainability rating at goodonyou.eco.
Speaking of sustainable fashion, do you think you could wear the same thing for 100 days like my friend Amanda?
Build a Better Wardrobe!
While we are on the topic of being a careful shopper I want to encourage you to build a better wardrobe. You can do this whether you buy clothes new or previously loved.
When you build a better wardrobe you are going to try to create a closet full of clothes that really serve you. You are going to try to find your personal style and lean into it. Also, you are going to find your classic pieces that always work.
I am not saying you have to have a white shirt or little black dress. I want you to find what makes you happy consistently. Find your style and find yourself!
These questions might help you build YOUR better wardrobe:
- What are my top three favorite colors.
- Am I most drawn towards boho, vintage, classic, business, or preppy styles? Pick two.
- What makes me feel comfortable and beautiful at the same time?
- Are there any items in my wardrobe that I always replace if the fall apart? (Converse Tennis shoes, denim jacket, leather sandals, plain t-shirts, etc.)
- What colors always make me look washed out?
- Are there styles that I know do not flatter by shape?
If you ask yourselves these questions you will soon see what you should include in your wardrobe as you slowly replace your current set of clothes with a better set. This will help you stop buying clothes that you won’t love!
You will also be able to see what items you should invest a little more into. If you love to wear sandals all the time invest in those and if prefer plain t-shirts get good ones that will last longer.
Stop Buying Clothes! You Will Be Happy You Did!
As I have confessed, if there was a speed bump in the minimalist lifestyle, clothing would be the speed bump for me!
It’s been a long road for me to simplify my clothing and stop buying clothes all the time. I really love clothes and I go through phases where I need to buy clothes and then I probably buy too many.
In fact this year I planned to stop buying clothes for a year but then I realized that all my Pandemic worthy clothing was looking pretty lousy in the light of day.
The good thing about my struggle is it has taught me how to fight it and finally I have a good mix of clothes that make me feel great! At least I know my personal style and I have cleared my closet of all the clothes that made me feel fat, uncomfortable, or inauthentic. Because of that I’m excited to get dressed every day!
I know that if you follow the tips above you can stop spending money on clothes you don’t need or like. And you can have a closet that makes you happy too! When you stop buying clothes on a whim and start crafting your personal style you need less, you want less, and you feel like you have more!
Do you need help decluttering your closet?
If your closet is a disaster zone Closet Simplicity can help! Hone in on your personal style, learn cheap or free organizational hacks, and stop keeping clothes you don’t wear!