365 Days Without Buying Clothes: A Revolutionary Challenge And Its Surprising Results

At the beginning of 2016, I created an insane challenge for myself: go 365 days without buying clothes (although technically, it was 366 since it was a leap year. Bonus points.). As I’ve said before, I’m not a new year’s resolutions kind of person, and I don’t generally create challenges like this for myself. I like myself the way I am, and unless God makes it clear as day, I don’t see a need for big changes in my life. So why did I go 365 days without buying clothes? How did I do it? What did I learn? Keep reading for those answers!

Could you go an entire YEAR without buying ANY clothes? I did, and the results surprised me. Come read about how I survived 365 days without buying clothes.

*disclaimer: I did actually buy one pair of pants, but only because I was 21 weeks pregnant and literally could not wear my regular pants anymore.*

Why Did I Go 365 Days Without Buying Clothes?

I chose this challenge for myself for two main reasons: frugality and space. I was at a point in my life where I was making more than enough money each month, but I also knew that after Caleb and I got married in March, I would be quitting my job in May. We would then become a single income family, and I would need to be even wiser with the budget. I didn’t spend *too* much money on clothes each month, but I knew that if I could go a whole year without buying clothes, I would break those few bad habits that I did have. The second reason was actual physical space. My dresser was full and my closet was becoming quite cramped, and I really didn’t want to part with the clothes that I already had! Therefore, my logical choice was to just not buy any more clothes.

I went 365 days without buying ANY clothes! Why? How? Should you do the same? Click To Tweet

How Did I Do It?

I’m not going to pretend like this challenge was the hardest thing I’ll ever take on (it wasn’t), but it also wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I’m not a shopper; I get tired easily and nothing seems to fit right, so I thought I would breeze through this year. But this challenge did its job: it challenged me. By June, I was ready for some new tank tops, or maybe a different pair of shorts. When we went on vacation, surely I *needed* a long-sleeve shirt with the town logo on it. And once I was pregnant, though not yet showing? I needed all the cute maternity clothes!!!! So how did I fight this?

I’ll be honest, it was a mixture of accountability and straight up telling myself no. My husband knew that I had committed myself to this, so he was a big support! He wouldn’t tell me no, flat out, but he would remind of the reasons I had started this and would encourage me to finish it. That was a big help, but honestly, I just had to tell myself no a lot, which is really hard! Haha!

365 Days Without Buying Clothes
Even for our engagement pictures, I simply picked out clothes that I already owned and loved!

What Did I Learn?

I learned so much during this challenge, but it all comes down to 3 main points.

  1. It feels good to have less. Though it wasn’t part of my challenge, I ended up cleaning out some of my clothes this year, and since I didn’t buy any new ones, I now have a lot fewer clothes. And you know what? It feels really good. I know that I have what I need, but I’m not living in clutter, and that is a freeing feeling.
  2. I feel better about myself when I practice self-control. Have you ever experienced buyer’s regret? I have, pretty much every time I buy new clothes. After this challenge, I’m convinced that the reason I experienced this is because I was ignoring my self-control. My heart was telling me to control my purchases, but I ignored that, and I was left with a feeling of “oh no”. But when I told myself no and chose to be in control, my heart was a lot happier (even if I didn’t get that cute pair of pants) and I felt better about myself.
  3. I don’t actually need more clothes. I used to easily rationalize my purchases, because I was a teacher and needed new dress clothes, or I didn’t have enough running clothes to last me between washes, or I didn’t own much of a specific color. But after this challenge, I’ve realized that I really don’t need more clothes. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to get a new shirt, and there’s no need to wear pants with a huge rip in them when I can afford a new pair. But need? Absolutely not. I have plenty, and just because I don’t always like what I have doesn’t mean it’s not sufficient.
I have plenty & just because I don't like what I have doesn't mean it's not sufficient. Click To Tweet

Why Should You Take This Challenge?

This challenge really changed me. It gave me a new outlook on my possessions and caused me to stop and think about all the things I buy, not just clothes. Why do I think you should take this challenge? Because we get stuck in our comfort zones and we need to be challenged in order to grow. And this? It will change the way you see yourself. It will make you more content with what you have. It will build your self-control and, consequently, your self-esteem. And, practically speaking, it will free up your budget.

I highly encourage you to take this challenge! If you don’t think you can make it a year, start with a smaller time frame! Maybe go 2 months without buying clothes, and see how you feel after that. Whether you’re a minimalist, a shopaholic, or somewhere in between like me, this challenge is sure to push you out of your comfort zone and create a new appreciation for what you have. Be sure to come back and let me know how it went for you and maybe something new that you learned! 🙂

365 Days Without Buying Clothes
Plus, when you don’t buy clothes, you have more money to buy ICE CREAM!

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever a done a challenge like this? Could you go 365 days without buying clothes? On a scale of 1 to 10, how crazy do you think I am? 😉

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50 Replies to “365 Days Without Buying Clothes: A Revolutionary Challenge And Its Surprising Results”

  1. This is great!!!

    I’m actually on month three of no clothes completely by mistake.. between not letting myself shop for myself in november-december (birthday and christmas = don’t buy your wish list!) and being broke in January… I haven’t purchased so much as a pair of socks for my closet.

    You really do have all you need, though I applaud you for not shopping for maternity stuff, depending on how quickly you start to show I know that can be tough!

    I really like this idea.. maybe I’ll see how long I can go (probably good for my wallet!)

    Laura @ http://www.cookwineandthinker.com

    1. Thanks, Laura! Haha well sometimes even when we do things by mistake, they turn out good! 🙂 I’m starting to get to the point where I am having to get a few more maternity items, but I was given some by friends, so that’s been nice! 🙂 I’m excited to see how this will go for you!

  2. I definitely think I would have to do a shorter challenge- especially since I am working towards big weight loss and will *hopefully* need a different size soon. But I need to do something like this for sure. Maybe even just no buying clothes until I go down two sizes, or something like that!

  3. That is an amazing challenge. I could probably stand to do it, but I just don’t know that I want to. I am pretty sure from about 2004-2008 I did just this as my wardrobe was pretty stagnant. Good for you.

  4. This is such an awesome idea! I’m not really a clothes person, but maybe I could reverse it a little bit and work to part with something (not just clothing) every day for a year. Talk about decluttering!

  5. That is a pretty big accomplishment, congratulations for sticking to your goal! I feel like I probably did that (or at least close to a year) when my kids were small, but not consciously. I simply had enough clothes and was too busy/frugal to get more. I wish I had your will power!

  6. I’m so impressed that you did this! I KNOW it would benefit me because not only is our budget tight but our new place is TINY!! I’ll have to pray about it. I adore shopping, and fashion is a part of my blog. Sigh. choices. Thanks for the inspo!

  7. That is amazing! I love clothes far too much and probably should stop buying more. To be fair I mostly shop at thrift stores so I get really good bargains! (But that is exactly the sort of thing a shopaholic would say right? :P)

  8. You set such a great challenge for yourself! Congrats on sticking it out and accomplishing your goal! I would definitely benefit from a clothing spending freeze, as it’s so rare that I NEED new clothes these days.

  9. I’m not committing to a whole year just yet, but I am doing my best to not shop this year unless I truly need something. I get to the point sometimes where I don’t want to look at my credit card statements because I’ll have to confront the honest truth of how much I spend on one category in aggregate, whether it be clothes or groceries… and that’s when it’s time for a change. This year, I’m challenging myself to not buy clothes unless I need something, and to appreciate the full closet I already have!

  10. I have a minimalist wardrobe and love it – I didn’t stop buying clothes because last year I lost weight after my 7th kid, and nothing fit anymore. A good problem to have! But I love these challenges because I think most of us have too many (cheap quality) clothes that we don’t truly like. Better to buy fewer things of true quality that look/feel great.

  11. awesome! I’m trying to start a more minimal lifestyle and it’s no joke! i think nothing of stopping in a store for a new pair of yoga pants or a replacement sweater, and then somehow end up with clothes that won’t fit in my dresser. I should definitely think about giving this one a go 🙂

  12. I feel like this is one challenge I could do easily and feel ok with doing. I rarely buy clothes for myself anyway but it’s good to see people being more intentional about their purchases.

  13. Hahaha, more money to buy ice cream! I love this, and I’m super impressed. I think the most I’ve gone is 6 months. I really cut back in 2016 on my clothing spend, and I’m really proud of it. I also try and do clothing swaps to get rid of unwanted items and bring in some gently used, new loves!

  14. I am so jealous! I don’t shop for clothes often, but enough to know that going a whole year would be super tough! In fact, I never even thought of not buying clothes for a year. It’s a great idea for a challenge! I’d love to track what I spend in one year, then try going without the next and see what the difference is.

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