As you might or might not know, I’m a major proponent of clothing swaps as a way to revive, and rejuvenate your closet, without ever stepping into a mall or a superstore. I have written about it several times before, but today I wanted to bring up something that has come up in several coaching sessions and it pains me deeply.
Several of my coaching clients have told me the same thing – They are unhappy with their lives, and they don’t know how to change things, so they use retail therapy to make themselves feel better. These are individuals who are already in a lot of debt (due to student loans and credit cards), and they are earning below their potential or are in low-paying jobs.
Due to a culmination of several different factors, they end up spending hundreds of dollars in shopping malls every month – money they don’t have, money they want to be using to travel and live their dream life/career, money they should be using to pay off their debt.
I have told every single one of them the same thing – to use clothing swaps to revamp your wardrobe for free and use the money saved to pay off debts, and save up for that big trip or to quit your job so you can start your career as a writer or whatever it might be.
Why Clothing Swaps?
There are several negatives about retail therapy:
We never really use the clothing we buy to its full value.
We may end up using it maybe 2-3 times, if we are conscientious about it. But mostly it ends up in the bottom of our closets. This video below by grist explains it beautifully.
So not only are we wasting our money on it, but we are also wasting our time.
- We are spending money on items that we aren’t using fully – so that’s money wasted in its secondary sense.
- But we are also wasting money and time in the primary sense. You’ve all heard the adage – time is money.
All of that money you earned is earned through the exchange of your precious, limited time on this earth. That time which you will never get back is gone – and in return, you get this money. This money, which you are then throwing away on clothing you never wear.
Time => Money => Clothing purchased => Time/Money spent => Never getting that time back
When you are spending your money on clothing, you can’t save it up.
If you can’t save up the money, then you can’t quit your job to go travel around the world, or start writing that book that you know is inside of you or whatever your life-long dreams or ambitions are. You are stuck inside that cubicle forever! Such a horrible prospect.
Money => Clothing => No time/money to spend on dreams/real life
When you think of regrets you’ve had, they are almost always about the dreams that you didn’t pursue, not about the clothes you didn’t purchase.
You never lay awake at night thinking of the Fendi clogs you didn’t buy and how you are never going to forget them. The minute you decide you aren’t going to purchase something, it leaves your mind and you start thinking about something else.
But, your forgotten dreams and ambitions stay with you forever. They kill you slowly on the inside. They are the last thing you think of when you fall asleep and the first thing you think of when you wake up. They will haunt you forever! Trust me, I’ve met many people who are dealing with that right now in my coaching sessions. They never, ever leave you.
You can’t take it with you.
I know this might be a stupid thing to say, but I think people forget about this one quite often. You really, truly cannot take anything with you when you die. They might place that Prada purse in your coffin with you, but really will you even want it there with you? Would you really care when you are dying about the stuff you have?
Thinking about your death daily and thinking about what is truly important to you is something that I have written about before (and many others have as well). It really puts things into perspective for everyone. What is truly important to you? What do you really care about?
If you are honest about it, it won’t be stuff. But people, relationships, dreams, hopes, goals, experiences, nature, beauty, joy, gratitude, and love.
Remember that people don’t spend as much time thinking about you as you do about yourself.
A lot of times, we buy things because of how it will make us look in front of others – our self-image might be boosted by it. We think, people will think highly of us if we have a particular car or a brand-name purse. But we forget that people have their own shit to think about. Often, they won’t even notice the things that you own or are carrying or wearing. They are too busy in their own monkey minds to bother with it.
So you are basically wasting your time and money on items that no one ever pays attention to. Unless you call attention to it yourself.
Also, in my humble opinion, if someone cares more about what you are wearing, than what you are doing or how you are living your dream life, then they aren’t really worth it, and you should kick them to the curb. Again, just my humble opinion.
Our closets and homes are already so full of stuff.
If surveys and statistics are anything to go by, you probably already have a closet that is full to the brim. And a home that cannot fit any more stuff. When you are planning to go shopping next time, consider opening up your closet first, and seeing what you have in there already.
Do you even wear any of this stuff?
I know for myself, I end up putting on the same dress or the same pants every single time I go outside – it’s rather sad how that ends up happening.
So consider this. If you already do not use the items you own, how is buying more items going to help that? Maybe donate some of the items you don’t use or do a clothing swap with friends to refresh your wardrobe.
Stuff doesn’t make you happy.
I know how it is. You had a bad day at work. Your clients were angry and your boss took out his divorce misery on you. You come home and you just want to relax. But the house is a mess (because it’s full of stuff you don’t use). Instead of donating some stuff, you decide to go online to your favourite clothing store. Or you decide to pack up the kids in the car and go to the shopping mall for some burgers and fries.
I’ve been there myself. But over the years, I have realized retail therapy doesn’t make me feel better! It just makes me feel even more miserable. Because now I have spent money that I don’t have, or spent money that I wanted to be saving up for travel.
I have started using hobbies as a way to make myself feel better. It doesn’t cost a thing, it makes me feel joyous, and it brings me closer to my goal of financial and location independence.
I’m sure this post has already planted some seeds in you, so I urge you to sign up for a clothing swap near you. Maybe even go on a month-long fast from buying new clothes, or donate stuff you don’t use to any charity.
There are so many options for us now. Or message me, if you have a particular question about clothing swaps.