Reflections on the No New Clothes Experiment

Photo by Maciek PELC at stock.xchng.
Photo by Maciek PELC at stock.xchng.

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to not buy any new clothes unless I absolutely needed something. The reason I decided to embark on this experiment is that it makes sense. I am not a fan of buying just to buy. When there are children in my global family who don’t even have enough clothes to go to school, I don’t feel like I should be buying clothes that I don’t really need.

I must say, this was one of the easiest New Year’s resolutions I have ever made. I’m not a big shopper to start with, but I definitely enjoy wearing something new from time to time. Pre-2009, I would say that I went out and bought new clothes about 4-5 times per year. Mostly because I was tired of my current selection, but sometimes for a special occasion, like a wedding. In 2009, I didn’t miss it one bit.

Here is what I ended up buying this year:

  • One pair of knee-length athletic pants to use when I bike to work.
  • Two workout shirts made of recycled polyester and one pair of running shorts (my old ones were starting to nauseate me and probably the people around me).
  • One pair of SmartWool socks. This was my only “downfall.” I found them when I was getting above-mentioned running gear at REI and could feel the warmth they would provide in the coming winter months. It’s like they walked into my basket on their own accord.

That’s it. It’s amazing what you don’t need when you stop and think about it. This year has helped me be an even more conscious shopper and appreciate what I have. It has also been extremely liberating to not feel compelled to buy new clothes. Shopping is pretty time-consuming and I’d rather spend my time reading, writing, or hanging out with my family.

In fact, I’ve enjoyed not shopping so much that I’m going to expand this experiment to not buy any new stuff unless I really need it. This means kitchen gear, DVDs, books, electronics, etc. Books is going to be the hardest part. I love books. However, there are some good alternatives like the library, sharing with friends, and sites like

One exception: My daughter, Rebecka, is taking me shopping for my birthday. I can’t say no to that.


  1. Emi says

    Hey… you are I are “waving on the same length” :-) … Pete and I are trying to get the families to let go of buying so many presents and cut down on consumerism.. not going too well but we are trying.. In terms of books if you have some sort of electronic device you can read them electronically. We read on our Iphone’s all the time.. love them… Good luck and I look forward to more of your adventures and hopefully follow in your footsteps.. :-) Love to R and T.

  2. Tabita says

    Hi! Good to hear from you. That’s so exciting that you guys are cutting down on consumerism. I believe that if everybody took even the smallest steps toward more sustainable living, the world would be come a much better place. Thanks for reading!


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