How My 2016 New Years Resolution Had a “Trickle-Down Effect”

For the entire 2016 calendar year, I committed myself to the next step in becoming more of a minimalist. In order to accomplish this, I made a New Year’s Resolution to not buy any clothes for an entire year. I had many fashionista friends tell me I’m crazy and that it’s a terrible idea, but I stayed strong and wanted to share my journey through the process.

Here are the main reasons why I took on this challenge:

  • I have too many clothes (still do!).  The truth is that I wear my favorite items over and over again and I don’t wear the other non-favorites. Inspired by Mari Kondo, I’d like to get rid of those clothes that don’t actually give me joy. I used every move that we had in 2016 to pare down my wardrobe and gift clothes to friends and friends of friends.
  • I don’t actually need that many clothes. We have a 6-kilo sized washing machine and no clothing dryer. That means that we do laundry almost every other day and it’s easier to have less clothes and keep wearing them over and over again.
  • Returning to Europe and the States for vacations awakens my fashion bargain hunting gene and often causes me to buy things that I love but don’t need. Outlet malls, sales, abundance of choice, and even second hand clothing stores cause me to go overboard while I’m in the States because of the amazing prices.
  • The fashion industry is usually not run sustainably or fairly and one of the reasons that it still exists despite the injustice is because people keep buying new clothes during every season.

Here were my parameters:

  • No buying new clothing.
  • Clothes that no longer fit or are tearing, fraying, etc, can be taken to a tailor to fix.
  • Clothing swaps with friends are permitted as long as I leave the swap with less clothing than I came with.
  • The only exceptions to the no buying clothes rule are: underwear and undergarments such as socks, water-resistant hiking trousers since I don’t have a pair (but didn’t shop for them in the right season when I went to the States for Christmas), and Ukrainian handmade clothes. We were in Ukraine for one week during the summer and I don’t know when we’ll be back again.
    This is one of the beautiful hand-embroidered Ukrainian dresses that I bought while we were in Ukraine this summer.  It made a perfect look for the first day of school!

    I find Ukrainian handmade clothes to be some of the most beautiful pieces of clothing in the world. At first I allowed myself to buy one piece for a christening, but I allowed myself the
    indulgence of 2 more additional pieces, and Mr. Maul was such a good sport while I shopped. These were the only 3 pieces of clothing that I bought for an entire year.

How did it go?  Well, I’ve really loved to take on the challenge for the following reasons:

  •  It made our summer European vacation so pleasant. My tendency to salivate over European fashion throughout Italy, Belgium, and Paris was been refined to window shopping while walking on the streets, only going into Naf Naf once to look at cute clothes, and generally staying more present with hubby and other friends (which I’m sure especially the guys appreciated.)
  • Before moving to House #3 in June of 2016, I downsized by three bags of clothing and had a little clothing swap with two friends of similar sizing. From the swap, I gained some nice additions my wardrobe, and know that the surplus of our swap is getting taken to other ladies of similar size who might appreciate some fun additions to their wardrobe.
  • I have had countless amounts of things tailored that I myself could never sew, and as a result, my clothes fit better! Some of the items that I happened to take to the tailor are: a favorite second-hand pair of jeans that I was putting off hemming which now look much better, three different dresses which have all needed tucks for modesty’s sake, several hand-me-down t-shirts that were the wrong size but I love them, a very nice Lululemon collared shirt which now looks quite tailored, a skirt that needed a lining, zipper and clasp added to it, and a sweater that had a specific type of fancy buttons but had at least three of them fall off. The tailor was able to match the style of button at the market and then replace the entire set of buttons.
Yes, I was wearing this down jacket in JUNE in Brussels!  Here I am with my friend Ryna, whom I had not seen for 5 years until we hung out this summer.

The one splurge that I made that was not a stated exception was to order a packable down jacket from REI that was 50% off. So, I guess if you count that, I did have my “cheating”.

All-in-all, the last 12 months have taught me that God has abundantly supplied my clothing needs and I don’t need to go wild twice a year when I go back to Europe or the States. To acknowledge what I have and recognize that it is still more than enough, to try to gift from my surplus, and to exercise self-control, have all been so helpful and beneficial to me this year. Probably the biggest trickle-down effect that this resolution had for me was that we seemed to spend less money throughout our entire budget, just by limiting our consumer intake in one area.  This gave us more to spend on our ultimate favorite yearly budget expense: TRAVEL!


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