|From last Autumn|
Why do we always need to buy more stuff? In that case clothes? I thought about this, and I realized this might be because we imagine ourselves happier owning something new, compared to our current situation. In the case of clothes, we imagine new outfits, maybe we even imagine ourselves more beautiful and stylish with these new clothes. This eternal search for happiness through new things could be what causes us to buy always more.
However, is has been proven that owning more objects is really not a cause of happiness at all. According to Graham Hill at Life Edited, Americans have 3 times more space than 50 years ago, but their house is still as cluttered, meaning that we own more stuff than we used to. But are we happier than 50 years ago?
There actually is research supporting the idea that objects don’t make us happier. Here is a video about the mechanisms of happiness in our brains: it appears that we can be just as happy with what we already have.
According to this video, even if we think we will be happier in an imagined future (for example with new things in it), once these things are purchased and this future comes, we are not, in the end, happier than we were initially. And we are not as happy as we thought we would be. So why bother? Being content with our current wardrobe saves time, money, and the trouble to sell/donate once we are tired of the new clothes.
The problem is, this kind of theory is nice on the paper, but in real life, unless we manage to change profoundly our relationship to objects, it isn’t that easy to stop wanting to buy more – I am not sure it is even possible.
So here is a trick I use to be content with my own wardrobe: I shop my closet. Meaning, each morning I select a piece I haven’t worn in a while, as if it was a new one, and I look for matching items in my closet to find out a new outfit I wouldn’t necessarily have thought about at first glance. As I would do with a new acquisition.
It works really well, because not only does it help me wear all of my clothes, it stops me from getting bored of my wardrobe and wanting to go buy more. Here are the advantages of taking the time to shop your closet:
- You can rediscover the whole contents of your closet
- It makes you wear all of your clothes
- You love your clothes more as you find new nice outfits
- It increases turnover and keeps the core pieces from getting worn out too quickly
- It limits the number of new pieces you want to buy
- It helps save money
- It actually makes a game out of the outfit choosing moment
- It helps you figure out what garments fit with nothing and should be culled
I’m not saying it’s the perfect way of getting out of consumerism, I still buy new things occasionally (although much less often than before), but it does help. Next time you feel the extreme need for a new garment, how about you wait for a couple of weeks during which you shop your own closet, and see if you still want it in the end?