Guide to Shopping Less | How to Shop Less


I love fashion. I like studying trends; I like studying different fashion eras. I enjoy styling clothes, but I’m definitely guilty of having more clothes than I need.

Over the last few years, I’ve made a conscious decision to always clean out my closet. I have a post about 5 ways you can recycle your unwanted clothes which you can read here. I clean out my closet because it’s my way of slowly building a wardrobe I will love and will sustain me longterm.

As I practice that, I also made a decision to not consistently add a bunch of new items into my closet. Through slowly adapting these habits, I am slowly learning more about where my clothes come from, how they’re made, who made them, the materials used, the process used. I am in no way a zero-waste expert or a minimalist genius, but there are a few practices that I’ve adopted to help me be more responsible in the fashion department—the first practice: shop less.

Here is my guide to being more responsible in fashion—how to start shopping less.

Shop less:

I think this is the best first step. When I first started out, I would avoid going to malls or shopping centers because I knew that if I went, I’d end up buying something I don’t need. Now, I can walk through stores and consciously decide if I want to purchase something. I’m no longer tempted by sales signs or the cheap prices.

Shopping less doesn’t mean you’re missing out on the latest trend. I think it’s an opportunity to invest your money towards something else or towards something you will actually truly like.

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Wear what you already have

How many of you have clothing pieces or accessories that you’ve only worn once or twice? I know I do. And yet, somehow, I still feel like I have nothing to wear sometimes. But over the years, I’ve made it a goal to wear the clothes that I own more than once. And through that, I became more creative in the way I style my clothes. There’s always more than 2 ways to style an item. To help me with this, sometimes I even create no-clothes-shopping challenges for myself to keep myself accountable.

Shop second-hand

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If you want to shop, shop second-hand first. This is a great way to recycle and reuse. It helps the environment because you’re buying something that was only produced once, and your prolonging the life of that item. It’s also a great way to find vintage items. A lot of second-hand stores or thrift stores nowadays are quite curated so you’ll typically almost always find something you like.

Unsubscribe from store email lists

I am guilty of signing up for all sorts of email lists but especially clothing stores. I have found that I shop less after I unsubscribed from a bunch of retailers. I’m not constantly bombarded with sales emails in big bright numbers. After I unsubscribing, I realized that the sales emails I still get, I’m not tempted to buy just because there’s a sale going on. Plus, I’m also now only subscribed to stores that I truly support.

Set up a budget

By setting a clothing budget, you are disciplining yourself to only shop within that means. If you’re prone to shopping because of sales or you are a retail therapy person this tip might help you because now you have a limit. The one thing I would add to this budget is, don’t buy quantity buy quality. Your budget is not going to help your personal finance in general, but it’s a way for you to start being more conscious on what you actually buy.

Create a clothing shopping list

Shopping lists are not only for groceries. I’ve been creating clothing shopping lists since—I don’t know—college? I would write down the different clothing pieces that I want to buy, and they’re actually quite specific. Making the list is not just writing down everything I want to buy—no. It’s me looking at my closet and knowing what I already have, then really evaluating what I want to get that would enhance my wardrobe. I always aim to buy something that I can then style with pieces I already own. Creating a shopping list also helps my mind not to wonder when I’m in stores. It really works wonders.

One In, One Out

This was a rule I gave myself a few years ago: If I buy one new item, I have to get rid of one old item. This helps me to manage my wardrobe, helps me to see what I haven’t worn, helps me to really think about what I’m buying.

And those, my friends, are 7 tips to help you shop less. This guide is a shopping less guide that I still use everyday. In fact, these habits have become second nature to me whenever I shop. I hope you found them helpful! What are some of your tips to shopping less? Comment them below!

~ Sincerely, Mainou

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