It's been almost eight months since I decided to stop buying clothes. But for Sally Bjornsen and hundreds other women, it's been almost TWO YEARS.
Sally is the founder of The Great American Apparel Diet, which will end on September 1, two years after it began. I stumbled upon the site a few days after I decided to start my year of (almost) no shopping, and found out that I was not the first one to come up with this idea, and I was not alone. There were 300 other women who had given up shopping for various reasons-- to save money, to cut back on the waste of resources that goes into our disposable clothing, or just to get a grip on an addiction to spending.
The rules of The Great American Apparel Diet are a lot tougher than my rules, but we have a lot in common: try before you buy, quality not quantity, don't buy anything on sale that you wouldn't buy at full price -- all this after, the non-shopping year is over, of course. I allowed myself that 40th birthday allowance, but Sally says shoes are allowed. No way I'd put in that clause, or I'd have myself a huuuge collection of shoes by now. (That pair of sandals I bought before BlogHer will have to come out my end-of-year savings.)
In the early weeks of my Year (Almost) Without Shopping, TGAAD was a big part of keeping me on track. On more than one occasion, I followed my old habit of wandering over to the mall when I had an extra hour between appointments or before picking the kids up from school. Those after-Christmas sales were mighty tempting. It sounds cheesy, but I really did think about those 300 other non-shoppers at TGAAD, many of whom have blogged their accomplishments -- and slip-ups -- and that was enough to keep me from buying something I didn't need. Either that or I'm just really competitive, and the idea that if all these other shopaholics could kick their habit, then so could I.
On the rare occasion that I go “window shopping”, I still get that OMG, I NEED THAT, MY LIFE WILL BE SO MUCH BETTER IF I HAVE THAT urge. But I am able to recognize it for what it is, and — for the most part — resist it.
While TGAAD isn't accepting new members anymore, the website will stay live and there's even a section called Maintenance, with tips on how to transition back to the real world and avoid the post-diet binge.
So thank you, Sally, for creating The Great American Apparel Diet and inspiring (soon to be former) shopaholics like me.