The Surprising Things I Have Learned By Not Buying Clothes This Year

What does one do when they love to sew but doesn’t make time to do it anymore?

What does one do when they want to minimize the things in their closet and be more intentional about their wardrobe?

Well you challenge yourself to a clothes buying freeze for a year of course. And should you want anything, well then you must make it yourself.

Here I am, closing in on 5 months of my ready to wear (RTW) clothing freeze and I have found myself contemplating what I have learned so far.

I have actually learned a ton of things but I am only going to address two of them today and give you two takeaways for you when trying to create your best life.

First and most importantly, I have been reminded how amazing it is to take time to do the things you actually love to do. Sitting at my sewing machine has kind of felt like coming home. It has felt like spending time with a trusty old friend.

When I take time to do something I love, the whole world seems a little easier to navigate. There is just an underlying current of happiness when I have something I love to do in the works.

The women I work with have very full lives. They work and are single moms. Life can feel crazy and challenging and taking time to do something they love is not usually on their list.

Picking up my fabric scissors and cutting out fabric for a new pair of pants, has really helped to remind me of the importance of taking time out of my day to do something for myself. It may only be for a couple of minutes. Some days I only have time to sew one seam, but it feels like I am coming home to me. It helps keep me focused on who I am.

#1 Takeaway: Do something you love!

Second, and more surprising to me, it has taught me that I am really good at buffering.

A buffer is anything you do so that you don’t have to feel or do something you perceive as negative in your life. In general, our society is really good at buffering. We eat, binge-watch TV, shop, sleep, exercise; really the list can go on and on and on.

None of these things are bad! They only become a problem if they are keeping you from living the life you want to live.

I notice that when I get bored, frustrated, or annoyed or have something I need to do but don’t want to do, I will just grab my phone and peruse fabric and patterns or Instagram for inspiration from other sewists.

I love shopping for fabric and looking for inspiration for my next sewing project, and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with that. In fact, It is part of what I love about sewing, but there are also many other things that I need to do. Is 15 minutes sufficient? Probably. Is 60 minutes necessary? Probably not.

The real question is, what is it that I don’t want to face that drives me to do something that wastes so much time?

I don’t want to waste time. I want to use all of my precious time in the best way possible. Figuring out what it is I am trying to escape is key. Is it boredom? Frustration? Guilt?

I don’t know what it is yet, but I am being curious and really trying to be aware of what it is I am feeling when I pick up my phone and start to browse fabric and patterns.

Once I figure that out, then I can do the work to be comfortable with feeling those feelings and doing more productive things even if I don’t like how I am feeling, rather than trying to buffer them away with the time spent on my phone.

The women I work with deal with a lot of fear. They want to get married again but their past marriage can really come back to haunt them at times, leaving them fearful of making that commitment again.

We don’t like to feel fear. Fear is an emotion that we will often try to unfeel by buffering. We unconsciously think it sounds like a good idea to eat that brownie or watch an entire series, right now, on Netflix or spend all day on social media. All of those things are totally fine, but if it’s getting in the way of what you are really wanting to create for you, then it is something you will want to work on.

Be curious when you notice that you are doing things that don’t necessarily help you create the life you want. Don’t get upset our angry at yourself. Just be curious as to why you are doing them. Once you figure that out, then it becomes easier to just identify what you’re really feeling, acknowledge that you’re feeling that way and then go on.

#2 Takeaway: Be curious about why you do what you do.

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