Could you go a whole year without shopping for clothes?  My friend Jill Chivers understands the overshopping cycle first hand.  After recovering from her compulsion to overshop, Jill is now an advocate for conscious shopping and has created the world’s first online membership site for other women who want to slay their own shopping dragon and create a healthier relationship to shopping, themselves, their wardrobes and their wallets.   If you’re someone who has a compulsion to overshop, has more than you need but still loads your closet with more or considers shopping your favorite pastime, you may want to read Jill’s story and check out her course.

Consumed by Jill Chivers

I’m on a crusade.  I’m on a crusade to talk boldly and respectfully about consumption.  My crusade starts with my own journey but I’ve also got something to say to other women out there, caught up with keeping up and wondering when it all might stop or at least slow down.

I was a compulsive over shopper for years.  And for much of that time, I didn’t even realize it.  I thought shopping was a harmless pastime or maybe a contact sport I had become very, very good at. Shopping was my favorite hobby.

I never over-spent on credit.  I wasn’t Becky from Confessions of a Shopaholic, languishing under thousands and thousands of credit card debt.  But I was starting to suffer from “too much”ness.  My wardrobe was so full that the only way I could get anything new in was if something I already owned was taken out.  I could not squeeze in one more jacket, or one more knit top, or one more pair of jeans.

My turning point moment came when I returned home from a work trip to San Francisco in November 2009, my bags swollen from over $1000 worth of unneeded, ‘justification’ purchases of clothes and accessories.   Why had I bought all this stuff, including 2 pairs of jeans to add to my existing collection of 14 pair and another pair of shoes to take my tally to over 100 pairs?

It was when I got home from this trip that I started to feel guilty.  I did not need any of these items.  Some of them were virtual repeats of existing pieces already in my wardrobe.  And all of them were things I had no disposable income to pay for.  Why did I buy them?  What had compelled me to purchase them?  What “braking mechanism” in my brain had failed, to allow me to sideswipe all the reasons I shouldn’t – and still sign that little piece of paper that says Merchant Copy?

I knew something was seriously “off” about my shopping and I also knew it was time to take drastic action.  It was time (drum roll please) to take a year off from clothes shopping. So on December 15, 2009, I started my year without clothes shopping challenge. No shopping for new clothes, shoes, accessories, handbags, underwear for 12 whole months.  No shopping at all except for necessities.

My year without clothes shopping was a profound and life changing journey.  I learned much about myself, my shopping, my relationships, my failings and talents.

That year also changed what I do for a living. I now run the world’s first online program for women who feel they shop too much and want to develop healthier relationships to shopping, themselves, their wardrobes and their wallets.

I no longer feel a compulsion to shop and I can’t imagine wanting to spend a day at the mall.  In fact, few things would be worse than being forced to spend a day in a shopping mall.  Perhaps being forced to wear polka dots, or navy, would be worse.

I still love clothes and style, but now it’s geared more toward shopping my wardrobe than shopping in the stores.  I am asked to share my story regularly with entrepreneurs and women’s networks.  I am frequently invited to work with others, to write articles, create videos, and deliver teleseminars and workshops. I have appeared in nearly 50 media stories in Australia, New Zealand, the US and Europe.

Clothing is a $960 billion a year industry. We are buying more clothing than ever before, yet we’re not using even a fraction of the items we purchase. Many women have larger wardrobes than their mothers or grandmothers could ever dream of, but are wearing less than 30% of the items that stock their closet.

In addition to that terrible waste, many women are feeling burdened by their buying behavior, and are finding themselves regretting purchases they make.  There’s a lot more going on than “just shopping” when you scratch the surface of modern consumption.

There is a better way.  There is a way to feel great about all the shopping you choose to do – before, during and after you go shopping.

If you want to know more, the next best step may be to check out our 6 Week Conscious Clothes Shopping Mini Course.