Shopaholics, pay attention. Could you go an entire year without buying any new clothes? Or, for that matter, could you last a month? Put a clothing freeze on your household and find out more about why you'd want to go new-clothes free with these tips and stories from moms who have tried it... successfully!

An entire year without new clothes?

Is the thought alone of not purchasing any new clothes for an entire year making you want to run into your closet and squeeze all of your precious clothes tight? While so many of us shop out of habit or simply out of a love for clothes and shopping, when we think closely about the clothes that we purchase each year that are wants, rather than needs, the needs list is pretty short in comparison.

Challenge yourself by going on a clothing freeze! Here are a few reasons why you might want to give it a try:

Financial^Whether you need to or you want to stop spending so much money on clothing for your family, going cold turkey with a clothing freeze is a great way to get started. Instead, try putting the same money you'd use on clothing each month into your kids' college fund or a vacation fund. By the end of a year, you'll likely be shocked at how much you've saved up!

PErsonal^How often do you talk about the things you buy with your friends? Is it all you talk about? We all know those moms and at some time or another, it's likely that you've been that mom yourself. The one who is obsessed with finding the perfect purse or the most adorable shoes for her daughter. Don't let what you buy make you who you are — to yourself or to other people.

Purpose^Often times, families go on clothing freezes as another way to be green. Just like reusable metal water bottles, rather than disposable plastic ones, helps cut down on your impact on the environment, going on a clothing freeze will do the same. The less you purchase, the less of an impact you'll have and the more environmentally conscious your family will become.

How to make it work... for you

Follow these tips to go on a clothing freeze:

  • Start small: Give yourself a 30-day deadline, then extend it by another 30-days, if you can. For some people, thinking about not shopping for new clothes for an entire year seems too overwhelming, but breaking it up into monthly portions can feel more manageable.
  • Take inventory: Before you go on a freeze, take stock of what you have in your closet. We're not suggesting that you go on a shopping spree before you take this leap — that would defeat the purpose! — but, if your black work pants are already on their way out or your running shoes are 100-miles past their expiration date, buy those staples now. If you have the basics you need before your clothing freeze, you'll be less likely to break it.
  • Organization is key: Make sure your closet is well organized and that you can see every piece in your wardrobe — including your shoes and accessories! It's amazing how far your existing wardrobe can take you with the change of a belt, a switch from heels to flats or the addition of a blazer.
  • Bust out the sewing kit: Time to pull up those good old Home-Ec sewing skills! Don't toss that sock with a hole in the toe — stitch it up! Grab some iron-on denim patches for the holes that your little ones are sure to wear in the knees of their jeans. You don't have to be a seamstress to re-attach a loose button or stitch up a pocket — give it a go!

It worked for us!

Samantha, mom of two (a preschooler and an infant), shares that they declared a clothing freeze in their home after she became overwhelmed with the amount of clothes in their closets... and the amount of laundry they were doing each week! "Even before our daughter was born, I was doing dozens of loads every week — many of them unnecessarily," Samantha tells us. "I looked at our closets and felt so wasteful, but for some reason kept buying and buying!" Their family didn't put a time limit on their clothing freeze, but ended up going nearly 13 months before purchasing anything new. "We had plenty of hand-me-downs for the girls, so they were set. I started wearing all of the clothes that had been shoved at the back on my closet for years and simply made-do." Samantha also tells us that it wasn't as hard as she thought it would be: "At first, I struggled to get out of the mindset of just buying something new every time I went shopping, but eventually, I didn't even think about it. Shopping became less of a hobby and more of a chore."

We were clothing freeze failures

Allie and her family, including her husband and pre-teen son, tried to go on a new clothes freeze a few years ago. "We had both just downsized our jobs, due to the economy, and we needed to cut unnecessary expenses out of our budget, so clothes were the first thing to go," Allie shares. She tells us that at first, it wasn't too hard. They began their clothing freeze just after the holidays, when they had all just received new additions to their wardrobe. However, it didn't take long for them to ditch their attempts at bringing no new clothes into the house. "It started with a growth spurt from my son and I picked up a few items for myself as I was buying him new pants," says Allie. "It was downhill from there and I think we actually ended up spending more that year on clothes than we ever have!" Allie does confess that she wishes they'd stuck to their clothing freeze plan — thinking that maybe they'll give it another try, with a little bit of ease built in!

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