The Shopping Ban

On July 7, 2014, I set out to embrace minimalism and complete a yearlong shopping ban. The rules for the shopping ban were fairly simple: I couldn’t buy anything new (other than essentials + a few items on my approved shopping list) unless I had to replace it. I also wasn’t allowed to get takeout coffee, as it was my biggest vice and I wasn’t comfortable spending $100/month on it anymore. Throughout the year, I learned what some of the toughest bad habits to kick would be, as well as decluttered 70% of my belongings. I successfully completed the shopping ban on July 6, 2015—and then decided to do it all over again.

The rules for the second year were essentially the same—and included a new approved shopping list. But I always considered the second year to be more of an experiment than a challenge. Why? Because the one thing I regretted not doing in Year 1 was tracking everything I did buy. So, that’s what I did in Year 2. I didn’t track how much food I bought or consumed. Instead, I tracked how many physical items I purchased (including items that needed to be replaced), so I could show what one female consumer might need to buy in a year. The final list compiled at the end of the shopping ban was a lot shorter than I’d expected.

After the shopping ban was over, I was fortunate enough to do an interview that would eventually turn into a book deal. The Year of Less is a self-help memoir that documents my life for the first year of the ban. It is deeply personal, but also includes insight + a “guide to less” at the end. I hope you enjoy it! Thank you for your support :)