You would not believe how many times I have written the introduction to this post! My current situation is this: there are so many things going around in my head at the moment and I have no idea where or how to start sorting them out into some sort of organised list. So, let's just start writing and see where it takes me!
It's been a while since I last posted (nothing new there as I've always been a bit sporadic in posting) but this time one of the reasons behind me not posting has been that I have just lost my blogging mojo. Well, maybe not my blogging mojo, but my mojo for the things I blog about.
I started this blog because I loved shopping and buying clothes and make up. The one thing I didn't realise when I started this blog was that I actually don't buy that much stuff compared to the world of Instagram. I soon found myself trying to play catch up and thinking that I needed to be posting about new things on my Insta-feed every day. As you can imagine, that's just not possible as a) I'm a busy mum with a part-time job and b) I don't have an endless supply of money! The end result was a bad case of fomo (fear of missing out) and an overdrawn bank account.
For some people though, shopping is an easy thing not to do. I love talking to people to find out their reasons for not liking it. Quite a lot of the time it's because they don't have the time, or lately because there is just too much choice. I love a wander around a high street or an online browse when the kids have gone to bed, and that is my downfall. When I start looking, I start finding all sorts of things I didn't realise I needed or wanted but clearly, if I didn't get them, my life wouldn't be complete. It's this reason that I decided I needed to take some sort of control over this. Having started smoking in my early teens, I know that feeling of an addiction and that is exactly what my shopping has become... an addiction. Having that feeling of unhappiness when I can't get to the shops for whatever reason, or something isn't in stock in my size and instead of just getting on with it and dealing with it, I become consumed by it, making me unhappy, snappy and irritable. That's not a feeling I like at all. Just like when I stopped smoking 22 years ago, I woke up one morning and decided I needed to do this. No weaning myself off, or cutting back.... just straight up doing it - stopping shopping as of now.
To help me I bought the book "The Magic Art of Tidying" by Marie Kondo and also started the "30 Days to Simplify Your Life" Challenge. I love making lists and I felt by making lists of how I would cope with this, would make it easier to achieve.
I loved the book. Like most things, it's been impossible to implement every change and follow word-for-word but I've been able to take the things that I think are the most important to me and work on them. One of those things has been the de-cluttering of my wardrobe. With clutter comes anxiety and I, as a fairly organised person, can't cope well with mess or untidiness (it's a running joke between me and my husband how many times I plump the settee cushions a day)! My wardrobe wasn't too untidy but it was full to bursting point and I also had two full vacuum bags in the loft of seasonal clothes and an entire wardrobe in the spare room full of shoes. The book advises you the best way of de-cluttering (touch every item you own to see if it sparks joy) and then also how to fold items. I am now a total convert to the vertically folded method and have even folded all my sons clothing and my husbands. By the end of the de-clutter I had about eight bags of clothes and one bag of shoes I no longer needed. I gave away quite a lot to friends and family, donated what I could to charity and anything that was unwearable (I had a couple of jumpers with holes in it) I put in a clothing recycling bin. Absolutely nothing went to landfill (more on that later). My wardrobe is now a very different place and I finally have lots of room and most importantly, every item of clothing is in that one space (apart from my coats which we keep in a separate cupboard). All of my summer and winter clothes are in there as are my shoes which is a first for me as they have always been in different places in the house.
I love how easy it is to see everything and I can just grab what I want to wear without rifling through and not being able to see things.
The next thing I did was to look at my relationship with "The 'Gram". When I decided to start writing my blog, I also decided to start social media pages to coincide with it. It was to be a way of linking and sharing posts and also a way to share snippets of my life that I didn't always have time to blog about. Instagram has been the one social media tool that I have loved and loathed in equal measures and the one I firmly believe has given me that serious case of fomo. Pretty much every time I popped over there I came away feeling a little more deflated and a little more like everyone's life was so much better than mine. But then I learned something that literally blew my mind.... the discovery of the process of buying clothes, photographing yourself in the clothes and then returning them totally left me reeling with shock and disbelief and this really is a genuine thing on Instagram. Really, people REALLY do that???! I feel so cheated by this! I want my Instagram to be as real life as it can be (obviously you don't need to see me yelling at my kids) but I have no desire to post photos of me in clothes that I don't even own.
The last thing that has hammered home any doubts I have been having about the 'Gram and my shopping habits was watching the Stacey Dooley documentary "Fashions Dirty Secrets" (if you haven't seen it yet, it's available on BBC iPlayer). Nothing prepared me for how shocking and brutal the message is... fast fashion is destroying our planet and one day, this planet won't exist any more. This quest for fast-fashion (the likes of which is posted millions of times a day on Instagram) is literally destroying the world we live in and I watched, totally ashamed, that I have contributed to this. Rushing down to the shops to buy things I don't need, posting haul videos on YouTube, all helping the industry to carry on mass-producing clothing we just don't need. It has made me totally re-evaluate everything and I am so grateful for that because if I was lacking in any sort of will-power before, I'm definitely not now.
True fact: I didn't post to Instagram on certain days if an item of clothing I was wearing had been featured on my squares before!! Yep that was me!! Why would I even question that? Why could I not repost a previous #outfitoftheday? Is it really that bad to post clothing we love over and over? So I've taken that idea and created the hashtag #lovetorewear. I don't want to hide the clothes I love, I want to share them and share how many times they have been worn, rather than endless squares of different clothes that then get chucked to the back of the wardrobe never to be seen again.
So if you're ever over on Instagram, feel free to look me up and tag me in any outfit shots that you post and don't forget to use the #lovetorewear hashtag. I'd love to see more of my feed filled with people re-wearing their clothes instead of constantly buying new.
I hope you enjoyed this very rambling post and congratulations if you actually made it this far! That is some accomplishment. Please let me know what you think about the subjects I have touched on - Do you find Instagram has become vain and shallow? Does it give a negative image on life? Were you aware of the damage that fashion does to our environment? Have you decided to change your shopping habits?