The Low Buy Challenge

Recently I read The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, which is a memoir about a woman who decided to change her life in a multitude of ways, including quitting drinking and not shopping for an entire year.  It's not the first book I've read in this vein, but rather another instalment in a series of similarly-themed books that have been pushing me in a new direction.

Shopping used to be one of my top hobbies. I'd go to the outlet mall that was on the walk home from my job in Docklands, Melbourne on an almost-weekly basis. I'd get parcels from ASOS on the regular, and hanging out with girlfriends or my Mum often involved hitting up Bourke St. Myer, Melbourne Central and sometimes Doncaster Shopping Centre (affectionately known as Shoppo among my friends). Magazines and fashion blogs were inspiration and I'd often buy on sale, filling my wardrobe with colourful pretty things that didn't go together.


When I moved to Canada and stopped working in an office, things changed. I needed different clothing now, and had started to favour more classic items. Once I started sewing, I learned a lot more about how garments are constructed. I learned that a lot of fast fashion clothing isn't made to last - and rarely does.

The final nail in the coffin of my old lifestyle is that we've decided to stay in Canada and want to buy an apartment closer to the downtown core, where my husband words. I LOVE living in the city, being close to the action and to decent coffee. Toronto is a great place and we've made a wonderful life here, but this change will mean downsizing to a smaller apartment.

This, along with reading The Year of Less, prompted me to set a challenge for myself. A Low Buy and stuff "reduction" challenge for the next four months, until the end of the year where I will assess my progress and set some new goals.

The Year of Less

The Year of Less

The Purpose:

To reduce the amount of stuff in our apartment, and prevent too many new things from coming in, to make our move easier next year. Saving money is a bonus!

The Rules:

  • No purchases of any clothing, makeup, perfume, accessories, physical books, magazines, candles, games, household items, cooking utensils, decor, technology items, unnecessary toiletries until 1st January 2019. Items on the "approved shopping list" are the only exceptions.

  • No online fabric shopping. Fabric may be purchased in-person in a ratio of 1:3 for pieces used up in my stash.

  • Each month, one area of the house must be de-cluttered: Bedroom, Living Space, Kitchen and Office. Items being removed from the apartment must be donated/disposed of responsibly.

  • Any books read that are not "keeper shelf worthy" must be donated to the library.

  • Reduce inventory of Stefanie London books.

  • Reorganize and clear out filing, including digital filing.

Approved Shopping List:

  • 1 pair of black flats to replace current pair with hole.

  • 1 x new pair of glasses (covered by health insurance)

  • 1 x crop top

  • 1 x Mascara, 1 x eyebrow pencil and 1 x setting spray, all of which will run out during this four month period. Replacement only occurs when item runs out (no stockpiling!)

  • Replacement of toiletries such as shampoo, toner, eye-makeup remover etc. but only when it runs out (no stockpiling!)

  • If an item of clothing breaks or is damaged, I may replace it if there are no suitable alternatives in my closet and the item cannot be satisfactorily repaired. The old item MUST be disposed of.

At four months, I'll assess how I did and determine if I want to reset the challenge for the next season. I'll be using the blog to keep myself accountable, and will aim to post an update once per month!