Why lockdown 3 turned me into a compulsive shopper

Theoretical minimalist capsule wardrobe decluttering shopping

I hadn’t bought anything for myself for about 8 months until that point.

I even struggled to think of anything for my husband to get me for Christmas (A book and a jumper, if you’re interested).

Yet, as soon as lockdown 3 hit, I was bursting to shop.

I don’t know why it happened.

I hadn’t even been into a shop since 16th March 2020.

Physical shopping has never been a leisure activity for me and I always prefered to have groceries delivered so why now did I want to spend hours browsing online for things to buy?

I actually started enjoying looking at things in the January Sales. Even though I knew I couldn’t buy anything from particular stores (their returns process was unsuitable), I still flicked through the lovely things on their website and filled up baskets.

Colourful jumpers, floral dresses, sports gear, summer shorts.

Mostly, I stopped myself before ever heading to the checkout. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel like I wanted to buy those items.

And I think I’ve figured out why I was overwhelmed by this urge to shop: I was imagining a future ‘when this is all over’.

In the dark days of winter, I wanted to see a light at the end of the tunnel. To imagine what lovely dress I might wear when I could finally be reunited with my family after lockdown 3. I thought about all the days I could spend on the beach with best friends post-vaccination.

And I suppose those denim shorts in my online basket were part of that picture.

Having not bought much in the way of new clothing for myself for years anyway, maybe I was thinking that an update was overdue. That I would be a different person when I finally emerge back into the world.

And seeing that the world has become a scary place, full of masks and dangerous people, I wanted something to make me feel like it might be fun to leave the house when we finally get there.

I’d always felt like my expectations about the pandemic were realistic, that I knew there was no way it would be ‘over by the summer’, ‘gone by Christmas’ or ‘back to normal in 2021’.

On the whole, I was okay with my new way of life at home, and hadn’t really I felt that exasperated feeling of ‘when will it all be over?‘. When I saw people saying goodbye and good riddance to 2020, I admit that I actually felt a little smug that I knew that things wouldn’t be any different in 2021.

But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t want it to be different.

Loading my online shopping carts with sparkly sequinned tops and rainbow-coloured knits was just one way to make me feel that everything is going to be alright. One day.

But seeing as we don’t know how 2021 will pan out, I suppose it’s a bit premature to pull open my wardrobe doors and start getting ready for my grand day out.

So, instead of stocking up, I’m sharing this insight in case you too are starting to think about shopping for your post-pandemic wardrobe.

I think it’s great to feel that kind of optimism for the future but I can already imagine how many ‘new me’ makeovers people will be clamouring for when the pandemic is over.

Maybe hang back a bit and keep those items on your wish-list for a bit. Maybe practice the 30/30 rule I discussed in my blog post on why the novelty of buying new things soon wears off.

I admit, I did give in to some of my urges and bought a couple of practical items – some face masks in the sale – so that at least I’ll feel a little safer when lockdown eases next month.

Or the month after.

Or the month after that…