Shop Your Wardrobe: Breaking the Bind of Unconscious Shopping

By Jill Chivers

Thank you Maureen for creating this virtual stage and handing me a virtual microphone! I love your small voices – big message initiative!

My name is Jill Chivers and my big message is that life is to be lived – not spent. If you have a problem with overshopping, over charging and overlooking what life is really about because you have an addiction or compulsion to shop – there is a way out.

In December 2009, I started an extreme challenge – to have a “year without clothes shopping.”  A year where I didn’t buy any clothes, shoes, handbags, earrings, belts, in fact no new adornments for the body at all. This was an extreme challenge for me because I had had a sudden jolt of awareness that my shopping had started to spiral out of control. I was spending far too much money on stuff I didn’t need, and I wasn’t using all the gear I already had.

I was starting to feel bad about my shopping – a low hum of emotions that I couldn’t quite identify. Something felt off, out of kilter, wrong. I knew I needed to change my relationship to shopping. I wasn’t quite sure why – apart from desperation and the obvious financial imperative.

Throughout my year without clothes shopping, I discovered so much. About myself and the triggers that drove my compulsion to shop. I realised that in times past, if I wasn’t shopping I was thinking about shopping. So much of my cognitive and emotional energy had been directed toward shopping. I reflect on that insight now with a sense of “what a waste!” But at the time, I had precious little awareness of how much of my life energy and attention was directed toward consumption.

I also learned a lot about the context in which overshopping and compulsive shopping happens. We don’t overshop in a vacuum! Throughout my year without clothes shopping, I met amazing people, who have studied overshopping and are helping other people overcome their compulsive shopping habits. I also met many inspirational women who have slain their own shopping dragons – their books, blogs and conversations reminded me that change is possible.

I also started to meet other women who were grappling with a shopping issue – I heard about their compulsion to shop, and about how their closets were bursting at the seams with clothing they didn’t wear and yet they still looked in their closet and lamented “why do I have nothing to wear?!”

It got me thinking that I could help them. Using my experience and background as a corporate facilitator, coach and trainer, I started to design a 12 month program to help women overcome a shopping addiction. In October 2010, we opened the virtual doors to and today we have members from all over the world.

Many of our members are saving hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by participating in the My Year Without Clothes Shopping challenge. All of them are discovering how they are enough, exactly as they are. They are also getting their time, their energy and their dignity back – by tapping into what brings them true and lasting joy, beyond the mall.

To learn more, please visit – you can download and complete our Free Assessment and pick up your copy of our free report: 10 Steps to Conscious Shopping while you’re there!

One thought on “Shop Your Wardrobe: Breaking the Bind of Unconscious Shopping

  1. great message! My friends and I (of similar sizes) often shop from each other’s wardrobes — we bring all the nice clothes we don’t wear and ‘shop’ for free. Great girl time and you get ‘new’ things without the credit card debt!

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