Why I Unsubscribed From Emails From My Favorite Stores

It has been 28 days since I vowed to forgo shopping this year (read more here). I’m pursuing this as one of my goals because it just felt like it was the right time for me. I have five other BIG goals that could really use the leverage of this one. So, here I am – turning my back from today’s dizzying culture of American consumerism in hopes that I make space for other parts of my life and welcome any pleasant surprises that may come along the way and would’ve been missed otherwise.

Since day one, I felt an extreme liberation and empowerment. Something about saying “no” has been so freeing. I’ve said “no” to buying simple things like lip balm on days I’ve forgotten it at home (I am deathly afraid of chapped lips). I’ve even said “no” to my monthly coconut candle subscription that I’ve been loyal to for over a year. Another place that I said “no” to and has really helped me to ward off any temptations to shopping was my email inbox. Within the first few days of this month, I immediately went through the “Promotions” tab of my Gmail inbox and unsubscribed from everything. That’s right – I said goodbye to Saks, Bloomies, Reformation and even Sephora 😱. I was subscribed to about 20+ retailers’ promotional emails. As I was going through each one to unsubscribe which took about a solid hour or so, I noticed I only opened about 5-10% of them in the first place. The rest was junk! I couldn’t help but to realize that I was basically an email hoarder. (Cue visual of TLC show, “Hoarding: Buried Alive” 🙄…)

Photo by  Farrel Nobel  on  Unsplash

Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash

We sign up for all these emails thinking that there’s just no harm in it. We can choose to open and read them. We can choose to ignore them. And we can even choose to delete them in a matter of a second. At the end the day, it’s just dead energy in an inbox. Sure, the bubble enveloping the number “1,030” told me I had 1,030 unread promotional emails I didn’t get tricked into opening, but I can see how it also hasn’t served me. Although I don’t have any scientific data to substantiate this, perhaps this mere number could have subconsciously crowded my mind. That numeric bubble told me that there was always something new or on sale to buy any time I was “bored,” wanted to procrastinate or felt like I deserved some retail therapy for whatever reason. I became so immune to the inundating messages because they became a part of my everyday life. But they were also silently weighing in to forming my consumption habits and clouding my thoughts on what were truly my needs.

I would describe the aftermath of my un-subscription frenzy as being similar to what I feel after I tidy up my home. After a good tidy-up, I feel better, freer, more liberated. My mind is more at ease, and I am able to think more clearly. I’m often so clear-headed that I’m able to move forward on tasks and projects I’ve been stuck on. The difference between cleaning my home and my inbox to fend off those pesky promotions is that the feeling has been more gradual and definitely not of instant gratification. As the days have gone by, I haven’t been weighed down by the question of, “Should I buy this?” or “Is this the best one I can buy?” Before this year, I was one of those lunatic shoppers who would compare and contrast for hours until I could make a final decision. I no longer give the time to doing this.

Yes, it has only been 28 days, and I still have another 337 to go to complete my no-shopping goal. However, I can proudly say that I have already made so much progress on my other goals thanks to shifting my focus away from shopping altogether. In fact, I’ve already struck one off the list and am well on my way to striking through the rest by the end of this year – and friendly reminder… we are only 28 days into the year 🎉!

For those of you who are reading this and are enticed to give it a try – don’t feel like you have to go all in unless you want to. I recommend two ways for you to get your feet wet in this new lifestyle:

  1. As this post covers, unsubscribe from promotional emails! I also mentioned that I really only looked at a handful of them. So, if you’re not ready to go cold turkey, maybe unsubscribe from the ones you really never look at and start there.
  2. Try to forgo shopping for just one week (except for food and true necessities like toothpaste, of course!). See if you can try it for another week after that.

At the end of either paths, you just might surprise yourself on what that space you created can be filled with! It can be as small as finishing that book you’ve had on your bedside for months or as big as realizing you’re ready for a new challenge in your career. Whatever it may be, you have nothing to lose. That really soft lamb leather jacket will still be there for you to buy later 😉.

To my fellow no-shopping friends: I’d love to hear about your experience so far. Feel free to DM on Instagram or email me at hi@sorahkim.com.