Nashville — The idea began in February 2009 over lunch with my friend Elissa, someone I like but rarely see. She walked into the restaurant wearing a fitted black coat with a high collar.
“Wow,” I said admiringly. “Some coat.”
She stroked the sleeve. “Yeah. I bought it at the end of my no-shopping year. I still feel a little bad about it.”
Elissa told me the story: After traveling for much of the previous year, she had decided she had enough stuff, or too much stuff. She made a pledge that for 12 months she wouldn’t buy shoes, clothes, purses or jewelry.
I was impressed by her discipline, but she shrugged it off. “It wasn’t hard.”
I did some small-scale experiments of my own, giving up shopping for Lent for a few years. I was always surprised by how much better it made me feel. But it wasn’t until