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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

I won’t lie; I did just close an online shopping tab on my computer before writing this. I developed a bad habit of online ordering to provide some excitement, and even joy, during the pandemic. Too often, I find myself in a virtual rabbit hole, scrolling through pages of clothes I may never buy or even wear. Unless you shop exclusively secondhand or from sustainable and ethical brands, your online shopping habit is probably not the best for the planet either. Think of all of the emissions from the transportation of packages, plastic-heavy packaging, and clothing waste from online orders that wreck the environment. Here are some tips on how to curb your addiction to online shopping, even if you just find yourself excessively browsing:


Look Through Your Closet Thoroughly Before Purchase


I can’t name the number of times I have ordered a clothing item that is almost identical to another piece I already own. Purchasing duplicates of items that you don’t need is wasteful and unnecessary. If I truly love a piece in my closet and get a lot of wear out of it, sure, I’ll buy the same item in another color. However, do you really need ten identical white tank tops? Also, you may rediscover some clothes that you love and just forgot about!

Upcycle and Get Creative!

While looking through your existing items, pick out the items you don’t reach for. Think of ways to transform these pieces into something new and fresh. I love browsing Youtube or TikTok for clothing DIY’s to level up clothes collecting dust in my closet. Maybe this means cropping an old tee, dying your clothes with turmeric and natural dyes, or finally taking the dress that doesn’t fit you quite right to the tailor. 

Set Time Limits On Shopping Apps and Sites!


Since I try to only thrift my clothing, I can spend hours on reselling apps like Depop and Poshmark, scouring for the perfect piece. While thrifting is more eco-friendly than buying new pieces, online thrifting still uses excessive packaging and of course, transportation by fuel-burning vehicles. I set daily, one-hour time limits for these apps that guilt me into closing my phone and doing homework instead. Google Chrome also has an extension to set time limits on computer tabs. 


Pick Up a Hobby Instead!

I’m not saying that you need to become a talented musician or artist during your free time, but occupying hours that may be spent endlessly scrolling online with phone-free activities has really helped me. Reading, baking, doodling, and embroidery have been some of my favorite past times lately. I still occasionally browse online consignment sites like thredup.com and therealreal.com, but I now know that I have some relaxing hobbies to cure my boredom!


Before you place that order on Shein or another fast-fashion site, think about the impact of that purchase. I urge you to research every company’s labor standards and sustainability efforts before clicking alluring the ‘place order’ button. If the company is not completely transparent about its practices, you might want to shop somewhere else. As you learn about the true monetary and environmental cost of your online shopping habit, you might see things a little differently. 

Stephanie Gerson is a first-year student studying Art History at UC Santa Barbara. She is from Palo Alto, California and she is passionate about sustainability, fashion, fitness, and vegan cooking. In her spare time, Stephanie loves going on bike rides around campus, catching up with friends, or spending hours completing her latest embroidery piece!
 University of California, Santa Barbara chapter of Her Campus