Friday, August 26, 2016

Wardrobe Tracking and Minimalism

I began to track my wears again for my wardrobe and plan to do it for at least a year as part of my year of intentional shopping. I started tracking officially August 8th, two days before my ‘year’ started. I want to really drive home to myself how little I wear what I have, and hope to wake myself up and stop buying things I don’t need. I stopped tracking my wears about two years ago, and I stopped tracking my inventory at least a year ago I think. I did both for quite some time and the awareness, if nothing else, is very helpful.

The Tools

My tracking has always been pretty simple- I have a spreadsheet where I write the item of clothing down in one cell, and then in the next cell increase the quantity by 1 every time I wear it. They’re divided roughly by category: Bottoms, Tops, Layering pieces, Dresses, Shoes, and Accessories. I update the date I updated the sheet so I know if I forgot a day. I am taking and posting my OOTDs Mon-Fri (more if possible) every week, which helps me remember if I do forget more than a day so I can update the numbers. I try to update at least every-other day.

This same spreadsheet also serves as an inventory (though it obviously started out lacking items). I’ve added to the list (with 0 wears) everything I could think of that I have in my closet, and add missing items as I wear them. It’s not a perfect system- I’ll have to do an official inventory in another month or two, but it gives me a good idea if nothing else. I have plans to do some needed purging when I complete my inventory. I have upgraded a few items and now plan to resell/give away those replaced items, and I have some items that are unworn that are likely mistakes.

On Wardrobe Minimalism

When I finally do my official inventory and purge, I’ll make sure I post about the process. I’ve done many of these and they’re very helpful for me personally. Inventory in particular helps because I am constantly aware of my numbers and can check wardrobe creep. Rather than focusing on purging though, I’ll be keeping a close eye on purchasing instead. I don’t have a target number of items to own and don’t plan on setting one- I don’t like how obsessive it can make me by trying to achieve an arbitrary number.

On the flip side, I still want to pursue ‘minimalism’. When it comes to keeping my wardrobe minimal, I mean minimal for me personally. My wardrobe is not going to look like the popular ‘minimalist’ wardrobes you can see online. It’s not all neutrals (SO not me), it’s not 30 pieces, and I don’t obsess over numbers or ‘curating’ it every season or biannually. 

But what, then, does a minimal wardrobe mean for me? I want it to be a bit smaller than it is now, high-quality, versatile, and I want to really only purchase a few things a year versus constantly acquiring and purging. I know what you’re thinking- If I’m still buying things, how am I going to downsize my wardrobe? Well, first of all I mentioned above that I have ‘fluff’ in my wardrobe that can be eliminated. My purchases would have to be fewer (hence the item limit and budget I set for myself for the next year) and they would be mostly replacing items I already own—not likely because they are duplicates, but because they will fit better and be more versatile than the item I let go. I won’t necessarily be swapping like for like in every category- I’m willing to expand a little on my accessories, which help make unique and interesting outfits. I’m also willing to decrease my bottoms selection, because I have too many and they don’t all fit perfectly. I’d like more variety of styles in my layering pieces/toppers. So really, I’ll see where this goes- but if adding an item gives me more mileage on the rest, it’s a smart decision. Adding a duplicate of something I already have, though, is not!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Emotional State of Shopping

I’ve found while paying close attention to how I feel when I feel the urge to shop/browse, I have a few consistent emotional states that prompt me to browse. Also, so far, consistently I have not browsed because I remembered or thought of something I actually needed and wanted to buy!

Boredom / Stimulation
It seems I’m constantly in the need for stimulation. I may not be bored in the sense that I have nothing to do, but in the sense that I feel the need to do something electronically (browse) which leads to purchasing. I like to search out things and can get fixated on finding the perfect ‘whatever’ it is I’m imagining at the moment.

Browsing is my default activity for when I’m anxious. It’s avoidance at its best. Instead of feeling how I feel, I redirect. This is probably my most detrimental emotional state when shopping, if I were to hazard a guess, I was feeling anxious when I did my worst binges.

I don’t have a word for the feeling I have when I get home and look on the porch for packages. I don’t have any coming, yet I still look and then feel disappointed that there is nothing there and nothing coming. When I do have something coming, I’m incredibly impatient and excited about whatever wonderful things are coming. They of course are duly tried on, admired, returned or stuck in the closet. And then the wanting starts again before the tags are off what I just received! I think the excitement is more in the new / the fantasy of it, not in the actual having of said purchases.

Looking at this written out ‘on plain paper’ as it may, I feel I need to start satisfying my natural creativity elsewhere again and stop letting shopping/browsing/purchasing fill this creative void for me (which is likely in the imagining portion of the exercise). I’ve been really improving and have severely reduced my browsing and have increased letting myself feel emotions rather than avoiding them. I am not good at the emotion part though, to be honest- it’s a challenge.

These are the alternate activities I should turn to in lieu of shopping that I enjoy:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Painting/Creating
  • Scrapbooking
  • Outfit Creation Session
  • My Planner/Planning
  • Exercise
  • Cooking

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Week 08/15-08/21 Outfit Roundup

So notes: Monday I wore the exact outfit pictured with different/higher heeled nude shoes. Saturday I wore a combo of the two outfits below- the white lace top and necklace with the same shoes and jeans as the other outfit.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


When I was writing my post about shopping for craft supplies (see post), I realized how closely linked FOMO (fear of missing out) was to a lot of my shopping. It’s like I think that I’ll run out of/use up a particular item, and then I won’t be able to find something else I like as much. Obviously this kind of thinking is detrimental and pretty silly. The stores won’t stop selling things I like anytime soon, and I’m pretty good at finding things I like to buy. I’m also not so good at using up said things- I tend to resell/gift vs. wear out/use up. I’m feeding into what the stores are selling in their advertising ‘Get it before it’s gone’- designed to get me to purchase whatever it is they are selling.

Often times, an item I wanted was selling out so I bought it before I was either financially prepared, before it was on sale / I had a coupon to use to make the price  more comfortable, or before I would use or need it. Those very same items, 90% of the time, restocked and were available in the sale section another month or two later. I think it’s a tactic companies use to sell their product- create a higher demand by introducing something with limited quantities, then restock and sell more if it was very popular. The dwindling quantities the first time around inspires purchasing on FOMO, and the restocking inspires purchasing because you can buy the item you wanted you thought you missed out on! This actually just happened with a pair of ankle boots I’ve been wanting. The price point of $200 was very high for me, and at first I had to wait because I had ordered other booties from a different retailer and thought I should wait for the less pricey ones to see if I liked them better. Then, when they didn’t work out, I had to wait for coupons I knew were coming that I could combine (my birthday coupon and the new season item coupon) so I could purchase my boots. I also was attempting to rein in my spending, or I’m sure I would have caved prior to this. Once I had my coupons I had to wait because my bank account got too tight. All the while, sizes are selling out and I was afraid I’d miss out. After some avoiding and getting things better sorted out, I finally go to make my purchase with my coupons, crossing my fingers my size would be left. Well- it restocked in all sizes! I did purchase them because I did want them and had done enough of a pause to be sure that I really wanted them.

I need to be more conscious of this feeling- this irrational fear that drives me to purchase things before I really am ready to purchase them. I'll be keeping tabs on this going forward to see if this motivates me to purchase often, and see if I can identify anything deeper in regards to why.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summary ‘Year of Intentional Shopping’

As I’ve gone through each category of purchases I’ve found a lot of rules that should be applied to all categories. I’ve decided to do an easy brief summary of all my rules and update them. I’ve also set a budget in place for every category so that I have some guidelines and in all cases, a goal to spend less than the budget I set.

The overall idea is that when I spend $ on anything, be it a packaged item in the vending machine or expensive winter boots, every cent I part with must be intentional.

Summary of the Rules:
  • Post about all purchases for accountability monthly and how I’m doing with my budgets.
  • Use what I already have whenever possible and review regularly what I have/plan ahead
  • Check what I have before buying to make a list, and shop using a list whenever possible.
  • Follow my yearly budget/item limits where applicable:
      • $2500/year on my wardrobe- 26 at home and 26 out the door items maximum
      • $500/year on my daughter’s wardrobe
      • $500/year on craft items
      • $250/year on miscellany (new)
      • $1200/year on household items (new)
      • $400 on groceries and toiletries/consumables  a month target (new)
      • $125 on eating out per month or $1500 yearly (new)
      • $1000 on gifts for the year (new)
Use challenges and checklists to keep me interested/spending low
  • New item Checklist for wardrobe purchases
  • Meal planning
  • Outfit / Wardrobe challenges
Additionally, I'd like to review and purge both my wardrobe and my daughter's wardrobe. The idea is to keep our wardrobes managable and minimal. So my goals are to:

  • Review & purge as needed both my wardrobe and my daughter's wardrobe
  • Inventory my wardrobe & post about it, update every 3 months
  • Inventory my daughter's wardrobe & post about it, update every 3 months
  • Post on monthly accountability posts all purges for both wardrobes