Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Inspiration and Changes

I've been majorly inspired by Debbie, from Recovering Shopaholic, and Janice from The Vivienne Files lately. They've both been doing project 333, and Debbie's insightful struggle with a shopping addiction has really inspired me to do something about my own issues.

I have a lot to say about this because I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few weeks. While I financially am doing well, am not putting myself in debt, and am saving, I am not saving as much as I wish I was. I love shopping and fashion, and consider it my hobby- but I spend too much on clothing sometimes. The most important factor is that I have been shopping haphazardly and have not been spending WISELY. This has resulted in a large collection of clothing (huge to some, but small in comparison to others) that is too large for ME and is not utilized well in a cost-per-wear scenario. I want to really reduce and have a small closet with a few fabulous items rather than an abundant closet filled with mostly mediocre items. When I think of the money I have spent, it makes me sad- and I pride myself on my bargain shopping!

Some numbers: Totals are including items from before doing my multiple sorts over the last 4 months (still in process) and counts all recent purchases. These are close to accurate but are not exact as I am still sorting!

Approx. 85 tops. I have sold 18, given away 2, donated 3, am selling 27, and have 35 in my ‘keep’ pile. But to be honest, I recently ordered 5 more tops to ‘try’ that are on their way to my home!

Approx 18 skirts. I have 9 in my ‘keep’ pile, 2 for sale, and have sold 7.

Approx 35 pairs of pants- I have sold 6, have 3 for sale (and maybe 9 more to list), and 17 in my keep pile!

Approx 27 cardigans. I have sold 6, have 3 for sale, have donated 3, and have ~15 in my keep pile.

Approx 13 dresses- 11 in my ‘keep’ pile, 2 to list

Approx 17 jackets/coats/blazers- 4 to list, sold 2, donated 2, 9 in my ‘keep’ pile.

Approx 21 pairs of shoes- 17 in my ‘keep’, trashed 3, 1 to donate. But honestly have 2 pairs I ordered on the way to ‘try’!

Uncounted number (as of yet) of jewelry items and accessories (not many scarves/belts, but do have a large jewelry collection)- have 12 for sale.

These numbers are embarrassing to me, especially considering that a large percentage of these items never saw the light of day, or were worn 1x or 2x at the most. Some of these are items that have sat in my wardrobe for years, and some are new things that have accumulated. I bought these items on ebay, thrifted them, and many I bought new (mostly on sale). But really- so many dollars spent down the drain. I also never knew I HAD SO MUCH before counting- I would have honestly estimated everything at about ½ the real total. I always was proud that I wear clothing I got for a good price, and had a realistic wardrobe for the average woman. Over the last 4 years though, my wardrobe has been expanding without limit and I have finally reached a breaking point. I feel like I should not be shopping right now, especially when I am trying to downsize my wardrobe, curb my spending, and make my life simpler. At the same time, as I am going through everything I have, I realize what I am missing as far as what would help me wear other things more often (like a neutral pair of pumps, a printed b&w cardigan). I have also realized that I am sorely lacking in things that really make me feel great. This is partly what fuels my shopping right now, (though admittedly in a much better way than before- at least I have a little more focus) and is pretty opposite of what I am trying to accomplish.

I also am having a hard time letting go of some items I have not worn in quite a while or have never worn. It's a struggle because even if it's something I feel frumpy in/it doesn't fit well, I hold on to it. I feel guilty for wasting money, I feel like it's my fault and not the clothes, I feel like I might find a way to style it better, or even if I lose weight I will look better in it, etc. I also have a large amount of items in which I 'look alight' in, but are nothing special. They're in good condition and look decent, and to be honest I have so few pieces that look really great that I would be left with a mostly empty wardrobe were I to get rid of them. The funny thing is that I still don't wear them, so I rotate through my favorites as if I didn't have all those hangers of clothing to wear!

So, to help me let go and downsize, I’ve challenged myself to wear everything in my ‘keep pile’ over the next 3 months. I figure, if I wear something and THINK about it, I will know by the end of the day if it is worth keeping or re-selling. I started my challenge yesterday, and I will post every week what I wore, rate it, and decide what I am doing with it!

7 comments:

  1. What a great post! You mentioned that I inspired you. Well, you inspired ME with this post! You are really making excellent progress on paring down your wardrobe.

    I think that challenging yourself to wear what's in your "keep" pile will be helpful. I did something similar with my "Wardrobe Benchwarmer Project" (on hold while I'm doing Project 333). I sometimes surprised myself in that I loved an item which was previously unworn. Other times, even just trying to make an outfit with something led me to put in the donation bag. In any event, it pushed me to make decisions on what was in my closet.

    Best of luck to you with your efforts. I hope we continue to inspire each other to improve!

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    1. Awww thank you! I'm hoping to do exactly that- push myself to figure out what works and what doesn't :). I really find myself trying to set the bar high, I'm hoping I come to the end of this with more than just a smaller wardrobe!

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    2. Oh! and I did see you explain the benchwarmer project, it must have permeated my skull without me noticing lol! I didn't realize it was so similar until you mentioned it, so thank you again for the inspiration! :)

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  2. I think many of us struggle with a bulging closet yet feel like we have NOTHING to wear ;) I've also had that same debate that if it 'fits', I should keep it. Really I shouldn't buy it if I don't LOVE it, and I shouldn't keep it if I feel less than GREAT in it. But it's all easier said than done.

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    1. Yes, exactly! I feel like often I have TOO MUCH to choose from, which is why I have 'nothing'. At the same time, a lot of the things I have to choose from are not my favorite pieces and don't really make me feel great, making me choose my favorites over and over and neglecting everything else. As for keeping things- if it fits and is in nice shape, it IS hard to let go of something you've already purchased. I need to get much more choosy when BUYING to stop this cycle, and the other half is getting more choosy when KEEPING so that I can narrow down my closet to a nice set of 'favorites' rather than an overwhelming avalanche of 'MEH'.

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  3. Wow, this post has just inspired me to go count what is in my closet. I'm a little afraid of what I might find. My problem is more of the make-up variety. I counted everything in an effort to reduce, but I have only found that the inventory has increased dramatically:(

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  4. I love how honest you are about how much clothing you own, and how you're handling it. There's no real right or wrong way to do this, so long as we're attentive to our needs, our wants, and to what's really best for us in the long term. You're off to a wonderful start!
    warmest regards,
    Janice

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