Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year, New Budget 2015- French Wardrobe Challenge

So, today I'm presenting my new budget for 2015.

Rules:

Budget: $1500 or less out of pocket
Like last year, I want to pick my spend limit based on a % of my income. I make a bit more than last year, but I decided to go with a lower percentage of my income this time. This approximates to $125 a month but is not a hard-fast rule.

eBay Sales: I can still add money to the budget via sales.

Gifts: I can accept monetary and physical gifts. Gifts are not added to the item limit as I cannot really predict them but still count at inventory.

Item Limit: 20 items
Again, like last year I want to implement an item limit. I had a goal of 45 items or less last year. I did not meet that goal, though I did do much better than in years prior. This year I've decided to set my item limit for this year at 20 because I want to do a 'French' 5-piece wardrobe, where I would add approximately 5 items per season. This limit is all inclusive like last year (accessories, clothing, shoes, outerwear, etc) and like last year does not include undergarments, hosiery, and sleepwear. I bought very little in either category and am not concerned about overspending in those areas. They also come out of a separate budget. Differently from last year, gifts don’t count or can expand the item limit.

Wardrobe Goal: I'm to concentrate on reducing the overall size of my wardrobe, but I don’t have a particular number in mind. I want my wardrobe to be a size that fits naturally, rather than a specific defined number.

Wardrobe Inventory and Analysis: I will post my Wardrobe Inventory approximately quarterly, with comments on each item in regards to needing repairs, tailoring, replacement, or thoughts on purging.

Monthly Budget Posts: I will continue to detail my purchases and purges.

Purchase Criteria: I'm to ensure that when I purchase something, I have asked myself all of the questions in this post and that the item was a pre-determined purchase on my shopping list.

Comments


This year, I feel like my closet is in pretty good shape-I'd estimate a good 90% of it at this point are things that I really like, fit properly, flatter my shape, and work well in my life. I'd rather not undo any of the progress I've made thus far, especially with my shopping habits. I want to wear those things I spent my hard-earned money on and enjoy them, and I do not want to buy more things that will only split the wears of the things I do own.

The great thing about having such a small item limit is that I can really get some great pieces for my budget. This is my tentative shopping list for 2015:

Spring/Summer Items- 5
. Flat pair of sandals
. Replacement tan flats
. Blouse in a vibrant print
. White blouse
. New Gray or colored jeans

Fall/Winter Items- 4
. Replacement winter coat
. Replacement winter boots- black
. Replacement sweater
. Ankle Boots
. Replacement Black Cardigan

All Season Items- 12
. Replacement purse
. New pair of mid-height black heels
. Necklace
. Earrings
. Bracelet
. Scarf in multiple colors
. 2 tops that work professionally and casually
. New Jacket or Blazer
. Wrap style or flowy dress


Note: I already purchased my Christmas Dress for next year this year in December, and all other special occasions are covered with what I already own.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

An Inspired Revolution

Hello everyone! Sorry for my absence, I've been frequently ill and very busy for the holidays on top of everything! I just wanted to share a major inspiration I was struck with this month that has already begun to transform my perspective of everything in my life.

It all starts with a good book

I read Jennifer Scott's blog The Daily Connoisseur. I was brought to her blog after purchasing and reading her inspiring book 'Lessons from Madame Chic'. I also purchased her newest book 'At home with Madame Chic' which was even more inspiring!  I've talked about them both before, but they really have made a difference in how I view daily life. Jennifer posts inspirational articles and videos on her blog once or twice a week. In one of her recent posts, she recommended some great books on clearing clutter. I decided to read one of her recommendations, 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up' by Marie Kondo.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I recently finished reading this book, and it was truly inspirational to me. The method is very different from anything I have ever seen before. Basically, the method is:

1. Decide what kind of life you want to live, what that looks like, and why.
2. Sort through all of your belongings by category (not room!). She asks that there be a particular order as well, and that specifically we only work on items that belong to ourselves and not those that belong to our partners or children.
3. Pool each item of a category together and sort through each object ONE by ONE, physically picking up and holding each one.
4. Ask yourself if this item brings you joy (NOT if you want to discard it, which is a tougher question). Answer honestly. All yes's are items to be kept, all maybe's and no's are all to be discarded.
5. Finish sorting through ALL of your belongings before you begin to organize them.
6. Each item must have a place it belongs in when you are done.

I can't tell you how many quotes I saw in her book that really made my mouth drop and made me want to share with the world! I've copied one here for you to enjoy:

'Every object has a different role to play. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will become a close friend or lover.'

The book was written for a Japanese audience, and the perspective is from a childless woman, but so much of it is applicable to anyone that I truly believe that it should be required reading for everyone! I've only had limited time to employ some of her ideas, but I have to say that the motivation she provided to me to truly clear my clutter alone was worth the time I spent reading her book. I did not agree with every principal the author stated, but I could see why she suggested what she did and how that would work for some people. The vast majority of what she had to offer however has really sunk in and left a mark, which doesn't happen that often! Lastly, she offers new ideas I have never seen before, and she talks about truly appreciating everything we have- which is truly a worthwhile pursuit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

November Budget

Budget-
$2300/year, can add in gift cards and eBay sales.
No more than 45 items this year and must fit in with my shopping questions.



Spent this month: $115.99
Totals: $2382.98 out of pocket, $446.71 on gifts/gift cards, $354.62 on returns and eBay earnings.
$0 left for the year out of pocket, over budget by $82.98.

62 new items entered my closet this year so far total. I can buy or receive up to 0 more items this year. I went over the goal of 45 by 17 items!


What Came In:  2 items
WHBM Black Jacket $37.99: I ordered this jacket using my $50 rewards card I received in October. It's the same jacket I own in burgundy, which I really enjoy wearing frequently. I ordered the same size and found it was too large, so I exchanged for a smaller size which did not arrive until November. The smaller size fit perfectly and I have worn it in constant rotation since. As a policy, I don't purchase duplicates- this one is an exception because it's a great, versatile jacket and was much needed in my core color. 10/10!
Bracelet $78- This bracelet has gotten so. much. wear!! It was very very pricey, which I doubt I will ever do again. I tried out a jewelry membership and fell in love with it, bought it and cancelled my membership because I cannot afford jewelry this expensive on the regular! I never would have enrolled had I any idea how much their items cost. This bracelet is a 10/10.

What I ordered but returned: 0 items

Purged: 0  items

Sold: 0 items

Comments: 

I actually didn't do any November shopping at all. All items shown here were ordered in late October and arrived in November. I'm pretty proud of that fact! I even avoided Black Friday for the first time in years. I spent the day watching movies with my daughter and organizing, which is something I enjoy doing most days.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

October 2014 Budget

Budget-
$2300/year, can add in gift cards and eBay sales.
No more than 45 items this year and must fit in with my shopping questions.



Spent this month: $134.38
Totals: $2266.99 out of pocket, $446.71 on gifts/gift cards, $354.62 on returns and eBay earnings.
$33.01 left for the year out of pocket.

60 new items entered my closet this year so far total. I can buy or receive up to 0 more items this year. I went over the goal of 45 by 15 items!


What Came In:  6 items
WHBM Printed Wrap Dress $48.43: This dress is probably my favorite dress of all time. It's amazing! I've worn it once a week since I got it and I'm certain I won't tire of it anytime soon. I'll keep an eye out this spring for another like this but in a blue/green print hopefully. Rates 100/10.
WHBM Crystal Earrings $10.88: These are very pretty earrings and they go with a lot of things. They could have been a mistake though- they're a  bit heavy and my ears hurt for a couple days after wearing them all day. Very sad! 7/10 but hoping I'll get used to them...
WHBM Dark Zip Skinny Jeans $32.30: These are great jeans, they fit wonderfully and I'm so happy to have a dark plain pair. I own another mid-blue pair and a dark pant with fading/wash and white embroidery. 9.5/10
WHBM Burgundy Tank $16.18: This tank was really a missing link for me, I really needed a layering piece just this color. Because of this tank I can wear my red sweater and feel 'off' because the camisole is a contrasting color, which I dislike. 9/10
WHBM Cuff $14.24: This is a great little cuff, lightweight and right up my alley in terms of style. It also fits my small wrists which is no small feat. 9.5/10
WHBM Burgundy Earrings $16.18: I've been wanting jewelry in reds/burgundys which has been surprisingly hard to find. These earrings are very nice and are a great pop of color. 9.5/10

What I ordered but returned: 3 items

WHBM Suit Jacket $85.49 and Pants $50.85: I should never have ordered these. They were an 'impulse' purchase that I ordered out of pure curiosity, to be honest. When I got them the fabric was truly not what I expected and I was not impressed with the quality compared to the original prices ($220 and $128). Returned.
WHBM Black Jacket $: I ordered this jacket using my $50 rewards card I received. It's the same jacket I own in burgundy, which I really enjoy wearing. I ordered the same size and found it was too large, so I exchanged for a smaller size which did not arrive until November (stay tuned for next month).

Purged: 5 items

Mint Rhinestone Statement Necklace: I purged this necklace and just this week (November) gave it to a co-worker whom I enjoy spending time with. 
Black and White Chandelier Earrings: I used to really like these earrings, then I broke them. I fixed them recently, but when trying to wear them I often switched them out in favor of other earrings I own. This told me that I was really over these and allowed me to let them go.
Burgundy Ruched Front Blouse: This is a purchase I made this year, actually pretty recently. I love the color and the neckline is excellent. The problem- I always felt frumpy wearing it! The rushing down the middle isn't very flattering on me. I should have known- I have tried tops like this several times and they never work out. I was inspired to stop trying to make it work by Debbie Roe's post here about her similar struggle with a dress.
Crystal Stretch Belt: I loved the style of this belt but never wore it. I always would switch it out before leaving the house. I tried it again before letting it go and finally figured out why it didn't work on me- the crystal detail was almost as wide as my waist, so rather than drawing the eye to a narrow spot all I was seeing was the wideness of the belt. That's the best I can do to describe it, but at least now I know why it didn't work to prevent the same mistake in the future.
Blue Watercolor Floral Print Skirt: I love the print of this skirt, but the wideness of the skirt never flattered my figure. I always felt off in it, and finally was able to let it go after taking to heart Debbie Roe's article that is mentioned above (life's too short to settle and wear things out of guilt)!

Sold:  0 items

Comments:

I did not intend to shop this month, yet I did. I did get a lot of items that I really enjoy, but I know I need to slow down. 6 items is an improvement over the numbers I was bringing in my home in recent months, but I need to be able to go without shopping. I still intend to do a 5-piece 'French' wardrobe next year, where I only buy 5 items maximum per season or 20 items total in 2015. Re-training my habits is imperative at this point. I also want to meet my budget for this year- I've spent all but $33.01 of my budget! I can sell items and spend that money, but I'd rather spend the next few months focusing on recovering from this shopping addition and focusing my time and money on the following:

Spending time with family and friends
Celebrating my daughter and nephew's birthdays
Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner
Donating time and money to charity (I usually do wishes for kids, food baskets, etc)
Getting appropriate gifts (not going overboard) for family for Christmas
Hosting either Christmas or New Years

Thursday, November 6, 2014

September Budget Part II

I'm sorry it took so long to get around to posting this! I wanted to get all real pictures of my purges but have been ill twice, so I've decided to just get over with it and post this.

What I ordered but returned: 5 items

WHBM Surplice Printed Banded Top, $57.57
When this top came out in this amazing print, I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn't try it, so I ordered it last month (was on pre-order). I'm crazy about the print, but had my doubts about the fit. I resolved to try it and see if I could make it work. The top arrived, and to my shock it was defective! This is the first time I've seen poor quality in a WHBM garmet- there were loose threads at the bodice and it was obvious it had not been finished sewing. The fit was awful- super blousy in the middle but very tight at the bottom. I only tried it on to see if it was worth it for me to return for exchange. Returned.
Clark's Always Chic Pumps, $140.00 plus $11.20 in tax ($151.20)
I ordered these in a size 7 and 7.5. I sent the 7.5 back.
WHBM Black Eyelet Jacket, $47.50
I ordered this in two sizes and returned the bigger size.
Loft Neutral Necklace, $19.75
I intended to purchase this necklace to replace my neutral short necklace. I didn't really think this one through before ordering, because it's very bulky and is almost identical in style/size to my coral bib necklace that I purged.
Loft  Delicate Necklace, $14.75
I chose this necklace because I thought it could be the perfect hint of sparkle to pair with bold printed tops or tops that have a lot going on with them. I've noticed in my outfit journal that I do not enjoy wearing my statement jewelry with busy tops- it makes the outfit 'busy' to my eye. I like cleaner aesthetics, but mostly cannot bear an open neckline without anything filling the space. This one was too short and looked weird on, which is too bad but at least I was able to recognize it. I was very close to keeping it!

WHBM Gray Lace Cardigan- $64.95
This was another pre-order item from last month. It was mostly an impulse purchase- I love cardigans, love special details, and gray is one of the foundation colors of my wardrobe and had been missing from my tops and toppers. This one did not work out at all. It was thin, the lace had a weird fringe I didn't like, and the buttons were flimsy. Not worth the price or space in my wardrobe.

Loft Pink Drop Earrings, $14.75
I ordered these earrings because I thought they'd be that perfect pop of color I was looking for, particularly in this color. They ended up smaller in size than I imagined and kind of dull. I ordered the blue ones as an impulse, and the blue color was more intense and worked better than these.

Purges: 32


Mint drop earrings: These earrings were not being used because I had a prettier pair of mint earrings that I like much better. I don't need to split my wears, so out these go!
Long silver necklace: I used to really like this necklace, but I haven't worn it since the holidays last year. I'm ready to let it go, particularly when faced with the newer purchase that replaced it!

Long chain/rhinestone earrings: I wore these earrings once (possibly twice) and bought them in 2007 or 2008. It's time to let them go!

Circle rhinestone necklace: I recently bought this and have worn it 5 times already. It's really pretty- but it's splitting my wears with another rhinestone necklace that I like better.
Short purple pendant necklace: This was one of my favorite necklaces once, which is why I've held on to it as long as I have (2007 is my estimate). I have not been wearing this necklace at all in the last few years and it's time to let it go. I thought I had given it new life by removing the worn purple leather thong that was part of the necklace, but while it's pretty it's just not me anymore.

Coral bib necklace: I purchased this necklace this year. It was a great price and is a beautiful color, but I have to admit that the only items it 'goes' with to my eye are printed and feel overwhelmed with this necklace. It's an orphan and I feel uncomfortable wearing it with the top I have been wearing it with (another result of my journal).
Silver snake mid-heel slingback sandals: I tried to wear these by wearing them to work weeks ago, and they did not work out at all. I bought these in 2008 for my college graduation, and while I still have the dress and love it, these shoes really have not been cutting it. I've worn them 3 times total, and while they fit they are uncomfortable to walk in because the sling back style causes the shoe to kind of snap back up when I walk- I hate the slapping noise! They're not likely to ever be worn again, and I'm surprised I didn't purge them sooner.I also hate the heel shape.
Black cut-out booties: I bought these to wear with my sequin mini-dress for a Christmas party. I've only worn them a few times since (5 times this year), and they're a 1/2 size too big for my feet making them uncomfortable and not my 1st choice for footwear. I've finally been able to let these go!
Burgundy pumps: These pumps were once great. They're Ann Taylor perfect pumps from 2008, and were extremely comfortable despite the height. They were leather and had the perfect color, but I finally wore them out. They're discolored, nicked, scratched, and really have been past their prime for a while now. I finally found the perfect replacements and were able to let them go!
Black Trousers hemmed for flats: I've finally been able to let these go. Like the two pairs I let go last month, I wore these pants back when I recently had the baby (but had lost weight) and couldn't tolerate heels for some time. I look much better in heels though than flats for work, and have only worn these twice this year and hated both outfits. Time to say goodbye!
Black Trousers, mid-heel length: The fabric has always made me keep these during each purge, because it's supple and silky-smooth with a beautiful sheen. The issue is that they're too tight, and I always hung on to them with the idea of losing weight. This is a sad goodbye, but they deserve to be worn and not squished under my (now 9) other pairs of trousers that fit.
Blue Cardigan: I originally bought this cardigan in 4 colors (ridiculous!), only because I liked the colors and the price was low. I hated the buttons and found that the fabric was low quality, but it didn't stop me from buying them (gah!). I had this blue one and a red-orange one left. I finally was able to let this cardigan go, even though the color is exactly what I want. I found after going through my wardrobe that I have enough other options for the outfits/specific tops that I would wear this with to part with it.
Red-Orange Cardigan: This is the red-orange cardigan mentioned above, letting go for the same reasons.

Purple Camisole: This was an item that was splitting my wears, as I had another camisole in this color but in a V-neck rather than the straight neck. I hated the lace at the bottom of this one (asymmetrically cut) and decided to purge one of my duplicates. When I pulled it out again, the lace at the top was curling up, but the fabric was soft and it still fit well, so I decided to downgrade it to lounge wear.
Polka dot tie-neck top: I loved this top when I bought it last year, but not the color/print. It's black with a tiny off-white polka dot, and while I pushed myself to wear it this year I never truly enjoyed it. I have a duplicate of this top in a graphic black and white print that I truly do love, and I have decided to stop splitting my wears. This was harder to let go of because it's in perfect shape and has a great fit, but I know I don't love it.
White tiered ruffle tank: This top was a workhorse just after I had the baby. It fit great and hid the excess weight around my middle perfectly as I worked to lose the weight. It's now too big and the tiers are too bulky for me. I decided to downgrade the top to my teeny maternity wear capsule, because I know that this top will get worn if/when I hopefully get pregnant next time in a couple years (to hide the bump until I'm ready to tell, should fit into about 4-5 months) and to wear after pregnancy again. I do not purchase for this capsule just to clarify!
Brown Beaded Necklace: I've worn this a handful of times tops, but never could let it go until now.
Brown Beaded Earrings: Matching earrings to necklace above.
Green Beaded Necklace: I used to love this necklace, but not anymore. My friend borrowed and loved this necklace once- I'm passing it on to her.

Mint Beaded Necklace: This necklace was well loved, but is tarnished and worn now. I don't like it anymore because the silver is so worn out it's mostly copper.
Silver Sparkle Twisted Necklace: I bought this in 2007 for a party and wore it once. I tried to wear it again last year and once this year, but it's not working out. Time to let it go.
Gray Rhinestone Bracelet: This was an impulse buy years ago when I had illusions of layering bracelets (not my thing). Time to let it go.

Rhinestone Beaded Bracelet: Same reason as above!
Blue+green Beaded Necklace: While I still like this necklace, it's very 'young' and doesn't match my style anymore. I'm on the lookout for a mature upgrade, but why keep this around when I don't wear it?
Blue+green Beaded Drop Earrings: These are the matching pair to the necklace above.
Aqua Printed Cardigan: I adore this cardigan and the color, but am ready to let it go. It's more 'mature' than my style and I have been unable to wear it in a successful outfit.
Pink Crystal Necklace: Another old old necklace I once really loved. I've tried to wear it and it's just not 'me' anymore.
Green & Blue Bracelet: I loved wearing this bracelet in college, but nowadays feel like it's just too 'young'.
Black Bracelet: I purged this because the silver finish was wearing off and it was showing the coppery colored metal underneath.

Coral Print Top: I have been 'iffy' about this top since I bought it, which was perhaps 4+ years ago. I've shuffled back and forth over the 'hate it' and 'like it' line, but never loved it. I've finally decided to let it go.
Chocolate Brown Wide-leg Pants: I'm eliminating these because they're not the most flattering on my figure and because their color doesn't fit in with anything else in my closet.

Dark Grey Bootcut Jeans: I feel bad about letting these go, which is why I've held on to them as long as I have. My husband bought these on impulse for me ($50!). I've never truly loved them and hate the boot-cut. They don't go with many things and I'm finally ready to bid those guilty feelings goodbye.

Dark Brown Flat Leather Boots: I once really liked these boots, but they're not my style at all and my husband despises them. I kept them out of sheer stubbornness and guilt because they're one of the few higher-end purchases I ever made, and were a big mistake. They cost over $200 if I remember correctly and were only worn a few times. I hope to sell them for a good price, since they are leather and are in near-perfect condition. I always got tons of compliments when I wore them.
Black Beaded Drop Earrings: These got worn because they were simple and were the only black earrings I had. Now, I have better options and I know I will never reach for these again.
(2) Blue Sparkle Stretch Bracelets: I bought these bracelets in 2008 to go with my blue sequin mini-dress. I wore them that one time and have never worn them again. I really don't want to have anything in my wardrobe that either is worn very frequently or is very much loved, and these are neither.

Sold: 2 items

Gray Express Skinny Jeans: purged last month because they were too tight to wear comfortably.

Circle Rhinestone Necklace: purged this month, listed above! It went for more than what I paid for it, which is a rare occurrence and was a surprise.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Project 333 Week 5-7

Somewhere in the last couple weeks I kind of gave up on P333. Here are my reasons why:

-I've been ill twice, then my daughter got an ear infection. My laundry caught up to me. I could have worn something else (skirt or dress instead of pants for example) but I did not.

-I've made several swaps over the last few weeks for weather. It's a slippery slope at best.

-I wanted to wear what I felt inspired to wear, regardless if it was in my P333 or not. In particular my red sweater and a pair of pinstripe gray pants that are nearly duplicates of my wider ones- they're just slimmer and fit a higher heel.

-I broke P333 and purchased new clothing that I wanted to wear immediately.

In the end, P333 isn't right for me based on NUMBERS. The concept- curating carefully your seasonal wardrobe with both eyes on the goal of minimalism- is just right for me. I don't know if there IS a right set number for me. I know I've been getting closer to where I want to be but feel that other than minor purging and purchasing I'm done with major wardrobe changes.

I broke my resolve and shopped

I stopped shopping for over 30 days! I had little desire to shop and felt empowered! Then, I recieved a $50 rewards card last week that expired quickly, and I went shopping. I went overboard when I saw that many of my wishlist items had been cut to clearance  (more on that later) but the damage wasn't unrepairable. I was surprised how quickly I went into a tailspin once I shopped, though. I launched into my old habits almost before I could say 'shop'.

The best thing is that not shopping really cleared my mind and I was able to choose pieces that really worked for me! I'm getting back on the wagon with not shopping, though everything I've ordered has not yet arrived. I'm still waiting for some jewelry and an exchange. The one item I spent the reward on is too big!

I ordered and kept a pair of earrings, a beautiful printed wrap dress, a needed red tank, and a great pair of nearly black skinny jeans
The earrings really work with everything. They're a perfect hint of sparkle and mix well with many of my things.
The wrap dress makes me feel AMAZING. I am sure it will be worn over and over again, in many situations. It's a 100 on a 10 point scale. If I cold get away with wearing it every day, I would. And to top it off- it's completely different from my other dresses, in color, in that it's a print, and mostly because of the silouhette.
The jeans were sorely needed- I'm likely to prematurely wear out my mid-blue skinnies, I wear them 3 times a week at least! The color was too 'summary' and these new solid dark jeans are their perfect swap for the season.
This red tank was sorely needed. I dislike layering contrasting camisoles under solids, and it matches my red sweater perfectly. As a plus, it also works perfectly with the wrap dress as the pattern has hints of red as well as purple, black, and white.

I think these items are what shopping should be like- sparse, and only for things truly needed and loved. 4 items each month is too much still, but these items really are some missing links for me and I would ideally not get anything again for a few months. I did overshop again, and I'll post the full story as usual on my budget post along with purges, etc. but I had to share!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Project 333 Week 4

Number of outfits this week:
4 work outfits, 3 casual outfits

Comments: 


I had my first swaps during week 4. I purged my burgundy sleeveless top (worn once or twice but was very unhappy in it) and replaced it with my burgundy print tank. I also swapped out my white cardigan (unworn- too summery) for my black, white, and tan printed cardigan, and swapped out my black dress (unworn) and brought in my burgundy cardigan.

I still feel like I need more options that what I have in my capsule. In particular, I feel I need to buy more tops. I also keep wanting to wear my burgundy sweater and teal jacket, which were not included in my capsule. I also sent two tops to the tailors this week (my leopard print top which has a snap in the front that got pulled out and I asked to add a second snap, and my burgundy print blouse that was too blousy- I had the sides slimmed). Not having them made me feel like I had even less options.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Minimalist Game Week 2

I decided to play a minimalist game this month. The game is to purge a minimum of the same number of items per day that the day of the month is (October 1- purge 1 thing, October 31- purge 31 things). So the goal is to reduce my possessions by 496 items or more this month. I added another goal to the list- to put away or find new homes for the same number of items that are adding clutter to my life.

De-clutter Week 1 Total: 13 items (Goal: 10 items)
Purge Week 1 Total: 19 items (Goal: 10 items)

De-clutter Week 2 Total: 194 items (Goal: 56 items)
Purge Week 2 Total: 99 items (Goal: 56 items)

Day 5- Put away two stuffed animals, fabric tape measure, and can of wasp spray (wrong rooms), a small jar, and removed 5 dishes from my child's toy box (10 items). Donated one stuffed animal and 3 old pajama tops, purged 1 necklace (5 items).

Day 6- Returned 2 bags of baby clothing,  a ball, a stuffed animal, a dvd, and 3 glass jars to their respective owners. Put charger and aux cable back in the car (10 items). Gave away two stuffies, a basket, and two new unopened bottles of baby lotion. Purged a ruined book (6 items).

Day 7- Put away 7 medicines, 2 packets of batteries (9 items). 5 toys tossed, 5 donated (10 items).

Day 8- Trashed ruined laptop bag, ruined hairbow, expired teething tablets, deconstructed 3 boxes that up until now had toys, books, or even recycling on them. Donated 14 books, trashed 5 ruined ones (25 items). Picked up/put away many hair ties on dresser (countred as 1) 1 box of books, reorganized bookshelf (counted as 1), returned 5 jewelry items to their proper place (87 items).

Day 9- Donated 3 stuffed animals. Purged expired or stale food: 2 boxes of cereal, 3 jars of protein powders, 2 boxes of very old pancake mix (10 items).

Day 10- Purged 1 top and 1 skirt. Discarded old container and 5 expired cough syrups/meds, 1 old used up eyebrow pencil and 1 old mascara (10 items). Reorganized bathroom with new storage containers (78 items).

Day 11- Donated large bag of stuffed animals (33 items).

Friday, October 3, 2014

September Wardrobe Wear

Since January 6th, I've been tracking what I wear. My goal is to wear everything I own (except specific formal wear) a minimum of 10x this year or purge it. Days that I don't leave my house are spent in lounge-wear, which doesn't count.

 'Green' items have been worn 10+ times so far, 'blue' are on track with 6-9 wears so far, 'yellow' items have been worn 1-5 times, and 'red' items have not been worn yet.

This is my progress so far (ending October 3rd):

Tops: I have worn 16 of the 17. 7 are in the green, 3 are blue, and 6 are in the yellow and 1 in the red. Most worn item is my cream ruffled blouse at 36x. Average Wears: 9 per item

Sweaters: All 4 have been worn. 1 is in the blue, 3 in the yellow. Average Wears: 5

Jackets/Blazers: I've worn 7 of the 8. 3 are in the blue, 4 are in the yellow, 1 is in red. My grey ruffle-back blazer has the most wears at 9x. Average Wears: 5

Cardigans: I've worn all 11. 4 are in the green, 1 is in the blue, and the rest are in the yellow. My teal cardigan has the most wear at 17x. Average Wears: 7

Camisoles and tanks: I've worn all 5, with 3 in the green, 1 in blue, and 1 in the yellow. Most worn is my white cami at 31x. Average Wears: 17

Pants: I've worn all 11. 5 are in the green,  6 are in the blue. My Rerock skinny jeans have the most wear at 37x. Average Wears: 15

Skirts: I've worn 4 of the 5. 1 is in blue and the rest are in the yellow with 1 in the red. Average Wears: 4

Dresses: So far I've worn 6 out of 11. 1 is in the blue, 5 are in the yellow, leaving 5 in the red. Average Wears: 2

Necklaces: I have worn 18 of the 20.  6 are in the green, 2 are in the blue, 9 are in yellow, and 2 are in the red. My delicate heart necklace has been worn the most at 19x. Average Wears: 7

Bracelets: I have worn all 4. 2 are in the green, 1 in blue, and 1 in yellow. My silver cuff bracelet has been worn 14x. Average Wears: 10

Earrings: I've worn all 12. 8 are in the green, 2 are in blue, and 2 are in yellow.  My gold floral earrings have been worn 32x. Average Wears: 16

Belts: I have worn all 4, all in yellow. Average Wears: 2

Scarves: all fashion scarves were purged

Coats &; Outerwear: My new trench has been worn 25 times. My tan flats have been worn for commute 105x, my new leopard flats have been worn for commute 30x. Winter wear is all the same it was.

Shoes: I've worn 14 of the 15 pairs. 7 are in the green, 2 are in blue, and 5 are in yellow leaving 1 in red. My black pumps have been worn 54x. Average Wears: 13

Purged Items: My purged items account for 381 wears, all wear opportunities lost across what I own currently.

Minimalist Game

I decided to play a minimalist game this month. The game is to purge a minimum of the same number of items per day that the day of the month is (October 1- purge one thing, October 31- purge 31 things). So the goal is to reduce my possessions by 496 items or more this month. I added another goal to the list- to put away or find new homes for the same number of items that are adding clutter to my life. I'd like to post my status every Saturday, so today I only have four days to report:

De-clutter Total: 13 items (Goal: 10 items)
Purge Total: 19 items (Goal: 10 items)

Day 1- Put away two books back to bookshelf (2 items). Got rid of one pair of uncomfortable underwear and too-worn socks, donated 3 bras that don't fit (5 items).

Day 2- Brought my framed butterfly and 3 stuffies to my new office where they belong (4 items). Purged 2 fashion magazines (2 items). 

Day 3- Picked up/ put away 3 more books (3 items). Donated a pair of unworn earrings, a book, and 3 small toys my daughter doesn't play with (5 items).

Day 4- Picked up keychain, mirror, comb, and lotion back to where they belong (4 items). Discarded non-functioning marker set, gave away 3 bottles of perfume, 2 bottles of hair product, and a bag of sample hair products (7 items).

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Outfit Journal

I wanted to give an update on my outfit journal and what I have learned from it. I was inspired by Debbie Roe's post on her outfit journal, and began recording my observations of my outfits from September 1st on.

What I learned

Proportion Matters!:

I've discovered that I really need to get the right proportion in my outfits. There are two things that really make a difference in my outfits- the shoe that I use vs. proportion of leg, and the fit of the top vs. fit of the bottom.

Leg Proportions: I have found that when I wear a top that is longer, I MUST use a heel on the bottom or I feel frumpy. I'm an average short 5'4" woman, and when my leg proportion (where the top ends vs. where the bottom ends) is shorter in my outfit, I need to wear higher shoes to balance the outfit. My favorite lately has been my high-heeled tan booties with skinny jeans, paired with a longer/tunic-y top. Pairing flats with longer tops makes me feel frumpy.

Top vs. Bottom Fit: I've discovered that to have an outfit get a high rating, for me, it must be balanced in terms of fit. Particularly, I need a more fitted top for a wider bottom and a more blousy top for a more fitted bottom. I don't rate highly outfits that are very fitted-fitted (without a topper for coverage) or that are blousy-wide/loose.

My Color Comfort Level:

I always thought that I was a girl that loved color. My outfit journal has proved to me that I really am NOT a big color-wearer, and that outfits that feel the most 'me' and the most 'chic' follow the following rules with color in small doses:

One non-neutral color per outfit: I don't like wearing too many accent colors, contrary to my previous beliefs. I always feel 'off' with too much color going on in an outfit and rate the outfit lower.

Matching the color only one time: I don't like being too matchy-matchy with color, but I like colors repeating and being cohesive with something tying them to the outfit (such as all black + burgundy top, needs one more accent with burgundy such as shoes or necklace or earrings). Repeating the color more than once feels over the top, though, especially when I have a print in the mix.

Color + 2 neutrals is most 'chic' for me: The best outfits that I put together had a color (or print) and two neutrals, such as Purple + Denim + Tan, or White + Berry + Gray.

All Neutrals: Another very 'chic' way of putting together an outfit for me was using all neutrals that had texture or detailing to them but were similar in hue, such as White + Tan + Gold.

Accessories, Patterns, and Balance:

I have found that when I wear patterned tops, I don't like pairing them with necklaces unless they are more simple. I also don't like to pair too many textures/patterns together. I find outfits with a focal point more 'me' and outfits with multiple focal points. More than one focal point feels very 'busy; for me.

Outfit Repeats and Variety:

I have found that I repeat my casual outfits a LOT because I don't have a lot of clothing that works for casual wear. The more I repeat an outfit, the less likely I am to really enjoy wearing it because I get bored of wearing the same outfit every weekend. I need to either find inspiration to make more outfits or get more casual wear in the future.

The 'Me' Factor:

This one is still a challenge for me. I've worn flattering outfits that I liked that did not really feel 'me'. I'm still trying to narrow down just why that is- I just can't seem to put a finger on it yet. It could be because I'm trying new styles and am not used to them yet. Another possible reason is that I really like 'feminine' details, and those outfits were more menswear-inspired. Only time will tell I think.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Project 333 Week 3

Number of outfits this week:
4 work outfits, 2 casual outfits

Comments: 

Sorry for another quick post, I'm finding I took on a little much this month !

Project 333 is very doable when it's clothing only. I definetly want to do this again, but with shoes included next time. I added my 33rd item this week even though I only have used about 2/3 of my items. I needed another pair of jeans- I only had one pair and they got wet and had to change.

I've finally put away the clothing not in my capsule and feel less tempted to wear them. Again, I've only worn about 2/3 of my items which really shows that 33 pieces (when not counting layering camis or coats) is plenty for me.

Project 333 Week 2

Number of outfits this week:
4 work outfits, 3 casual outfits

Items worn from capsule since start (see capsule here): 18 items

List was lost, need to recompile!

Other items (other than literal underclothing!): 25 items

List was lost, need to recompile!

Comments: 


I have not purchased/ordered anything since September 10th and I can feel the urge to shop waning as I go through Project 333. I have done some looking online, but the frequency is far less than it usually is. I've gone several days at a time without a glance at online retailers, which I have not been able to do in many months. I've done huge steps of progress when it comes to the 'compulsion' I have felt to shop. I also have made progress in the compulsion to purchase- nothing looks very interesting to me! I'm constantly reminded with what I already have that is not getting worn like it should, and that I have too much clothing thanks to P333. It's an interesting experience!


I also have discovered that I likely will not need nearly as many items as I thought I did. It does feel wasteful to know that I have so many clothes and yet don't need them all, though I do like pretty much everything that I have left. I don't want to purge just for purging's sake! 

As for following the rules- I need to be more mindful of what is in my capsule, and for getting my clothes back into my closet where they belong. I was ready to break the rules and wear two other items not in my capsule, when I luckily realized I had a blouse that would work for the event (soccer tournament, outdoors, 80+degrees) but I forgot it because it wasn't hanging where it should have been!

Monday, September 29, 2014

September Budget Part I

Budget-
$2300/year, can add in gift cards and eBay sales.
No more than 45 items this year and must fit in with my shopping questions.



Spent this month: $244.02 out of pocket, $34.74 in eBay sales, $200 in birthday money
Totals: $2132.61 out of pocket, $446.71 on gifts/gift cards, $354.62 on returns and eBay earnings.
$167.39 left for the year out of pocket.

54 new items entered my closet this year so far total. I can buy or receive up to 0 more items this year. I went over the goal of 45 by 9 items!


I'm adding in two new facets this month: WHY I bought something (not just why I'm keeping it) and what I purchased but returned (these will be listed out in Part II).

What Came In:  14 items
Old Navy Green drop earrings, $ 4.17
These replaced the mint drop earrings. I also have really wanted to add some variety to my jewelry, but may have failed as I did not realize they're the same length as my other drop earrings (I thought they were longer). I've been wanting to add more color options and green is a color that goes with many other colors. I really like the color of these and this style of earring (same style as the mint ones I purged). They're subtle but still are visible in my long hair. 8.5/10
LOFT Outlet Long gold tassel necklace, $9.88
I've been wanting to add a tassel necklace for a while, and finally found one! The tassel style is trendy, but I don't think it will go away quickly. I wanted one to update my style, and in gold with neutral colors because I wear gold the most and wanted it to be very versatile. This necklace is really up my alley (can't see whole necklace, sorry- too long to capture) in that it has a lot of great detailing. 9.5/10
Loft Outlet Long gold necklace with aqua and navy, $12.99
This was mostly an impulse purchase. This necklace is not something I would have purchased a month ago, knowing that I usually add too much blue to my jewelry collection. I've purged a lot recently though, and when I saw this one, I knew it would fit in with my style and that it didn't duplicate anything in my closet. I'm happiest about the fact that it has navy and a bright blue, which will make it more versatile as it can pair with more things. 9/10
Old Navy White pearl long earrings, $4.77
Again, I've been wanting more variety with my jewelry options. I felt that these earrings were 'different' from my regular style but would pair well with my other pieces. I really like that these are quite elegant and are a bit longer than the average earring, so they'll be visible in my hair and they'll be really nice if I wanted to wear my hair up. I'm a big fan of the rhinestones mixed with the pearls and have worn them many times already. 10/10.
Clark's Always Chic Pumps, $140.00 plus $11.20 in tax ($151.20)
I really needed to replace my poor, worn-out  leather Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps in burgundy patent. This year they were only worn 19 times, but I have had them since at least 2008 and have truly gotten my cost-per-wear out of them! They only cost me $29.99 as a lucky fluke (end of season, last pair, on clearance in the retail store). They're all nicked up in the heel and the finish has been scratched and ruined, along with heavy pigment loss/discoloration. I ordered the Clarks in both a 7 and a 7 1/2 because I am not familiar with the brand/fit. This was my 3rd try at replacing these (think of all the time involved in searching for, ordering, waiting for shipping, and returning each time!) and frankly I was getting sick of the whole business, which is why I ordered two sizes with these. I was directed to them when I posted on the YLF forum that I had been searching without success for these, and was immediately directed to these! I got them extremely fast (next day I think?) and was so amazed with them- they fit like a dream in my normal size 7, and are very cushy. Their only downside is that they are painful after several hours of wear, but it's likely the break-in period and due to the pretty tall heel height. 10/10.
WHBM Convertible Purple Pendant / Bib, $19.00
I wanted this necklace as an alternative to my beaded short purple necklace and as an accent to my neutrals. I've been watching it since it came out at $65 and got it at this great price when it went on clearance. I love that I can wear this as a long pendant or as a short bib-style, it's very versatile. 9.5/10!
WHBM Silver Pendant, $16.15
I kept hemming and hawwing about this one. It's got two tiny defects in the chain that only I will see, but it sold out and I knew there was no chance of exchanging it. In the end I decided to accept it as is, because I really love how it looks.  I've worn it a few times already and really enjoyed it. 9.5/10
WHBM Printed Surplice Shirt-tail Hem Top, $55.58
This top came out this month in the same print as the one I pre-ordered last month (see returns on Part II post), and since it was a different fit I ordered it to compare to the fit of the other top. They both arrived on the same day. This top is more blousy than I usually prefer (more than pictured) and I contemplated returning or altering it when trying with my wideleg pants on. But, when I tried it on with my black slim-leg fitted trousers, I was sold. Usually I demand more versatility from my tops because I only know at this point that it only works with my fitted pants, but I really like this one. I also have been wanting more blousy tops to pair with my fitted pants after discovering that I need to balance my silhouette more via my outfit journal. After wearing it a few times I decided I do need it taken in a couple inches at the waist to make it perfect, but I'm willing to do so. 9/10
WHBM White Surplice Top, $41.33
I've been searching for a fitted white top that is not see-through for a very long time. I've ordered and returned probably 10 white tops this year! I originally wanted it to be sleeveless, but upon considering this one I decided that as long as the sleeves were fitted I could still wear it with cardigans, so it was worth trying. I really love the silhouette this one gives me. I can layer it with a tank or cami for work, but on the weekend I'll wear it as shown to be a bit more sexy. This top comes in black and burgundy, and I'll have to be careful not to follow my typical 'if one is good, two is better' mentality because they both are oh-so-tempting.  9/10
WHBM Black Eyelet Jacket, $47.50
When this jacket first came out this spring, I was very tempted to order it. I held off until now (very rare for me!) when the price finally hit a level I was willing to spend on a semi-trendy jacket. The flirty detailed waist and the peplum flare in the back are what attracted me, though I was not thrilled that it was black since I have a plain black blazer already. I actually ordered this in a size 6 AND a size 8 (to be 100% honest about what I order and return), because reviews were so mixed about sizing. My size 6 was great and even had a little room for layering under it. It's so lightweight and is really ideal for my body- it looks amazing. This is a risky buy because I won't be actually wearing it until spring. 9.5/10.
WHBM Tiered Floral Camisole, $56.94
This camisole only recently caught my eye, though it came out in early spring. I'm usually not a fan of strap-y tops because they require an over-layer, which is silly because I might wear a top without a topper a total of a few times a year. This top was making me think about how I could transition my burgundy jacket to spring, and I knew the colors will go well with many of the colors in my closet (especially the berry pink cardigan I got recently). I adore the print (why don't they sell these great prints in sleeveless versions!?!?). The camisole was originally very expensive at $110, and was pricey now on sale at almost $60. When I tried it on I was enamored with it- it looked AMAZING under my burgundy jacket and will work with many of my other jackets and cardigans. I also will be tempted to wear it  as shown on a hot weekend- the back is very low cut and I can imagine it being great for a nice dinner out, provided I wear an appropriate bra. The season is past for this top, so I'm making a risky choice to add it despite not wearing it in the near future. It's already sold out! 9.5/10
Loft Multi-color Necklace, $19.75
I selected this necklace when looking for more variety because the color pallet is so different from my usual. I'm starting to find more muted colors very attractive, and I really like that it has several tones which means it should work with many of the things I own. It's smaller than I imagined but I still love it enough to keep it. 9/10
Loft Teal Blouse, $24.75
Firstly, this blouse caught my eye because it's my favorite color (one that is sorely missing in my top selection after  all the purges). I also liked it because I've been drawn to more 'modern' fitting tops lately. I bought a modern fluid-fit leopard print blouse and truly love it, and want to expand my options a little without going crazy. I've noticed while journaling my outfits this past month that I don't like pairing fitted tops with fitted bottoms, and I have mostly fitted tops and several fitted bottoms. This top is more fitted on me than the model pic, but I love it and it's still modern and fluid. 9.5/10
Loft Blue Drop Earrings, $14.75
These were a risky order, since I ordered the coral pink earrings and added the blue ones despite not being able to see a product picture just in case they were a great color. Well, these were perfect and the pink ones went back! They coordinate (accidentally) perfectly with my outlet necklace purchase, and are a great pop of color. 9/10

Total spent- $478.76, -$200 birthday money and -$ eBay earnings: $244.02

What I ordered but returned: 7 items
See part II for the breakdown!

Purged: 36 items
See part II for the breakdown!

Sold: 2 items
See part II for the breakdown!

Comments:

I'm trying to really follow through with my new sense of purpose and direction, and being more intentional (see this post here). I followed a one-in, one-out kind of rule with my shopping this month. If I want to continue to shrink my closet I need to know not only what exactly I am adding and why, but what item it's replacing as well.

I stopped shopping 9/10/14 of this month and don't have plans to resume shopping until next year (January). Yes, that means that all 14 items were ordered or purchased within the first 10 days of September! Since I started Project 333, I've felt really committed to seeing this through (this Project 333 round ends November 30th). I'm a little concerned about the end of November, as Black Friday/Cyber Monday for me traditionally are where I spend most of my money and bring home the biggest number of items. It'll be a real test of my willpower to skip it completely! I'll still keep posting a monthly budget post to keep myself accountable. Hopefully the only things I will have to report will be purges and sold items!

On that note, I can't believe I purged 36 items this month. 36 items is a big part of my wardrobe! That was about 24% or almost 1/4 of my wardrobe that I purged within a two-week span. That kind of turnover is ridiculous! All I can say is that I'm ready for a change and I've been more ready than ever to let go of things that are not adding value to my life.

I did bust my item limit this month. All I can say for myself is that while I didn't meet my goal with the item limit, I'm still very close. 3 of the items I purchased this year have actually left my closet (listed in my January-June Shopping Review here). I've also purged a large number of older items this year- many more than what I've brought in. I started counting later in the year and my list is currently at 78, but I know it's more than that. I'll probably still plug away slowly at my purges the rest of the year. There are a couple potential items I have identified, but I need to take the time to try them on and see if I can get good outfits out of them first.

As for the budget, I very nearly busted it! If it hadn't been for my birthday money that I got (August 17th, and I did not spend any of it last month) I would already be past my budget. While I feel good about my wardrobe, my problem was that I was always looking to see what was new rather than concentrating on what I already had. The constant roll out of new products at my favorite store for the new season can be very seductive. I'm glad my favorite store's new line is all about my worst color- camel. And I'm glad I have the 20 piece wardrobe for next year and Project 333 right now to focus on.