Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Shopping Update

So, I apologize for being mostly not around lately! I've been pretty busy. I do have some posts coming up on the subject of being frugal, but for now, I wanted to post an update about how I'm coming along with the 20 Item Wardrobe Challenge!

The Challenge

The challenge is to purchase only 20 items total this year in all wardrobe categories save sleepwear and underclothing (which I still must recap on monthly, to ensure I only purchase when needed and minimally). So, I can buy up to 5 items each season. To put this in perspective, I had a tough time limiting my shopping last year and purchased 70 items! To say this year I've set an ambitious goal could be an understatement, considering how much of a shopaholic I've been in the past (for example, in 2013, I purchased at least 90-100 items).

How's it going?

So, I purchased 1 item last month (a scarf), though I had ordered it in 2014 (it did not ship or bill until January as it was backordered). So in actuality I did not shop / purchase last month, but as I decided to keep it I counted it. It's been 6 weeks now, and I have yet to purchase anything- which is a major milestone for me. Additionally, I have not been close to buying anything either- no white knuckling here! There has been some very nice new items in the new spring rollout at my favorite store- and while I am keeping my eye on them, I'm waiting for an excellent coupon for some things and at least a sale + coupon on the others. I'm taking my time planning and browsing, then thinking critically about an item before I consider ordering anything. If I do order something, it will be because it fits all of my criteria and I determined it could be worthy of one of the 19 spots I have left to fill. It's kind of akin to picking MVP's!

What do I have my eye on?

Well, I wrote about some of these pieces last month (this post), but I have eliminated some items and added others. I've taken the extra step and set 'budgets' for each item. When the price hits the right level for me, I may purchase them. As I order online, I may find I don't like the item in reality and return. In order to keep anything, it would need to be an absolute 10.

Want to try:

$140- wait for 30%+ off, because this could sell fast. This could be the perfect easy dress for work and casual!
$88- wait for 40%+ off. Really attracted to the colors/style, but may not work out right on my body in real life. This will probably hit sale before I purchase it as the new 'season' is spring, but luckily I have months of cold weather left in which I could wear it.
$98- wait for 30%+ off, only one of the two colors (probably white). If these sell as fast as the leopard print version, these will sell out long before I get them! I love the leopard shirt, but I ask myself if I want another of the same style. I need to try this one on to figure that out I think.
$160- wait for at least 30% off, because again it's a popular item. This dress would be great for work if it fits perfectly / colorblocking hits the right places

Unsure about:

$170- wait for at least 50% off. This dress could be stunning or ho-hum. There is a white version which I ruled out, but this one peaks my interest (that does not mean it belongs in my closet!).
$98- wait for 50%+ off. This top could be flattering and a really great easy piece, or a disaster if it's too loose/doesn't hit the right places. I do need more tops that go well with my skinnier bottoms, and this one should work both casually and professionally which is a new priority for me.
$78- wait for at least 30% off. Either could make a great fit in my wardrobe if they fit right. The question I ask myself is, do I NEED more pants? My dark skinnies are a bit too dark, and these might be 'just right', and I've been really wanting a pair of red pants for quite some time now.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Minimalism Project: January

What is the Minimalism Project?

Minimalism is one of the few principals I have discovered that ring true in my heart. In an effort to keep myself focused on minimalism to keep my commitment to minimalism alive and present, I want to post monthly about my journey.

How did I do this month?

Minimalist Mini-Challenge:

Each month, I want to participate in a minimalist challenge

This month, I participated in Into-Mind's 30 day minimalism challenge. This challenge was a simple one, with an idea for each day. Some were more challenging than others (hello, stay offline for a day), but they were all very short and doable. I did not complete them all but it was a worthy exercise.

Minimalist Reading:

I want to read a minimalist, wardrobe, or de-cluttering book each month to help inspire me.

I purchased Debbie Roes's book, 'End Closet Chaos'. This was a great read and gave me great motivation to continue to work on minimizing my closet and refining my shopping habits. This book is a perfect resource for those who have not been long-time readers to her blog and need help managing their wardrobes, but if you're like me and you have it's a great way to remind yourself all the wonderful ideas and principals she has shared with us and has learned throughout her journey. I immediately was drawn to recalculate how many pieces of clothing I would need ideally based on her idea, and was surprised to see how much I have grown! I now feel that I can wear my clothing more often than when I initially tried this out, and have some wardrobe categories that are clearly a little too large- and a couple others that could use some help!

I also started to re-read Jennifer Scott's book 'At Home with Madame Chic'. I really enjoyed this book and found it inspirational the first time, but I did not put a lot of the principals in practice. Some of the ideas I implemented immediately- such as the timed cleanup. I tend to use it when I'm feeling overwhelmed and tired, particularly at night after dinner. Rather than the daunting task of 'cleaning up' everything, I set a timer on my Ipod to 15 minutes and tackle all the cleaning I can muster in that time. If I still have more cleaning to do (sometimes I finish early!) and enough energy, I might extend it another 10 minutes. If not, I usually have made a big impact and can go to bed feeling accomplished. It's amazing what can be done in such a short amount of time! Anyways, I hope re-reading this book will let more of her principals and ideas sink in!

What left my home:

  • 9 large bags (950 bottles) of recyclables ($47.50 back from bottle deposit!)
  • 1 large bag of trash from sorting the bedroom and storage room.
  • 2 large boxes of cardboard from breaking down excess boxes throughout my home.
What came in: (Counting anything that is not food or replacement toiletries/household items)
  • Replacement Blender (necessary!)
  • Portable DVD player for my daughter (not necessary but makes life easier!)
  • 2 new mouth guards for my husband's MMA training (we found out later that he didn't need them- the one he had before was fine, he just never read the instructions on how to mold it to fit!)
What I de-cluttered:
  • Pass 1 was made through my bedroom. I removed ~3 large tubs of things from the bedroom to the 'storage' room to be finished with. ~2 tubs of items were put back where they belong across the house. The table was removed and put back in the storage room with the crafts (originally intended to be a craft table) and all the clutter stacked on the table was taken care of. The clutter strewn across the room and closet was also dealt with. This took 4 days! I expect another 2 passes in the bedroom- an item-by-item intensive pass, and a third detail pass where each item is placed in it's forever home and additional storage items or decorative/functional items are purchased if needed. I then would only need to maintain and do a once-a-year complete review to keep heading down the minimalist path.
  • Pass 1 is 1/4 complete in the storage room. The intention is to turn it into my daughter's bedroom and to reduce the crafts collection, then move it into the downstairs bedroom once it is no longer occupied (hopefully by June, a family member is staying with us currently).
  • I swept clean my hot spots- the stairwell and the island between the kitchen and dining room. The other hot spot (table in bedroom) was removed completely.