Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wardrobe Calculations

I conducted an experiment in calculating my ideal wardrobe size (things worn out of the home only), in detail but with as simple math as possible.

What I considered:
  • 52 weeks a year
  • I live in an area with 4 defined seasons
  • 4 weeks of vacation a year
  • 8 paid holidays a year
  • I don’t leave home every day

I then calculated out the amount of work days vs. non work days each season. Example:

Sept-Nov = Fall
  • Est. 3 holidays + 1 wk vacation
  • 57 work days, 28 weekend days
  • Estimate stay home days = 6 (I wear lounge clothing at home)

I then visited what my ideal outfits look like per week and calculated how many opportunities I had to wear each type of clothing item.

Typical outfits for week=
  • Work: Dresses 2/5x a week, toppers daily, trousers 3/5x a week, tops 3/5x a week.
  • Weekend: Dresses 0.5/wk and Jeans/tops the rest of the time

Work clothing= Have 22 opportunities for dresses or skirts/tops, 35 for trousers & tops, 57 opportunities for toppers

Casual clothing= Toppers 28x, Jeans/Tops 22x and Dresses 6x

I proceeded to calculate each season like the example above, considering how often I leave the house based on the season and what I typically wear.

These are my total opportunities to wear each item of clothing:

Work: 232 days/ outfits total
  • Dresses or Skirt/Tops, 90
  • Trousers: 142
  • Tops: 142
  • Toppers: 187

Casual: 119 days/ outfits total
  • Dresses or Skirt/Tops, 25
  • Jeans: 84
  • Tops: 84
  • Toppers: 84

To calculate how many items of each category I should own, I then divide the amount of opportunities I have for each category by how often I think an item should be worn each year.

Work: 232 days/ outfits total
  • Dresses or Skirt/Tops, 90 / 10 = 9
  • Trousers: 142/ 20 = 7
  • Tops: 142/10 = 14
  • Toppers: 187/15 = 12

Casual: 119 days/ outfits total
  • Dresses or Skirt/Tops, 25/10= 3
  • Jeans: 84/20= 8
  • Tops: 84/10= 8
  • Toppers: 84/15= 6

Or a total of 12 dresses or skirt/top combos, 7 trousers, 8 jeans, 22 tops, and 18 toppers. That's actually quite small when you consider cardigans, jackets, and blazers are all toppers. I didn't calculate actual outerwear- only outfit components.

Now, I've got to compare what my closet actually looks like vs. my calculated ideal and see where I fall!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

10 Pieces for 10 Days

What is it?

I’ve devised a wardrobe challenge (or a variation of one that’s surely already in existence) that I think will be fun to do. The idea is based on creating a cohesive wardrobe capsule based on what we already own.  The challenge is to take 10 pieces of clothing (that you already own) and mix and match to create 10 outfits that will be worn through 10 ‘work’ days (Monday-Friday for me). Accessories and shoes will not count, and neither does outerwear so long as it doesn’t make its way into the actual outfit I worn at work. Weekends, you’ll have free reign of your closet. Please feel free to remix this according to your life. If you don’t work outside the home, or wear uniforms at work, adjust accordingly!


I wanted to create something to pique my interest and creativity that doesn’t feel like a punishment. I love the idea of P333 or 30x30 but don’t want to do this for such a long period of time (I want to WEAR my stuff). I think this is a great way of getting real use value out of what we own and will help create new outfits we wouldn’t otherwise have discovered. For me in particular, I’m hoping mini-challenges will help keep me interested in what I already have and redirect me from accumulating even more things in my well-rounded closet. The weekends off idea I think is the key to keeping this fun and light without feeling punished.

How Often?

I'd like to commit to doing this at least a few times a year. The idea here is that each capsule is 10 workdays / two work-weeks of outfits. Each new capsule would have different pieces so I'd feel like I had a fresh/new wardrobe. My first capsule will happen mid-September, when things slow down for me. I’m actually on a trip in Germany right now (scheduled posts!) and will have a lot to share when I get back.

Would anyone like to join me? I’ll make sure I link anyone that joins if they’d like, and I think it would be quite fun to have company.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Shopping List Month 1

As part of my year of intentional shopping, the plan is to shop almost exclusively from a list. While my grocery list will be pretty boring to share, I thought you'd enjoy my preliminary list for the rest of things I'd like to buy. Items crossed off have been purchased already.

Boxes (Shoes, craft room, bathroom)
New velvet slim clothing hangers (replace all hangers)
New curtains for the living room and kitchen

New Canvas to replace broken one

Winter Boots
(must review wardrobe before determining further needs)

Ankle Boots (on order)
Knee-high Cognac Boots
Winter Boots
~2 Sweaters for fall/winter
Dresses or skirts that work with tights
Bright heels (raspberry)
(must review wardrobe before determining further needs)


Gift for my niece (8th Birthday)
  • Already purchased two bottoms for her prior to my new year of intentional shopping. I'd like to get her a couple more items since her birthday gifts are usually also back-to-school clothing for her, such as a top, sweater, and jacket.

A gift for my husband (birthday)

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

Friday, August 19, 2016

Shopping with Intention: 1 week in

I’ve been trying to keep shopping intentionally in the forefront of my mind for every purchase I make. I’m amazed already at the amount of ‘almost’ purchases I’ve had where had I not stopped and really thought about it, I would have likely purchased something (albeit mostly small, low $ items, but they do accumulate). I’m also having some difficulty discerning between being intentional and just simply wanting something.

This past Saturday, I stopped at my closest craft store with my 3-year old daughter. I’ve wanted to stop for weeks to get a couple more decorative boxes. When I was last there they were 40% off, and I purchased a few which were put to immediate and satisfactory use. I went in and to my joy, the boxes were still 40% off! I almost immediately went into shopping mode once I stepped into the store. I put back several things after stopping to think about shopping intentionally—I was tempted by little 4x4 and 6x6 canvases that intrigued and inspired me (but ultimately, I have plenty of undone projects without adding more), paint, super fine tipped brushes that would be fantastic for an upcoming project (but I have not reviewed what I have vs. what I need), and several pretty boxes that I had no idea what I would do with them. I still went home with: A set of cheap paintbrushes for my daughter’s use (she keeps trying to steal my nice ones), a little treasure box with a handle for her to play with, a big box for my shoes (needed 1 more), a box for the bathroom to store some things out-of-sight, two pretty boxes for my craft room, and a canvas for a painting I intend to do (the original canvas was ruined when a set of drawers collapsed and fell on it). I felt mostly good about my purchases rather than guilty for once! I was on my way home when I almost stopped for McDonalds because my daughter was hungry, but luckily I stopped and thought about it and realized it would be an unintentional purchase- in another hour, we would be eating at the neighbor’s party!

Monday morning, I purchased a breakfast sandwich for myself on the way to work. I had breakfast items with me, so it wasn’t that I didn’t plan ahead-- I just really wanted one. I thought hard about it and decided that this challenge isn’t about deprivation- it’s about making sure that my purchases are all deliberate and are well thought out. If I had had something I liked better for breakfast I honestly would have skipped the sandwich, but we have not had time to grocery shop (unexpected visitors staying with us, for one) and I am making do for as long as I can until we can go again. I only got the sandwich and at least planned to make my tea at work as usual instead of the convenience of getting it all at once like I would have, and I enjoyed the darn sandwich. I’m not sure that it was the best purchase or that it really lives up to my new mantra, and I certainly don’t want it to be a frequent habit. I could have stuck to what I brought to eat.

Alternatively, I bought myself a breakfast sandwich on Wednesday- but I didn’t have breakfast to bring and it was my birthday. We also did fast food Tuesday night for dinner, but we were low on time and consciously made the decision to eat out. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m trying very hard to make good purchases and decisions, I’m struggling a little with convenience vs. making do, and I am working through it and will not give up!

Do you have any ideas or suggestions?

This post was written 8/17, a week into the challenge and will be posted 8/19.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Year of Intentionality Part VI: Miscellany

Just a little background for those who didn’t read my first post on this- the idea is that from August 10th 2016 to August 10th 2017, I will begin an experiment designed to change how I approach all purchases that I make. I feel that I can be too wasteful and haphazard about my shopping in general. Going forward, I want all of my purchases to be made intentionally. This will encompass all purchases that I make for myself and my family- food, toiletries, and of course clothing.

I’ve talked about  craft supplies here, gifts here, household items here, wardrobes here, and how I plan to purchase food intentionally going forward here

I’ve found another category of items that I purchase, so I will make a 6th and final category of ‘miscellany’, which includes my newest discovery and any others I make going forward that don’t fit in the other categories.

I found that I purchase items for my daughter without thought. It could vaguely be categorized into ‘toys’, but I recognize that my purchases are not always going to fit in that category. A recent example of the ambiguity of the categories would be a set of cheap paintbrushes from the craft store for her to play with so she would leave my professional ones alone. Ok, that purchase was pretty justified, but I also bought her a pretty box to play with just because- and she didn’t ‘need’ that. When I think about it, hair adornments are probably another mini-category of things I buy for my daughter, and not always with the discernment I’d like all my purchases to have going forward. It’s very easy to pick up things for my daughter without really thinking long or hard about what I’m buying and why. This is why I need to make another category, or I’m afraid I’ll use it as a loophole and pixie on the spirit of this challenge! I’ve racked my brain and am at a loss to think of other mini-categories, but I’m sure they’ll pop up along the way.

I want all of my purchases to be intentional this year, not just some or most. If I’m not only present and thinking about what I’m doing when shopping at all times, but also then recording both the financial numbers and quantities and then posting them for accountability on a regular and frequent basis, I believe I can change my habits long-term and beat this shopping addiction. I’m trying to set myself up to succeed, and by setting reasonable guidelines I think I will be better able to help myself make wise and rational decisions instead of just white-knuckling through this. A lot of my binging has been exactly the opposite- done recklessly and without logic, and then using avoidance tactics to not have to confront reality after the fact.

So, the guidelines for this category will be simple and sweet:
  • Make a list of things needed or wanted, and ensure that I’m double-checking that the items on the list are truly justified and there is nothing I could use in its place.
  • Approach all purchases with the list when possible.
  • Question myself if what I’m purchasing is really needed or is something very special and deserves and exception when purchasing things not on the list.
  • Post all purchases in this category for accountability and tracking purposes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Year of Intentional Shopping Part V: Craft Supplies

Just a note- this post will go live on my 29th birthday woohoo!

Just a little background for those who didn’t read my first post on this- the idea is that from August 10th 2016 to August 10th 2017, I will begin an experiment designed to change how I approach all purchases that I make. I feel that I can be too wasteful and haphazard about my shopping in general. Going forward, I want all of my purchases to be made intentionally. This will encompass all purchases that I make for myself and my family- food, toiletries, and of course clothing.

I’ve talked about gifts here, household items here, wardrobes here, and how I plan to purchase food intentionally going forward here. Today, let’s talk about Craft Supplies.

Craft Supplies are another of my weakness, right behind wardrobe acquisitions.  You can see some of my scrapbook work from last year hereherehere and here. I'll hopefully post more recent ones soon.

I’ve had binge behavior on my shopping for craft items, similar to shopping for my wardrobe. I don’t spend as much on this category, but I bet in 2015 I spent close to $1000 if not (hopefully not) more. I have a lovely little craft room that is well stocked in a lot of items, more than I can probably use if I’m honest. Scrapbook paper and embellishments are a particular weakness for me. I’ve gotten more selective and picky as time goes on and as I’ve had more available funds to spend. My scrapbook pages are complicated and have lots of embellishments and elements. I don’t like to make do- I have an ‘artistic vision’ if you will, and I feel like I need everything to be exactly the way I want it. I overbuy because not everything I have fits my ‘style’ now and I worry about not having that perfect embellishment- much like I do for my wardrobe, funny enough. BUT- I am very creative. I know I can make better use of what I have and be perfectly happy, even if it’s not as easy to do and takes longer.

When I think deeper about the purchases I have made and why, I can pinpoint a few things. Typically, my over-shopping is triggered by browsing amazing sites such as or, which have new products every day. In particular, when I see the new lines I like or one-day sales (which can sell out quickly), I try to snap them up before they’re sold out. This is because I’m afraid I’ll miss out (good old FOMO). I also tend to buy two of the same item if I really love it, because I’m afraid I’ll run out! This is pretty silly, when I reflect on it. The stores will never run out of beautiful things to buy, and I think I might never run out of paper just by looking at what I have! I don’t just buy for scrapbooking—recently (spring) I had really gotten into planning and planners, and I overbought for that new endeavor as well. The sad part is that I don’t have enough time to sit down and do what I want- make things, scrapbook, decorate my planner or even use it lately. It’s funny how I can always find time to buy something online though.

I don’t want to ban myself from buying craft products, much like my wardrobe. I love experimenting and evolving. I also do have needs occasionally, such as adhesive- a true necessity when I’m out. What I do need to do is to set reasonable limits and reduce my browsing for pretty things. If I don’t see it, I don’t suddenly want or need it, do I?

So here are the new rules pertaining to shopping for crafts:
  • Spend no more than $500 a year (necessary adhesive does not count) on all craft supplies
  • Review what I have prior to purchasing
  • Create a list of wants and needs, shop only from that list
  • Do not buy duplicates of whole kits. I can buy duplicates of particular pages or elements.
  • Challenge myself to use what I have instead of purchasing
  • Post my purchases monthly for accountability

Thinking about this, I’ve realized how FOMO and browsing has affected my wardrobe acquisitions as well. I’ll need to update my shopping rules and write a little more about this in another post before this one gets too long. I’m thinking I’ll post a summary of my year of intentional shopping with updated rules for each category. As I analyzed each category of shopping, I’ve found similarities and ideas/rules that should be applied to other categories.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Week 08/08-0812 Outfit Roundup

Not pictured: Saturday or Sunday's beach outfit.

I liked all of the outfits I wore this past week. The last one is at an outdoor brunch, and I'm bottle-feeding my little niece.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Thoughts on Gifts

While I was devising the rules for the different categories of things I shop for, a thought occurred to me that really excited me when I was contemplating Gifts (this post). I had quite the problem last year. I gave the kids (daughter, niece, nephew) much too grand of a Christmas and broke the bank in the process. It was all my fault, I was overly excited about Christmas (this was the first year my daughter was old enough to care) and over-purchased for the kids. My daughter and niece were getting into American-girl style dolls, and I wanted to give them all kinds of things. I never had nice toys and I think that’s why I was so into giving them so much. Well, it became too much too fast, and I had to make it even between my daughter, my niece,  and then my nephew (who were all there together for present opening Christmas Eve) and I spent MUCH too much money. It was shameful! I don’t want to recount what I spent or what I purchased, it’s that bad.

This year, I want to do things very differently. I want to give a much smaller amount of gifts, and spend as little as possible. As I wrote in my precious post, I’m the kind of person who gives BIG gifts- almost as if I believe a present reflects on how much I care about them. For a while, I couldn’t think of how to balance a small budget + fewer gifts with how I feel about gift giving going forward. I cannot stand the idea of giving my dear family nothing or cheap, crappy gifts.

Enter the brilliant idea I had while examining my newfound ‘intentional’ mantra. I’m a creative person with some modest artistic talent. My family has professed interest and enthusiasm about my projects, and my mom even requested that I paint her a painting. I’m going to paint something for each of the adults as their gift. I even already found out what my SIL’s favorite animal is in anticipation. Please see the examples below (pulled from google) of what I’ll be doing.

I’ve done this style of painting rocks before and I know I can do these, but they will be a real gift of labor- they take a long time to do and I’m rusty, so I’ll have to do a couple before I can start on the ‘real’ ones. I am pretty sure they will really love them- but if they don’t, they can always stick them in the garden.

While this is all well and dandy when it comes to gifts for the adults (each of their favorite animals), what am I going to do for the children? I’m certain that they will not value a painted rock for a present- not an 8, 6, or 4-year old, and certainly not an 8 month old. So, I spent some time contemplating their gifts. I truly spoiled them last year, and I don’t want them to feel ‘famine’ after a ‘feast’. I recognized one gift each would likely be met with disappointment by the elder ones, and luckily these children are not materialistic and wouldn’t be disappointed because they didn’t get a brand new $XXX whatever kids like today. I’m sure they’d be happy with a nice balance.

So what is the plan? I think 3 is a nice number for gifts. Not too few, not too many. All three of the bigger kids are super creative. They love to draw, paint, cut &glue projects, etc. So I thought I’d make a custom craft case for each- get a double-sided adjustable compartment plastic storage case and fill it with all the things they could need to create stuff such as scissors, glue, washi tape, pretty and plain papers, paint brushes, paints, foam shapes, buttons, etc and coordinate it with their favorite things (trucks & dinasours, princesses, etc). That solves ONE gift each. I also want to do the second gift like I did last year- a movie night box with soft comfy pajamas, a movie (Disney movie club to the rescue for price!), and instead of a stuffed animal I was thinking popcorn and hot cocoa mix. The third gift is a little more tricky and will be more traditional. I know my niece wants a table and chairs for her dolls, and while they’re expensive I’m willing to get her them. I don’t know what to get yet for my daughter or nephew, but they’ll likely be a purchased toy of some kind. This leaves out the baby, who couldn’t care less about gifts at this age. I’ll likely get her clothing and a little wooden toy.

I'm pretty excited about Christmas (and it's August lol)!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Year of Intentional Shopping Part IV- Gifts

Just a little background for those who didn’t read my first post on this- the idea is that from August 10th 2016 to August 10th 2017, I will begin an experiment designed to change how I approach all purchases that I make. I feel that I can be too wasteful and haphazard about my shopping in general. Going forward, I want all of my purchases to be made intentionally. This will encompass all purchases that I make for myself and my family- food, toiletries, and of course clothing.

I’ve talked about household items here, wardrobes here, and how I plan to purchase food intentionally going forward here. Today, let’s talk about Gifts.

Gifts can be an Achilles heel for me. I’m one of those people, the kind that really overdoes gifting for people I care about (and overspends). Be it a Birthday, Christmas, Easter, a Baby Shower- I buy too much. Since they don’t sit around in my home, I only feel guilty about it during purchasing/spending and then forget. I’ve thought about this a LOT, and I have a follow up post about this topic so I’ll be brief here. I think my problem is that I try to use gifts to show someone how much I care. It’s misguided, I’ll admit it. I also try very hard to get things people will actually like and use, so there is that. But it’s still too much- too many gifts, too much $ spent. It’s also hard because I’m known for this, and it’s hard to change it after previously having given big/several gifts previously because I think they’ll wonder why or think I care less now. I also ran into trouble before when gift-giving in a setting with several people (think Christmas). I’d buy too much for one child and have to buy the same amount for the rest to even it out- all because of poor planning and magpie shopping.

After reflection, I know this also must change for me to correct my spending habits. It’s not beneficial to my family (overspending or setting up an expectation for my daughter), and I’m sure not all of my gifts are as loved or as useful as I’d hope they’d be. Material items do not reflect my feelings, and fewer gifts will be just as appreciated I am sure. It’s also likely that it will be even more appreciated, since many of the receivers of my gifts cannot give the same in return and have felt guilty due to the excessive/lavish gifts I have given them.

Going forward, my gift giving will be as scrutinized as my wardrobe additions. I won’t stop giving gifts, but they will follow my new rules:
  • Keep the gifts fewer in number.
  • Continue to be selective in the gifts I give and make sure they will be liked/used/is to the receiver’s taste
  • Keep the gift’s total price as low as possible without being cheap.
  • Try to do alternate gifts when possible- experiences (like movies, theater, parks), labors of love such as DIY (for instance, for mother’s day a basket of things like for gardening or pampering),  etc
  • Plan the gift giving carefully so not to buy too much and shop from a list

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Year of Intentional Shopping Part III- Household Items

Just a little background for those who didn’t read my first post on this- the idea is that from August 10th 2016 to August 10th 2017, I will begin an experiment designed to change how I approach all purchases that I make. I feel that I can be too wasteful and haphazard about my shopping in general. Going forward, I want all of my purchases to be made intentionally. This will encompass all purchases that I make for myself and my family- food, toiletries, and of course clothing.

I’ve talked about wardrobes here and how I plan to purchase food intentionally going forward here. Today, let’s talk about household items.

99.9% of my purchases can be divided into these few categories: Wardrobe, Food, Household, Gifts, and Craft Supplies. Again, I buy everything for my family, including gifts, excepting the few purchases my husband makes (sports equipment, shoes, tools, his wardrobe unless I buy for him which is rare). Household purchases fall into a few sub-categories. 


We have things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, dish soap, shampoo, toothpaste, medication, deodorant, etc that fall into ‘Consumables’. When I think about this category and how I typically shop, I think this is my least problematic category. I don’t buy any of these things for fun, and only ever buy them when I’m running out. That being said, I do recognize that sometimes I’ve thought I was running low on an item and bought it, only to find I still had a backup of the item and now had two. This usually isn’t an issue because all of said items are used in time.

Personal Products

Another category is ‘Personal Products’, which contains makeup, hair products, lotions, and other items that are a little easier to buy too many of. I’m particularly guilty of trying new hair products, hoping to find a new miracle solution. This leads to a buildup of bottles of stuff I don’t even like that just take up space.

Home Goods

The last category is ‘Home Goods’ such as rugs, curtains, pillows, sheets, and decorative items. This is my most neglected category and I’d like to make it more of a priority when shopping. Instead of wasting $ on things, I’d like to buy nice curtains for my home, for example. Other large purchases are also needed- especially a new couch. I also love to decorate for Christmas, and I spent a bit on new decorations last year- and loved it. This year I’d like to do more DIY items and reuse what I bought.

So the rules are as follows:

  • Make-do when possible before deciding I’m almost out of an item
  • If I truly hate the item I’m trying to make do with, then throw it OUT instead of having it just hang out
  • Check to ensure I don’t have a backup bottle/package of items before buying a new item (add to list)
  • Only shop using a list (add to grocery list usually)
  • Identify my priorities in purchasing for my home goods and shop in order of priorities as I can. Add these priorities to shopping lists when I can afford them.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Challenge Start, with a BANG

I wanted to write about my experience on my 1st day of the challenge.

On my very first day, I struck out. I spent $0.85 on a bag of pretzels (I know, it's not much- but it's the SPIRIT of this challenge that matters).The good? Only 180 calories and didn’t ruin my dinner. The bad? I could have prevented the expense had I brought ONE more snack with me to work. I am always hungry in the late afternoon and have to go pick up my daughter from daycare and then go home and cook dinner- waiting that long to eat is hard for me. What did I learn? Bring some snacks to leave at my desk just in case what I bring doesn’t hold me over, and put 1 extra item in my lunch bag! Anyway, the next day I made sure I brought the extra snacks to keep and my desk + 1 extra snack for the day.

Additionally, when I got home that day, guess what was on my doorstep? My stitchfix shipment! I ordered it quite some time ago (and paid the $20 style the previous week), but technically these items were NOT purchased yet. So this was my first (and unexpectedly fast) trial by fire. My shipment was 3 tops, 1 cardigan, and a skirt. Immediately upon opening it, I knew it wasn’t going to be like my last shipment where I kept it all. I tried each item on dutifully and found two contenders, a black asymmetrical zip cardigan/sweater, and a black knit top with cutout shoulders and a sheer neckline I liked. The other two tops and the skirt were easy no’s. I then took out my checklist (see this post) that I created to use when I want to purchase anything to add to my wardrobe and reviewed my two remaining items against it. Here’s my answers for reference:

Black Top, Cutout Shoulders & sheer mesh detail
Do I need this? No.
a.      Is this something very special/ do you really love it and therefore it deserves an exemption? No.
I likely would have kept this top without my checklist!

Black Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan
Do I need this? I do ‘need‘ layering pieces, sweaters, and long-sleeved options for fall. I also have wanted an alternative to the typical cardigan (which I have many dups of)
Does this duplicate something I already own in another color/similar style? Nope
Do I already own something I would choose over this item for the occasion I’m purchasing it for/Would this split the wears of something else I own? No
 Will it be used often enough to justify the purchase? I think so!
Can you think of at least 3 outfits you can wear with this? Yes.
Does this item fit perfectly? Yes
Is this item the perfect color or print for me and my body/coloring? Yes
Is the style of this item flattering on my body? Yes
Can I afford to buy this item right now, not using credit? Just barely, but yes.
Do I have any doubts about how honestly I answered the above questions, or about the item itself? No.

I was more cautious about this piece before my checklist, but after going through it I ended up feeling much more positive about it. I likely would have purchased both without the checklist, unexpectedly loving the sweater and regretting the top! I now have one official purchase towards my wardrobe, which I’ll post about monthly (every mid-month since this is 10th-10th).

As a side note, my checklist going forward will have a few changes. I’ve encountered a few things I need to add to it after posting about it in Debbie Roe’s closed facebook group, End ClosetChaos. These are: a question about my emotional state, another on the quality of the item in question, and an addition about how I’ll be using it to the usage question for starters.