So I proclaimed on Facebook that I was going on a clothing diet as a sort of social experiment late last year. I vowed that I wouldn’t buy clothes or shoes for six months. I posted it on my business Facebook page and I got some very interesting feedback. Some people said that they hadn’t bought new clothes for two years. Some people proclaimed that they couldn’t go for 30 days without buying something new.
My goal was to use everything in my closet. To show that the old adage of you wear 20% of your clothing 80% of the time didn’t apply to me. I wanted to prove that I wore 80% of my clothing or else get rid of it.
But this became more of a study on myself and my shopping habits. I long ago developed the habit of only buying clothes that I had a hanger for. I was buying no more hangers and if a new item of clothing came in…and old one left. I usually shop at only one or two stores. I don’t shop for fun. I don’t shop when I am sad. I usually shop when I need something for a special occasion.
In the last couple of years I have lost some weight and I have had a whole new world of stores open up to me. My choices were no longer limited. I could buy what I saw in the window and I didn’t have to walk by it and say to myself….”someday.”
But this is the surprising thing that happened when I stopped buying clothes, I put on weight. Could there be other reasons? Of course, but I think it comes down to the fact that I knew I wasn’t buying anything new and I had to make due with what was in my closet. I no longer had the desire to try to fit in a new shirt or pair of pants.
I realize that I may sound materialistic but what I am speaking from is my personal experience. There were long stretches of my life that I didn’t buy anything new for myself. Those were the years that I was raising three impeccably dressed young boys and I was in an oversized shirt and leggings with a pair of sensible shoes. I didn’t have an identity. I wore what was clean and what fit and what felt comfortable. I had no style. I wore mom jeans. My closet was not full. The maternity clothes and the regular clothes were mixed together. Actually I may not have even purchased any maternity clothes as the oversized shirts and leggings were big enough to get me to nine months!
Experiment over and I have lost five pounds. The first thing I bought was a summer dress. Winter was hard on all of us and I needed a reason to feel like summer was really here to stay!
So how does this translate to living a more organized life? Here are some guidelines to help you:
1. Don’t buy clothes because of an emotion. We buy for all sorts of reasons. If you are buying for an emotion, get control over it.
2. Buy clothing with purpose, not because it is on sale. Go with a list if needed and stick with it. Stores entice you to come in because of a sale, but then they try to upsell you. I had it happen yesterday when I went to buy a pair of shoes and they tried to sell me a necklace to match the shoes. No thanks as I just came in for the one pair of shoes.
3. Don’t buy something in every color just because it works for you in the one color. You will get a shoppers high from this and then you will have the shoppers low when you get home. Trust me, I know!
4. Try the clothing on and make sure that it fits in the store. Take a girlfriend with who doesn’t lie to you as she can save you some money and be honest about how things look on you! If you want to try it on at home, make sure that you have the means to return it within 48 hours before you lose the receipt…or the item.
5. Pay cash, not credit. If you don’t have the cash to buy it then don’t. You will feel worse for it once you receive your credit card bill.
6. Make sure you have a place in your closet before you buy an item. I visualize what is leaving my closet before I make the purchase. I don’t want to have a stuffed closet and I am not buying anymore hangers so I need to be a careful planner.
Did I say yet that the experiment was over. Am I glad? Yes! I only wore 20% of the clothes in my closet for 6 months. Yes it was boring but I still haven’t pulled out the 80% that I didn’t wear. Time for some tough love and to bring in the drill sergeant organizer….my husband!
To Joyful, Simplified Living,