Change, Without Making a Purchase

The following is a guest post from Lisa at Shopping Brake.  Motivated by a challenge from her husband, Lisa is a shopaholic who is tackling her overshopping and overspending habits head on. Her blog is dedicated to providing personal insights during her journey to change her shopping habits.

NOTE:  This post marks the beginning of the new “Stories of Recovery” series which will appear periodically on the blog.  In this series, other recovering shopaholics will share their stories of how they’ve been able to overcome their shopping and wardrobe challenges in their own unique ways.   I look forward to sharing diverse recovery stories that will help inspire and empower my readers.

If you would like to be profiled in this new series (you can be anonymous if desired), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.


In the Beginning…

I don’t know why I am here and I don’t care.  I just want to feel beautiful, happy, and loved.  So I tear through the racks, a woman on a mission.  If I can only find that perfect pair of jeans, and then the perfect top to wear with them, and finally the perfect pair of boots to round out my outfit, I will purchase it all, and then I will be that woman.  The woman who is not me at this present moment in time…  I will become a new woman, and she is perfect, because she is not me.

Overshopping and unhappiness

Do you shop to try to become someone else?

Wandering through the brick and mortar stores without a list, without a budget, and without any predetermined limits, that was me for many years.  My closets were stuffed, my mornings were stressed, my wallet was empty, and my husband was lonely.  I would visit the shops to cheer me up when I was feeling down.  I would go to the stores as a ‘treat’ to celebrate working extra hard at my job that day.

I would visit a store because I liked their location relative to my house and I wanted to support the business.  I would stop by a store just to browse because I was bored, or wanted exercise, or was lonely.  State a reason, any reason, and I could come up with an excuse for why I was in a store.  Within those walls I could become any one I wanted to be, as long as I purchased the perfect items.

And purchase I did.  Again, and again, and again…  I purchased so much and so often, the sales associates knew me by name.  I could tell when a display on the sales floor was new, eyeball from across the floor what new merchandise has come in, and I could assemble a new ensemble for any style, at the drop of a hat.

Fast Forward to the Present Day…

Today I am in my 5th month of “The DH Closet Challenge.”  Over the years I have tried many different tips to curb my shopping and reduce the size of my wardrobe.  And while they have all been helpful, it wasn’t until my husband came up with a challenge for me (which we’ve called “The DH Closet Challenge” – read why I’m doing it and the challenge rules), that I am now able to shop smarter and shop less.

In the past 5 months, I’ve been able to purge bags of clothes, instead of merely one or two items at a time.  I can go into a store now and walk out with only one item purchased.  And sometimes I even walk out empty handed.  I spend more time with my husband and less time getting dressed in the mornings.  And I can fit my four season wardrobe into one walk-in closet.

Shopping Brake's Closet Today

What Lisa’s closet looks like after embarking upon “The DH Closet Challenge.”

Since I’ve begun working on changing my habits, every day I look inside my closet and I am amazed at how cohesive my working wardrobe looks.  I sit on the floor and look up and marvel at the small number of clothes that I have, even after five months and two seasons of doing the challenge.  And then I visit “The Boutique” (my version of what Debbie calls “wardrobe benchwarmers”) and I sit on the floor again, this time hugging my unworn clothes as I browse.

I am still shocked at how many “extras” are sitting unworn in my closet.  These are clothes that I am not wearing, and I am not yet ready to purge.  I remind myself why I am doing the challenge…

  • I want to wear all of my clothes, all of the time.
  • I want to feel confident.
  • I want my free time back.
  • I want to make smart purchases.
  • And I want to save money and use it wisely.

I still have a long journey until I have no more extra items in my wardrobe and I truly do wear ALL of my clothes.  But I can confidently say that after many years of struggling, I am finally walking down the right path on the road to recovery.

Read more insights and observations from Lisa as she navigates “The DH Closet Challenge” at her blog, Shopping Brake.  

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