The Cold, Hard Facts: What I Did – and Didn’t – Wear

In my last post, I took an honest and sobering look at my shopping expenditures over the past 10 years.  I didn’t like what I saw…   I learned that I have consistently exceeded my shopping budget for each and every year since I started to track the numbers.   In some cases, I spent over twice the amount I had allotted for clothing and related expenses.

Tracking What I Do and Don’t Wear

As I mentioned in the previous post, the financial numbers only tell part of the story.  For the past two years, I’ve been tracking how often I wear all of the clothes and shoes in my closet.  I started doing that in the hope that this awareness would help me to shop less and utilize what I have more effectively.

Sobering Truth – My 2011 Numbers

As 2011 drew to a close, I was depressed when I tabulated the numbers for how often I wore the items in my wardrobe.  I learned that:

  • I had 112 garments and 11 pairs of shoes which were worn either once or not at all! 
  • I had only 24 garments and 11 pairs of shoes that I wore eight or more times over the course of 2011.  Not a very good comparison…

Not Much Better – My 2012 Numbers

I decided to continue the tracking through the end of 2012 in the hopes that I would improve.  And I did – in one respect … but only slightly.  In 2012:

  • I had 26 garments and 13 pairs of shoes that I wore eight or more times over the course of the year.  That’s the good news…
  • But, of course, there’s bad news!  I had 125 garments and 21 pairs of shoes which I did not wear or wore only once last year.
Debbie's closet - January 2013

Yes, this is my actual closet!  Scary, isn’t it?

My Tracking Led Me to Start this Blog!

While the tracking I did has been good and helpful, I continued to shop too much.  I simply have too many clothes, such that it just isn’t possible for me to wear what’s in my closet on a regular basis.

I need to reduce my wardrobe in order to really use what I have to its full potential.  That goal, plus my desire to reduce spending and stick to a reasonable shopping budget, is a major focus of “Recovering Shopaholic.”  I also want to better understand WHY I over-shop and learn more appropriate coping strategies.  All of this will unfold over the course of 2013 – and beyond.

Recovery Tip

Track how often you are wearing the items in your closet.  I will be providing a number of tips to help make that easier, but here’s a quick one to get you started… I call it “the hanger trick.”  Turn all of your hangers so that the hooks face outward instead of inward.  As you wear items, turn the hangers to face inward (what most people would say is the “right way”).  After a month or two, look to see what you have and haven’t been wearing.  This tracking method is easy but enlightening!

2 thoughts on “The Cold, Hard Facts: What I Did – and Didn’t – Wear

  1. Some great insights here. I also track my items, but I’ve tracked them based on cost per wear. And I strive to get the cost per wear down to under a dollar before donating or purging. This opened my eyes to how difficult it can be to own an item and actually get the cost per wear that low. Cheaper items, often don’t make it, even if they are only around $5.00. Pricey items I usually get much closer to this number. But it wasn’t until I started doing this, that I realized how much I had and how little I was wearing the item. For many pieces, it will take me years to get them down to $1.50, because I own so much, it takes a long time to get to them all (if I even do).

    • Thanks for sharing your insights, Lisa. I haven’t started tracking cost per wear, but I think it’s an excellent idea! I might add that to my tracking for 2014. I agree that the cheaper items are often not our best purchases. I’ve had to learn that one the hard way! Congrats on being able to get your cost per wear down to under a dollar for many items!

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