February Accountability Post

The short month of February is behind us, so it’s time for another accountability post.  I can’t believe how fast this past month zipped by…  In this post, I will review the items which came into and out of my closet and the reasons for those additions and subtractions.  I’ll also provide an update on how I’m doing with both my budget and the “Wardrobe Benchwarmer Project(for a more comprehensive report on the latter, please see my last post).

Wardrobe Additions

Since the cold weather persisted throughout January and I found myself frequently wearing my coats, I decided to add another coat as my February clothing purchase.  I saw a lovely blogger wearing a gorgeous black and white coat that was deeply discounted, so I opted to purchase that coat online via Piperlime.   While the coat is indeed beautiful, it was “final sale” and required fairly extensive alterations in order to accommodate my broad shoulders and narrow torso.  But now it looks great and I’m happy to have it in my closet.

My accessory purchase for February was a pair of Coach sneakers, black with grey and pewter trim.  I bought a similar pair last year in all black and they have been one of my favorite shoes this winter.  I also exchanged an unworn and too small pair of shoes from December for Ecco ballet flats in grey.  These flats are on the sporty side and very comfortable and will serve me well in my primarily casual lifestyle.

I also exchanged an unworn coat I received for Christmas for a cobalt blue Kenneth Cole coat from Nordstrom.  This coat was left over from their Anniversary Sale and I had considered purchasing it back in the summer. There was only one such coat left in my size in the entire Nordstrom company, so I was happy and grateful to receive it.

A few gifts rounded out my February wardrobe additions:  the bright green trench coat and tan slingback sandals my husband bought me for Valentine’s Day, and black slingback sandals my mom gave me as an early birthday present (my birthday is in August, but she was here visiting and didn’t want to make me wait over 5 months to wear the shoes she bought me).   As I mentioned in my rules for 2013, gifts are not included in my monthly shopping limits.  While it may seem like I receive a lot of gifts based upon this month, I really only get a few gifts per year.  Expect to see a long dry period for gifts in the coming months…

New coats - February 2013

February 2013 new coats, including one exchange and one gift

New shoes - February 2013

February 2013 new shoes, including one exchange and two gifts

Finally, I bought one replacement item in late February. Sadly, I lost the black Brighton embellished bracelet I bought in January and was not able to retrieve it.  Since it had quickly become an accessory staple item for me, I opted to replace it with a similar style bracelet from Nordstrom (at about half the price no less!).


Lost bracelet and its similar replacement

What Left My Closet and Why

Fourteen items left my wardrobe during February 2013 for the reasons specified below:

  1. Black and white striped v-neck Express tee (pictured) – Material too thin and flimsy
  2. Deep red Bobeau open cardigan (pictured) – Unflattering band and pockets at bottom
  3. Purple Bobeau open cardigan (pictured) – Same reason as above
  4. Black v-neck tee with ruffle in center (pictured) – Too fussy, would not stay in place
  5. Black Caslon cotton capris – Length is off, don’t like capris enough to alter
  6. Silver Limited embellished tank – Worn out, didn’t wash well (sad to let go of this one!)
  7. Turquoise Chico’s v-neck tee – Fit is off (shoulders tight, too short)
  8. Black print tee – Too tight, unflattering
  9. Coral embellished neckline tee – Bought at consignment, don’t love it
  10. Navy/white print tank – Same as above
  11. White H&M embellished tank – Material too thin and flimsy
  12. Brown/pink print skirt – Don’t like print, fabric seems cheap
  13. Black/grey print skirt – Too short, don’t love it
  14. Purple print pajamas – Material too thin, pants waistband is tight
  15. Light green knit jacket – Bought at consignment, don’t love it
Items donated in February 2013

Some of the items which left my closet in February 2013

I had intended to sell two additional items on eBay as well, but I haven’t gotten around to that task as of yet.  I plan to take that action during March.  I usually donate or consign my cast-offs, but for new or nearly new items, sometimes eBay is a good option for recouping a portion of one’s losses.

Budget Update

Since I did so much returning and exchanging during January, I did not provide a budget update in my last accountability post.  Consequently, this budget update covers both January and February.

Unfortunately, I am already behind on my budget for the year, but the good news is that I am aware of this and can course correct before things get too out of hand.  I think the fact that I continued to do exchanges during February made it harder for me to keep on top of the numbers.  Excessive returning has been a big problem for me in recent years (and will be the topic of an upcoming post) and is something I’m working to change during 2013.  Change can be slow and difficult at times, but I believe my commitment to honesty and transparency on this blog will help me to transform my shopping behaviors.

Here are my numbers for January-February 2013:

  • Jewelry Purchases:  $111.28 (includes replacement bracelet)
  • Alterations:  $115.00
  • Clothing Purchases (less returns – and there were many!):  $94.10
  • Shoe Purchases:  $267.74
  • Total Spent:  $588.12

Since my monthly budget is $250.00, I should have only spent a maximum of $500.00 total by the end of February.  I ended the month $88.12 over my budget.  I will have to make up this amount in future months in order to end the year under my budget of $3000.00.

Benchwarmer Project Update

During February, my benchwarmer focus was on pants, jeans, and coats.  I wore and evaluated all but three of the benchwarmers in these categories.  The three items which I did not evaluate were a pair of capri pants, a pair of lightweight pants, and a pair of skinny jeans.  I did not wear the first two items due to cold weather and plan to wear them as soon as the weather warms up.

The skinny jeans were not worn because I have some sort of nerve disorder which leads me to experience severe burning pain when I wear tight pants, especially when I sit for long periods of time.  I am not sure how to address this issue, but if it does not subside, I will likely donate any pants/jeans that are tight and painful to wear.  I will revisit my pants later in the year and determine the best course of action at that time.

Although I donated fourteen items in February, none of those pieces were part of my benchwarmer categories for the month.  Since pants and jeans are so difficult for me to find, I am very cautious about letting them go.  I hope to find a few replacement pairs this year, at which point I can release my more “tired” and uncomfortable pants.  I didn’t let go of any coats because I still like all of the ones I own and wear them regularly.  Coats are one of the more highly utilized categories in my wardrobe, which is why I continue to purchase more of them even within my new shopping limitations.

Lessons Learned

The most important thing I’m learning is that I have a lot of really nice items in my closet.  In the past, I was so focused on acquiring the new and exciting that I lost track of how many beautiful garments and accessories I already owned.  As I am shopping my closet and working to better use what I have, I am experiencing increased gratitude for the abundance in my closet.  I continue to feel overwhelmed by how much is there, but my patience has increased because I know that I have a plan for addressing the problem.  I am gradually releasing all of the pieces that I don’t love and wear and I know that I will be in a much better place at the end of the year.

I find that I’m still spending far too much time and energy on shopping-related behavior.  I do a lot of online browsing and I made more in-person exchanges than I anticipated during February.  I realize that I need to cultivate new hobbies and interests to replace my obsession with shopping.

I have dedicated the majority of my “Recovering Shopaholic” posts thus far to logistics and accountability, but I plan to start addressing more psychological topics in future posts, including the reasons for shopping and the duplicitous actions that “shopaholics” take to hide our compulsive shopping behavior.  While it’s definitely important for us to stop shopping excessively and to pare down our packed wardrobes, it’s also critical that we look at our reasons for becoming shopaholics in the first place.  With this awareness and powerful action, true healing is possible!

2 thoughts on “February Accountability Post

  1. Hello – I just started to read your blog and I’ m curious to learn how far you came ( I started to read from the very beginning yesterday – and I love your approach!). However I just must ask you: why, why, why did you buy another coat?! Please – I have no intentions to offend you – it’s just so incredible for me to read this! I’m living in Switzerland where it’s cold more than half the time of the year, with weeks with temperatures below the freezing point and lots of snow – and I own two coats! I’ m just overwhelmed by the amount of coats you posess. I found your blog as I am on my way to creat a more minimalistic houshold ( trade stuff for time 🙂 ) and some of your approaches will help me on my way – and I love your wardrobe tips – you do great on this ! Thx for your blog, Renée

    • Welcome, Renee! I’m glad you found my blog and are finding it helpful. I think it’s great that you’re reading my posts through from the beginning. I’d love to get your insights when you reach the end! Perhaps I should re-read my own posts to really get a sense of how far I’ve come…

      Almost 5 months have passed since I wrote this post and I’ve definitely learned and grown a lot during that time. I agree that I didn’t really need to buy more new coats, especially not 3 of them! I did end up returning one of the coats (the green one) and I wish I could have returned the black and white one, too. I ordered it online as final sale and will never do that again! The material is not soft at all and I’m not thrilled with the fit, either. I may end up passing this one along as an expensive mistake… I think I was trying to buy things that I knew I used a lot and my coats and jackets were among my most worn items from 2012. But there CAN be too much of a good thing, as you pointed out and I’ve now learned! I hope you continue to enjoy my blog!

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