As long-time readers of “Recovering Shopaholic” know, I have committed to posting monthly accountability summaries throughout 2013 (and possibly beyond). These summaries help to keep me honest and include the following information: what came into my wardrobe, what left, how much I spent, and how well I did in adhering to my shopping-related rules. As I’m doing Project 333 during April through June, I’m also including summary information for that challenge in the accountability updates for those months.
Project 333 – May Summary
As the Project 333 interest level is high for many of my readers, I’ll start with that summary.
NOTE: If you’d like to learn more about how to do the Project 333 challenge, I highly recommend the “Dress with Less” microcourse from Courtney Carver, the creator of Project 333.
I’ll kick off with my May numbers “in a nutshell”:
- Number of Garments Worn during May: 33 (yay!)
- Garments Worn 5 Times: 2 (black jeans, Gap trouser jeans)
- Garments Worn 4 Times: 3 (cobalt cardigan, burgundy cardigan, Cabi jeans)
- Garments Worn 3 Times: 2 (black skirt, striped cardigan)
- Garments Worn Twice: 9
- Garments Worn Once: 17
Project 333 – Overall Summary So Far
- Swaps Made: 8 (seems like a lot, I know, but I’m willing to make swaps as needed as long as I keep learning and growing from the challenge!)
- Garments Worn 9 Times: 1 (black jeans)
- Garments Worn 7 Times: 2 (Cabi jeans, burgundy cardigan)
- Garments Worn 6 Times: 1 (Gap trouser jeans)
- Garments Worn 5 Times: 3 (navy pants, black skirt, cobalt cardigan)
- Garments Worn 4 Times: 3 (grey cardigan, striped cardigan, white tee)
- Garments Worn 3 Times: 13
- Garments Worn Twice: 8
- Garments Worn Once: 2 (black tank and print skirt swapped in during May)
- Garments Donated: 2 (grey skirt and original striped tank)
Shoes and Accessories Summary
Although I did not include shoes and accessories within my 33 capsule items, I did commit to tracking which of these items I wear and how often. Rather than sticking with a small selection from these categories, I’m actually trying to wear as many of my shoes and accessories as possible during the challenge. My rationale is that I’ll either discover “diamonds in the rough” that I love to wear or “duds” that belong in my donation bag. As a pleasant surprise, I’ve found that I love most of my shoes and accessories, even those that I hadn’t been wearing, but I’ve also taken some pieces for consignment or donation along the way.
Below are the shoes and accessories I wore during May, along with the numbers for each category.
Shoes Worn: 17 (two pairs worn 3 times, two pairs worn twice, the rest once, April repeats = 8)
Earrings Worn: 18 (five pairs worn twice, the rest once, April repeats = 7)
Watches Worn: 3 (one worn 9 times, one worn 8 times, one worn 6 times, April repeats = 2)
Bracelets Worn: 13 (one worn 5 times, five worn twice, the rest once, April repeats = 5)
Necklaces Worn: 3 (all worn once, all are repeats from April)
Scarves Worn: 7 (all worn once, no repeats from April)
Purses Used: Just One (the same one used in April – I think I’m ready for a change for June)
Some Observations & Conclusions Regarding Accessories
Tracking the wearing of my shoes and accessories during Project 333 has been very helpful! Not only have I been able to discern my actual favorite items, I’ve also learned which types of accessories I wear most often.
As an example, I find that I wear my flat and low-heeled shoes far more often than those with higher heels. As I’ve gotten older, my feet have become increasingly sensitive such that I feel more comfortable wearing a lower heel. Also, since I’m already quite tall (5’10”), I don’t always want to add inches to my already Amazonian silhouette. That said, I like the look of some outfits much better with heels. However, since I don’t wear heels as often, I don’t need to add any new pairs to my wardrobe.
In regards to accessories, I wear a watch, earrings, and a bracelet on most days. Necklaces and scarves are worn far less frequently and are never worn simultaneously. As I already have an abundant selection of both types of items, I don’t need to purchase new necklaces or scarves anytime soon. Of course, I’m coming to this realization after buying two necklaces at the consignment store on Sunday! But now that I’m aware of what I do and don’t need in terms of accessories, I’ll refrain from buying necklaces for the foreseeable future.
What Came Into My Closet
This section is very easy, as the answer is NOTHING! I stuck to my promise not to buy any new clothing, shoes, or accessories during the month of May. It felt good to be able to adhere to my word, and my brief shopping hiatus proved that I can exhibit willpower in regards to shopping. Not shopping also helped me gain more appreciation for what I have and helped me to better understand which types of purchases will serve me moving forward.
What Left My Closet
During May, I purged 22 additional items from my closet (19 garments and 3 pairs of shoes). Some of these pieces are currently on consignment, while others have been donated to a local charity. As I’ve been going through Project 333, I’ve become more and more willing to let go of wardrobe items that don’t serve me.
The items below were either uncomfortable, ill-fitting, or just not a match for my current lifestyle and personal style preferences. I don’t miss any of these pieces and I’m happy to be gradually paring down my wardrobe so that only “8”s and above remain.
May Budget Update
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am actually under my wardrobe budget for the year! In most years, I was “behind the 8-ball” by the time June rolled around and had started employing the tactics highlighted in “Shopaholic Lies and Covert Operations” to cover my tracks. This year, I was able to proudly tell my husband that I’m adhering to the shopping budget we set at the beginning of the year.
As a reminder, my shopping budget is $250 per month. This amount needs to cover all of my clothing, shoes, and accessory purchases, as well as any necessary alterations. As of May 31st, I have spent $1111.69, which is actually $138.31 below budget! I must admit that taking the month of May off from shopping definitely helped in this regard. It’s very likely that I would have exceeded my budget had I ventured into the shops last month.
Since my yearly average for shopping expenditures during 2003-2012 was $4762.56, I must admit that I’ve done an exceptional job in curtailing my spending this year. Of course, sticking to my budget is only part of the battle, but it’s an important part. I also need to do a better job in purchasing “wardrobe all-stars” instead of “wardrobe benchwarmers” and buying for the life I have rather than for a previous or imagined lifestyle. Yet my success to this point has me believing more and more that I’ll be able to accomplish all of my “recovering shopaholic” goals either this year or sometime very soon.
It’s a lot of work to do all of this extensive tracking, but I feel it’s totally worth my time and effort. I am learning so much about myself and my wardrobe in the process, and my increased awareness is helping to guide my shopping-related behavior. My rational mind has become much more engaged and my emotional whims are running the show much less frequently.
I have a long way to go before my wardrobe and shopping are where I want them to be. I still have far too many clothes and my wardrobe lacks the variety and versatility I desire. Although I complain a lot about my boredom in wearing only 33 garments for three months, I can’t deny the positive impact that Project 333 is having on my life. I better understand “in my bones” the need for fewer, higher quality garments instead of a plethora of mediocre pieces. I also realize that I need to cultivate other means of pleasure and excitement in my life beyond shopping.
Those topics and more will continue to be featured in this blog – and I welcome your suggestions and feedback for what you’d like me to write about in the coming months. At the end of Project 333, I will share a complete summary and highlight everything I’ve learned from taking on this minimalist wardrobe challenge. If you’ve missed any of my Project 333 updates, you can see all of them HERE.