August Accountability and Benchwarmer Project Update

The sun has set on yet another month, so it’s time for another accountability update.  In this post, I share what left my closet, what came in, and how I’m doing in terms of my clothing budget for the year. Also included are some stats on what I wore during August and an update on my “wardrobe benchwarmer” project.

You may remember that in my July benchwarmer update, I committed to making decisions on all 45 of the remaining “benchwarmers” in my wardrobe (for those who are new to this blog, a benchwarmer is something I wore only once or not at all during 2012).  Well, those decisions have been made and I reveal my verdicts below.

I’m Still a Shopaholic, But I’m Learning and Growing

There’s a lot to cover in this post, so it’s a long one!  The news is not all good, but the growth and learning continues.  Although I am still a shopaholic in many senses of the word, I’m definitely in a much better place than I was at the beginning of 2013.  While I still have a long way to go, I acknowledge the positive changes I’ve made and know I will continue to transform my relationship to  shopping and my wardrobe as the months progress.

What Left My Closet

During August, I purged 33 items from my closet (24 garments and 9 pairs of shoes).  Unfortunately, three of these cast-offs were purchased during 2013!  All three of these items were bought at a resale shop, which shows that I continue to make mistakes with that type of shopping.  Fortunately, I’m doing far less resale shopping these days and I’m using my own tips when I do set foot inside such establishments.  It’s important to remember that what may seem like a “good deal” really isn’t a bargain if it’s not on your shopping priority list and doesn’t work for your lifestyle!

Here’s a quick look at the items that left my closet during the month of August:

What left my closet in August 2013

What Came Into My Closet

As I was preparing for this post, I was surprised to see how many new items came into my wardrobe during August.  I really thought I was doing better with my shopping, but the numbers don’t lie.  While about a third of the new pieces were gifts for my birthday, I still bought too much otherwise.

All in all, I brought 21 new items into my closet last month (15 garments, 1 pair of shoes, 1 belt, and 4 pieces of jewelry)!  Yes, I know that’s too much and it certainly offsets the great progress I made in paring down my wardrobe over the past two months.  I brought in roughly half as many new items as I removed from my closet in August (since I don’t include jewelry in my wardrobe inventory).  It’s the proverbial two steps forward, one step back scenario.

Here’s a look at the new additions to my wardrobe during August:

What came into my closet in August 2013

The Silver Lining

However, there is a “silver lining” to my August shopping, a few in fact.   I’ve already worn seven of my new August items and one garment – a skirt – has even been worn twice.  Also, most of what I purchased was either on my shopping priority list or served to replace a wardrobe cast-off that was either worn out (it happens, even for shopaholics!) or was not an “8” or higher on a scale of 1-10.

I’m definitely shopping smarter and using my brain more instead of my emotions, but I’m still shopping too much!  Hopefully, my “New and Improved Shopping Rules” that took effect last week will help to minimize future shopping.  In particular, my new rule, that I need to wear all new items within a category before I can buy anything else new in that category, will go a long way toward curtailing my buying.  At least I won’t be able to purchase “multiples” or buy too much at any given time.

I’ll see how things go next month.  I can always tighten the reins and create stricter rules should the need arise, but my wardrobe is still moving in the right direction and I have to give myself credit for that.

August Budget Report

I experienced a bit of an accounting glitch with my July and August budget numbers.  I had ordered a few items online during July that I returned during August.  In tabulating my July numbers, I subtracted those pieces since I knew they would be returned shortly thereafter.  Unfortunately, this resulted in my August numbers looking lower than they actually were.  What I’m leading up to is that I’m now over my budget for 2013 by $138.29.

In order to get back on track with my 2013 clothing budget, I either need to spend less during September or return some of what I bought during August.  I haven’t decided what to do as of yet, but I do commit to getting back into the black zone by the end of September.

Since I’m pretty much set for my summer wardrobe (warm weather continues through at least the end of October where I live), I really don’t need to buy much, if anything, during September.  Once the weather cools down, I’ll need to focus any shopping I do on my most needed (and dreaded) wardrobe category, pants.  I’ve been wearing primarily dresses and skirts over the past couple of months, but I know I need to reserve some funds to replace some of my tired and sad pants with better options very soon!

What I Wore During August

As was the case during July, I did not create a wardrobe capsule (a la Project 333) or place any restrictions on what I wore during August.  I simply wore what I felt like wearing and kept a running list of all of the garments and shoes worn over the course of the month.  As I had committed to making decisions about my remaining wardrobe benchwarmers, I chose to wear some of those pieces to facilitate my decision-making process, so that skewed things a bit.

During August, I wore 36 garments and 13 pairs of shoes.  Of these, 8 garments and 7 pairs of shoes were also worn during July.  Interestingly, 6 of my August garments were also included in my April through June Project 333 wardrobe capsule.  August repeats were on the low side overall.  I wore 4 pairs of shoes and 3 garments more than once over the course of the month.

I plan to continue wearing what I want and tracking what I wear during September.  This method is working well for me, as it’s helping to increase my awareness of what I truly like to wear.  As I become more aware of what I like and what I don’t like in my wardrobe, I’ve been better able to release the things that don’t serve me.  In addition, the purchases I’ve made have been much more conscious and targeted than they were in the past.

Wardrobe Benchwarmer Project Update

At the end of 2012, I learned I had 146 items in my wardrobe (125 garments and 21 pairs of shoes) that had not been worn or were worn only once during that year.  This realization strongly contributed to my decision to start this blog.  I vowed to wear and evaluate all of these pieces during 2013 and either integrate them into my regular wardrobe rotation or release them to a better home.

While I had made good progress with my “wardrobe benchwarmer project” by mid-July, I decided to escalate the process.  I committed to making firm decisions about all of my remaining benchwarmers by the end of August.   Done!  Here’s an update on the status of my wardrobe benchwarmers:

Benchwarmers Consigned/Donated:

  • July:  18 benchwarmers consigned or donated (15 garments, 3 pairs of shoes)
  • August:  19 benchwarmers consigned or donated (14 garments, 5 pairs of shoes)
  • Total:  37 benchwarmers consigned or donated during July/August

Since the beginning of 2013, I have consigned or donated 98 of the 146 wardrobe benchwarmers from 2012.  I still have 48 of the 2012 benchwarmers in my closet, but most of these items have been worn this year (some multiple times) and I’ve determined I like them enough to keep them in my closet.

At present, there are 17 benchwarmers from last year that have not yet been worn during 2013.  These pieces will either be worn very soon (some are warm weather items I haven’t gotten to yet) or are dressier garments that I decided to keep for those rare formal occasions in my life.

A Word about “Just in Case”

While I’ve said it’s not a good idea to buy things “just in case,” it can be prudent to keep a small formal wardrobe capsule in our closets for the rare times when we may need to get more dressed up than usual.  At this point, I have five dressy garments I’m hanging on to, as well as one warm winter coat for when I travel to much cooler climates.  I feel that keeping six items for rare life occasions is reasonable, but I will continue to re-evaluate all of my closet pieces a few times each year to help me create and maintain a more manageable wardrobe.

In Closing

Whew, that was a long update!  If you’re still with me, I applaud your stamina and I thank you for your attention.  I don’t really look forward to doing these monthly accountability updates, but I know they help to keep me honest and on track. If I get off track, like I did last month, coming clean with all of you helps to get me back on target.

While I always welcome and appreciate feedback on these and all posts, I’m reminded of something my friend said to her mother years back.  My friend had made multiple errors in booking a travel arrangement, resulting in significant financial consequences for her.  She dreaded telling her mother about this, as her mother rarely missed a chance to criticize.  Sure enough, after hearing the news, the mother started to launch into a diatribe, but my friend cut her off at the pass by simply saying:

Mom, nothing you can say will make me feel worse about myself than I already do right now.”

That’s kind of how I feel right now. I know I continue to shop too much and I’m not proud of it.  Sometimes I feel like I’m letting all of you down.  More importantly, I often feel like I’m letting myself down.  Clearly, I still have underlying emotional issues I need to address before I can truly achieve my goals for recovery.

While I do feel I’ve made some good progress this year, I’m still a shopaholic.  I still like shopping far too much and rely upon it to meet my emotional needs as well as my wardrobe needs.  I still shop when I’m anxious, when I’m lonely, and when I feel the need to boost my mood.  I know I need to cultivate more constructive ways of meeting my needs because shopping doesn’t really work.  “Retail therapy” is a ruse in that it’s not really therapy at all (more on this in a future post).

So I welcome your comments, but please be gentle. I’ve already flogged myself enough for all of you.  I’m my own worst critic and that’s a big part of my problem.   My self-flagellation only serves to send me back into the stores.  I need to find a better way and I won’t give up until I do!

47 thoughts on “August Accountability and Benchwarmer Project Update

  1. Hi Debbie!
    First of all I don’t feel let down by you at all. You’re a real person and you are easy for me to relate to. I wouldn’t find this blog helpful at all if you were a shopaholic and then saw the error of your ways and cured yourself and then became perfect. I think that it’s not only in success but also with failure that we all learn and grow.
    I do have a few thoughts that I hope will help you. I finished Dr. Benson’s book and one of the things that I learned through it was that I will do almost anything to feel good again when I feel bad. Drinking, food, shopping, etc… Now when I feel bad I will sit here and say I feel depressed, I feel lonely, I don’t feel good enough and actually feel those feelings. I still want to shop sometimes, but almost never when I feel bad. The other thought I had was I wonder if all of the tracking and paring down is keeping your wardrobe front and center in your life. It has to take a large amount of time and effort. Do you think that things might change for you if you just wore your clothes and enjoyed them and focused your time and energy on something not related to your wardrobe?
    You are making progress and this definitely is a process! If you’d like to talk about this further please email me. Oh and by the way canoeing was good. I didn’t fall in or anything!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Tonya, and for sharing more of your experience. I have a hard time letting myself feel bad and not wanting to “fix” it, but perhaps the bad feelings won’t overwhelm me as much as I think. Your point about my paying too much attention to my wardrobe is a good one. I think I’m going to do fewer wardrobe management type posts for a while and focus more on other topics. I will still do these accountability posts and other similar posts from time to time, but there are lots of other things to write about. Congrats on finishing Dr. Benson’s book! I wasn’t working on it as much since I spend so much time on the blog, but now I’m making time and will include some of my exercises on the blog very soon. Glad you had fun canoeing! I think it’s great that you gave it a try.

      • I will admit to having a few bad nights, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I am no longer afraid to feel bad and whatever issue I am having seems to be dealt with instead of popping back up over and over. I think the main thing that Dr. Benson’s book did for me is it made me have a different level of honesty with myself and it made me more receptive to different ways of looking at things and doing things. You are honest and willing so I know that you will keep making progress.

      • Congrats on making it through those few bad nights and coming out on the other side, Tonya. I think so many of us are afraid to feel our feelings, so we do anything and everything we can to avoid them. If we feel the fear and sit with the feelings anyway, we’re bound to be better off. I did that quite a bit in the past, but then went back into fear and hiding. Thanks for your encouragement that there is something better on the other side!

  2. I want to thank you for your insights. I am in a very similar situation as you (age, feeling like I didn’t become as successful as I had planned when younger, and generally feeling very bad about myself). I had a terrible weekend in which I engaged in so much online shopping that I am afraid to get the mail in the next few days. I have been so depressed lately (like everyone I have a lot on my plate). In my case I have a beloved father in a group home in another state with dementia, I am facing a third surgery this year, people around me who show no compassion, and more. I almost felt like I hit rock bottom today, but what struck me was the unending self flagellation. It ruined my entire day. I am very unkind to myself. I really relate to your website. Please keep it going. There are so many of us out there, it is shocking . I am going to start following your tips. I also need to basically, get a life. I tend to allow my depression to keep me locked in and isolated. Not good. Your website gives me renewed hope that I can at least reduce the madness. I am never going to be free of my demons, I just need to learn how to cope better. I thought I would have figured it all out by now. But our demons stay with us forever I suppose. Thanks again, and keep writing. We need to hear from you no matter what your results are. 🙂

    • Welcome, Carol, and thanks for your comment. It certainly seems like you’re going through a lot. I wish I could give you a big hug across the internet! Although I am incredibly hard on myself, it always hurts me to learn of others being the same way. I’m glad you can relate to my blog and it’s helping you to feel more hopeful. I have no intentions of stopping writing anytime soon. Please try to be good to yourself, at least a little bit, and keep the faith. We CAN overcome our challenges!

      • Thank you so much for your kind words. I really does help to know that there are people like you who are so compassionate and able to create a blog (seems like a silly word given what you are doing) that is making a difference in the lives of others. Thanks again

  3. I wouldn’t dream of criticizing you! Your writing is honest and insightful. I also appreciate the quality of your writing – spelling, grammar and expression. I understand what Tonya says about the emphasis on your wardrobe, but for myself, I find it very interesting. It helps me analyze my clothes to see which ones work for me.

    • Thanks for your compliments, Katy. I’m glad you like my blog and my writing. I will continue to do wardrobe posts along with other types of posts. At first, I wondered if my analyzing my wardrobe would be interesting to people, but I’m glad that you and others find such posts helpful.

  4. Hi Debbie, once again than you for sharing with us so honestly. There is definitely no point in beating yourself up over your mistakes and I don’t think any of us are in a position to judge, considering we’re all struggling with similar issues.
    I think Tonya has made an interesting point about how the tracking and paring down might actually be counterproductive and keep you overly focused on your wardrobe. I can only speak from my own experience, but I actually feel happier and lighter when I just get on with it and get dressed and forget about all the rest. I’ve made the same experience in other areas of my life. I often focus on a problem trying to find the solution, when the solution really is to not focus on the problem at all, but to focus on something different.
    Your blog has been a fantastic inspiration and resource for me on my way to shop less, please keep it going you’ve really struck a nerve with so many! And in the sense of the above, why don’t you focus on this fantastic achievement instead of any shopping mistakes you may have made recently. All the best, K.

    • I appreciate your insights, K. You and Tonya both made a really good point about overfocusing on my wardrobe. I am actually ruminating over my closet less than I did earlier in the year, but you’re right that it’s sometimes better to focus on other things. I’m glad you feel my blog is a good resource. I definitely plan on continuing and will try to consider my progress more than my setbacks.

  5. The fact that you are open and honest on your blog is a true inspiration. I don’t feel let down at all, this is your journey, and you are doing a very brave thing by putting yourself out there for all of us to see.
    It helps me to see recovery as “riding the waves” as things go up and down, and I try to accept that. It’s not that recovery is failing, it’s a process and a journey. You are doing brilliantly.

    You are an inspiration.

    • I love what you said about “riding the waves,” Linda. That’s a very good description of recovery and a more positive way of looking at things. I’m glad you feel inspired by my blog and don’t feel let down by me. I guess I really am harder on myself than most other people are and I need to give myself more of a break!

  6. Debbie: It would be interesting to understand from your point of view why you got rid of the garments you did and why you seemingly replaced several of them with nearly identical items. It’s hard to see from the thumbnails provided, but it looks like you replaced a black skirt with another black skirt, a red skirt with another red skirt, and so on. The overall result is that the numbers are going down!! I wonder if you could do a shopping fast (NO shopping at all) for a month to see how this works. First, you would erase your budget deficit for the year and also you would have a whole month to focus on other stuff — taking walks in great weather, visiting a new museum, sign up for a 5K run/walk, tackling your garden, etc. I agree that you may be over-focusing on your clothes, but then this is what this blog is about.

    • I didn’t want to make an already lengthy post longer, Dottie, so I didn’t go into much detail about why I purged certain garments from my wardrobe. Most left because they were less than “8”s and a few were replaced by similar but much better garments, in terms of quality, fit, and the “love factor.” Earlier this year, I had 9 black skirts and rarely wore most of them. Now I have 2 that I love and wear. I did a shopping fast during May and while it was helpful in some respects, I “binge-shopped” in June. It’s kind of like going on a diet. I’ve learned that for me, it’s better to learn moderation than to go “cold turkey.” While working on shopping smarter, I’m also working on cultivating new interests. There are lots of ups and downs for me, as for most people, but the difference is that I’m sharing them for all to see. That isn’t easy for me much of the time, but others feel inspired by my blog and I AM getting better, so I continue. I’m definitely in a better place at this point in the year than I thought I would be, so I have to give myself credit for that.

      • I like your analogy with dieting — very apt. I don’t go into stores or buy on-line, well, hardly at all. Shopping no longer has any allure for me. I can’t say when or how this happened but I decided at some point a) I had enough attractive clothes that fit and made me feel good and didn’t need any more, and b) I had other, more important things to do with my time and money. It was pretty easy for me to go “cold turkey” by re-focusing my energy and interests elsewhere. Good luck!

      • You know, Debbie, I remembered your May experience, and the moderation strategy resonates strongly with me as well. I guess it makes sense that certain addictions, like alcohol or smoking, can be approached with a “cold-turkey” strategy, because they aren’t necessary in order to live. But we can’t just stop things like wearing clothes or consuming food. We have to figure out how to be in a healthy relationship with those things, which is both complex and highly individual. It’s like you’re modeling a process for us here on the blog, with all the honest ups and downs. It’s very powerful.

      • Adding to this conversation about “cold turkey” vs moderation, personality can also be a huge factor is how successful various strategies are. Gretchen Rubin discusses this in “The Happiness Project.” She calls some people “moderators” who work better having small amounts of tempting or “bad” things in their life (be it chocolate, internet time, shopping, etc.) and “abstainers” people who are more successful cutting things out completely. She argues (and I agree) that some people need the whole “out of sight out of mind” in order to be successful, while others succeed when they limit, but still allow themselves, guilty pleasures.
        So, when you are struggling with how to approach your wardrobe, it might help to ask yourself how you approach diet, other bad habits, etc. Are you better at cutting things out wholesale (or does that lead to binging later?)? Or is it ultimately more successful for you to simply limit things that are tempting for you (but still allowing yourself some access?)?
        Something more to think about!

      • Very good points, Claire and Kate! I’ve been meaning to read “The Happiness Project.” I really like the distinction you mention, Kate, and I gave it some thought. I think I am more of a moderator than an abstainer. With food, for example, I don’t make any foods off-limits (except things that give me headaches). I may rarely eat “junk food,” but I do better if I don’t prohibit myself from having it. I think the same is true for me with shopping. If I make it off-limits, I want to do it that much more. I’m really trying to get to the point where I can shop when I actually need something for my wardrobe instead of using shopping to fulfill emotional needs it never really fills anyway!

  7. Hello

    You’re doing better, so that’s good !
    I was a shopaholic and still am sometimes.
    Now, when I want to shop, I go to an organic shop and shop for good food. Organic and low calories. it makes me feel good and not as if I wasted my money.
    Or I buy really good tea.
    But I try not to buy clothes anymore. Not always easy though…
    I’ve given away so much of my clothes that I have just enough to live with. I live alone and do laundry only once a week for color and once every 2 weeks for white, so I need enough clothes to get to that. I’m at the point where everything I have is used. It took me 3 years to get there, so don’t worry 🙂
    I still have too many shoes though. I don’t even want to count them… but will do someday and pair them down
    I had about 20 purses and now only have 4 left (1 black, 1 yellow, 1 light brown and 1 electric blue). I might get rid of the blue one as I don’t use it very much. I decided to go for quality rather than quantity.

    So basically, the road is long, difficult sometimes but you will get there 🙂

    Good luck from France

    • It seems like you have made amazing progress, Piolin! Good for you for shopping less and focusing more on quality over quantity. That’s the direction I’m working toward… I appreciate your encouragement and am heartened by the fact that it took you 3 years to get where you are. I WILL get there slowly but surely. Shoes and purses can be the hardest things to let go of. I still have too many of both, but felt good that I released 8 pairs of shoes during July and August. I like your idea of shopping for other things besides clothes when the urge to shop arises. Maybe some tea shopping is in my future…

  8. Thank you for your post – remember as you quoted previously “progress not perfection”.

    Further, I wonder if you, and the reader Carol, have read Kristen Neff’s book about self-compassion. It is a great book, that demonstrates that self-compassion can help us reach our goals more effectively than beating ourselves up.

    Just a suggestion. I’ve found her book incredibly useful, and you may also.

    • Thank you for the book suggestion, KRM. I haven’t read it, but it sounds like one to put on the list. Beating myself up hasn’t really helped me to reach my goals, so perhaps it’s time to give self-compassion a try!

      • I want to second the recommendation to read some things on self-compassion. Those resources have really helped me see myself as human and as deserving of the compassion I would show a friend or client. We are really our own worst critics and learning to be self-compassionate has helped me silence that inner critic.

        You are really doing great! You have made a lot of progress toward developing a wardrobe you really love. Getting rid of things that you don’t love and replacing them with things you do love isn’t being a shopaholic. It is “mindful” shopping or perhaps shopping with “intention.” You are worth having a wardrobe that truly reflects you! So give yourself a hug and keep moving forward. I love hearing about your progress!

      • You made some really great points, Anne. We would all be much nicer to ourselves if we treated ourselves the way we’d treat a friend or client. The inner critic is powerful but not a welcome presence. I think you’re right that I’m being less of a shopaholic. I definitely use my brain far more in the process. I would like to get to the point where I buy a few new items each season to fill in wardrobe gaps. I know people like that and I’ve always admired them. I know I’ll get there and I need to be more gentle with myself during the process. Thanks for your encouragement!

      • I think that learning to build a wardrobe is one of the many valuable lessons you are learning and sharing with us. I came to your blog because I was so overwhelmed with how much much stuff I had accumulated. I learned about Project 333 and found your blog. What I am slowly figuring out is that I want a wardrobe, not just a bunch of clothes. I want to understand myself – my colors, my style, my reason for getting dressed each day. I have been on this journey for several years and I am finally beginning to get it. It truly is a process and I am happy I met you on my journey. I predict good things ahead, a few mistakes and lots of great lessons to be learned! Thanks for blogging.

      • We are on a similar path, Anne! Your point about wanting a wardrobe, not just a bunch of clothes, rings so true for me. We can both get there! Yes, there will be mistakes along the way, but if we keep on keeping on, we’ll reach our goals. I’m glad to hear that you’re starting to “get it.” Me, too, and it feels encouraging…

  9. Debbie, what you’re doing is great so far. No matter how many mistakes or how long it takes, you are still learning and making progress to achieve your goals. So keep up the good work and be patient. You will get there.

  10. Dear Debbie,

    I always read through your whole blog because that’s when you get to the gutsy part.

    I’ve taken your words so much to heart that I’m buying very little clothing for myself. I dislike the retail sales game with its discounts and coupons. I would like a pair of black jeans, but I can’t bring myself to the horrid trying it on process. I am doing without them and the universe hasn’t noticed. I think I’m not a shopaholic; I just have too much clothing in need of purging.

    You’ve taken on so much in the last eight months. You’re healing yourself of a long-standing condition. May you be free from anxiety.

    • I like your comment about the “gutsy part,” Jeri. It makes me think of being in therapy years ago and getting to the nitty gritty during the last 5 minutes of a 50-minute session. I sometimes have no idea what I’m going to write until I write it. I thought this would be mostly a “just the facts” kind of post but then I was inspired to say more. I’m glad my blog is helpful for you. Many women are in your situation in that they aren’t buying a lot but just have far too much. I’m glad I can encourage women like you as well as the shopaholics.

  11. Debbie, you’ve inspired me to take a look at what I wore in August. My take-away is that I need to place a moratorium on buying tops! Interestingly, in comparison to your 13 pairs of shoes worn in August, I wore only six, but I wore more garments over all — 59 compared to your 36. That count includes everything I wore August 1-31. My workhorses were a navy knit dress (5 wears), navy dress pants (5), and a white denim jacket (4). Thanks for the inspiration!

    • It seems like you’re wearing a lot of your clothes, Tricia, which is wonderful. I spend too many days at home in workout/yoga clothes, so I don’t wear what I have often enough. The fact that you wore two items 5 times each is great, and wearing 6 pairs of shoes in a month is probably more reasonable than 13. I’m trying to wear and evaluate all of my shoes to try to pare them down. It’s working, but I will probably always be a shoe girl. I’m glad my numbers inspired you to look at yours!

  12. Man, this cannot be easy on you, Debbie. I mean, not only are you taking on the tremendous challenge of positive self-change, but you are laying yourself bare to anyone who may read your blog, along with all their very personal opinions and varied levels of compassion, sensitivity and tact, based on only a slice of what you reveal about your life here! It’s kind of amazing.

    I know these accountability posts must be hard, and thank you again for sharing. I find them fascinating and I love reading and receiving them for what they are – your process, your experimentation, your discovery of sustainable personal growth. Your own journey. And do pardon me if I’m overstepping, but I perceive that what you (and others who are struggling) need most here is a compassionate, safe space with room to work through these difficult and personal issues in your own way and time, in an environment of non-judgmental support. I can be as tempted as the next person to share all my incredibly valuable thoughts and opinions (hahaha), but I promise, you won’t be getting any criticism, judgments, or pontificating from me. 🙂

    Keep up the good work, it’s touching and inspiring.

    • You’re right, Claire. It isn’t easy for me to share everything I share on the blog, but I continue to do it because it’s helping people – and it’s helping me, too. I do sometimes worry what people will write, but I’m fortunate in that most of the comments are very supportive. I think those who read my blog are either in a similar situation as me or were in the past, so there is less judgment there. The accountability posts are important because they help to keep me on track, but they aren’t the most fun to write, that’s for sure! I’m glad that people feel my blog is a safe space to work through issues related to overshopping and other personal issues. May it always remain so!

  13. Debbie I agree with all of the above comments that you are an inspiration and that you are reporting your progress – yes, progress! – with your usual honesty which is so touching. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would feel the need to criticize but there’s an overwhelming majority who are here to support your efforts in personal growth as you help us deal with our own. Sending hugs to you 🙂

    • You are always so supportive, Megan, and I really appreciate it. Thanks you for your encouragement and for the the virtual hugs!

  14. I enjoy reading of your struggles, as I often waiver between shopaholic and complete abstainer. What I haven’t noticed you mention, and what I need help with, are the clothes I don’t wear because I like them so much I don’t want them to wear out (!). I keep them for ‘good’ and rarely wear them. These range from tee-shirts to jeans to dress clothes. I tend to wear the same jeans day in and day out. The same tops, day in and day out. It’s not like I have nothing else to wear; I just wear nothing else. Sigh. I will often say ‘I have nothing to wear!’. I often wonder what top I wore with those bottoms last time – I remember feeling good about the outfit but am unable to remember what I put together. Sigh (again). Progress, not perfection.

    • Thanks for your comment, Prim! I’m glad you like my blog. I’ve definitely experienced the types of difficulties you’ve mentioned and I know these issues are common for many people. It takes a shift in mindset and taking “baby steps” to start wearing your nicer clothes for ordinary occasions. Also, I’ve stopped buying clothes I think are “too nice” for my actual life, as I don’t attend more formal occasions very often. Tracking what I wear has helped me to see what I wear more often, and those are the types of things I try to buy when I shop these days. Of course, sometimes the clothes we’re not wearing aren’t necessarily “fancy;” they’re just newer and in more pristine condition. I think we need to realize that we are worth wearing our newer and nicer clothes! Perhaps you could start by pushing yourself to wear just one of the clothes you’re saving “for good” each week. Ease your way into getting more comfortable with the idea… Perhaps I should do a post on this topic! I’m adding it to the list now. Best of luck to you. Yes, we’re aiming for progress, not perfection!

  15. I enjoy your posts because you are still in the process of developing a healthy attitude toward clothes shopping. If it was easy for you or if you were an abstainer, your posts wouldn’t be relevant to me. Thanks for your honesty. I am another reader who finds your path inspiring because I am struggling…but if I look back a year, I know I am progressing too. And you are too! Onward 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Kate. I’m glad you find my posts helpful and inspiring. It can be hard to share my setbacks at times, but I know that many of my readers can relate to my challenges. I agree that if we all stay on the path toward recovery, we will have made some great progress when we look back later. I already feel like I’ve made excellent progress since I started my blog in January. Best of luck to you with your journey!

  16. hi Debbie,
    i have been getting rid of stuff for years, truely years, i am 52 years young and i think i am getting there, taken me along time, i go for better quality over more things, i was fed up of giving lovely things away, so now i have alot less i wear my really nice things more often, i now look smarter and feel special, i certainly am not leaving lovely clothes paid for with hard earned cash to be given away, i get them worn. It is sad we live in a critical world and criticize each other and put ourselves down so much, we wouldn,t treat a best friend so harshly, saying mean things to them, that inner voice needs to be told to shut up, so go on girl pantz stick a lovely flower in your hat and go out there with a smile on your face, does wonders for yourself and others, enjoy life we only have one. cuddles jx

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Jacqueline. I’m glad to hear that you’re feeling better about the state of your wardrobe these days. It’s okay if it takes a long time, so long as we keep on making progress. We eventually get to where we want to be. I agree that there’s too much criticism of self and others in our world today. We can’t control how others behave, but we can work to be kinder to ourselves and quiet the inner critic. Your advice is good. I wish you the best!

  17. Congrats on your purging. It is not easy to let go of clothes, so kudos to doing so! Sometimes, it’s easier to criticize for all the items still sitting unworn, and forgetting that one has already purged a great deal of pieces. One trick I had to start implementing for myself, is no out of season purchases when I shop. If the new item is not something I can wear right away, I cannot purchase it. This prevents me from purchasing shorts in say Feb, when my area doesn’t get short weather until at least June. Just the act of seeing the item is enough for me to grow tired of it. And then when it’s time to wear it, I already want something new, even though I never actually wore it!

    • This is a really good rule, Lisa! I’m trying to do the same this year, but it’s hard because the stores are so ahead of the seasons. It can be very frustrating! Still, I used to buy things for “next year” that I didn’t want to wear when the time came around. So I may plan ahead a bit for basics, but I mostly only buy things that I will wear right away these days.

Comments are closed.