Shopping and Wardrobe Goals for 2014

Now that I’ve finished my many 2013 wrap-up posts, it’s time to work on creating some powerful goals for 2014.  Today’s post will focus on shopping and wardrobe goals, while another post later this week will center on more general life goals.

2014 Shopping and Wardrobe Goals

What are your shopping and wardrobe goals  for 2014?

Since the tagline for this blog is “Trade your full closet for a full life,” I want to make sure to devote adequate time and attention to the second part of that equation this year.   I hope that many of you will join me in setting goals related to your shopping, your wardrobe, and your life at large and that some of you will opt to share them in the comments section of this post.

Why Set Goals?

Before I delve into my specific shopping and wardrobe goals for the year, I’d like to spend some time on the importance of setting goals.  Many people start the year by making what is known as New Year’s Resolutions.  In fact, 40-45% of Americans do this each year and two-thirds of these people make three or more resolutions.  The top resolutions center on losing weight, exercising more, stopping smoking or drinking, and reducing debt.

Sadly, over 30% of resolution makers have already thrown in the towel by February 1st and more than 50% have fallen off the wagon by July 1st.  On average, only about 20% of the people who make New Year’s Resolutions actually keep them!

With such bleak statistics, you may think, “Why bother?” when it comes to setting goals for yourself.  However, it’s important to note that a lot of the people who make New Year’s Resolutions fail because they set unrealistic or unclear goals.   In many cases, they even neglect to write down their goals or share them with other people.

Benefits of Written Goals

Writing down your goals and declaring them to others forces you to clarify them and makes them more real and tangible. Here are a few benefits of written goals:

  1. Clear and focused direction
  2. Sense of purpose
  3. Momentum! – moving steadily toward achieving the results you want
  4. Maximized use of time – getting where you want to go faster!
  5. Increased self-esteem and confidence
  6. Less stress and anxiety and more happiness and fulfillment in life

I think we can all agree that these benefits are worth pursuing!

Get S.M.A.R.T. for Effective Goal-Setting

An effective way to set goals is by using the S.M.A.R.T. principle. S.M.A.R.T. is a mnemonic device in which each letter stands for an important facet of this goal-setting technique.  I will briefly outline the S.M.A.R.T. principle below, but you can learn more about it here and here.

  • S = Specific:  Goals should be simply written and clearly define what you are going to do.
  • M = Measurable:  Set concrete criteria to give you tangible evidence for when you’ve accomplished your goal.
  • A = Achievable:  You see a realistic path to your goal and realistic odds that you’ll get there.
  • R = Relevant:  Make sure the goal matters for your life and that it really is your goal.
  • T = Time-bound:  Set a specific time limit in which to reach your goal.

To illustrate the power of this principle, here are a few examples of common vague resolutions versus S.M.A.R.T. goals:

  • Resolution:   “Reduce my debt.”
  • SMART Goal:    “Eliminate 50% of my credit card debt by December 31, 2014.”
  • Resolution:    “Pare down my wardrobe.”
  • SMART Goal:     “Eliminate 100 closet items that no longer serve me by the end of 2014.”
  • Resolution:   “Stop buying so many clothes!”
  • SMART Goal:   “Buy a maximum of 3 new items of clothing per month this year.”

It’s clear to see that the SMART goals are more powerful. So when setting goals for yourself in any area of your life, including your shopping and wardrobe, do your best to make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

If you’re not able to make all of your goals SMART, that’s okay.  Just write them down as clearly as you can to make them more real and tangible to you for the time-being. When you review your goals later down the line (I recommend that you review your goals on a monthly – or even weekly – basis to keep them fresh in your mind), you can revise them and incorporate more of the SMART criteria as things become clearer for you.

Recapping my 2013 Goals

Hopefully I’ve convinced you of the power of goal-setting and you’re ready to get started with setting some wardrobe and shopping goals for 2014.  Before I share my goals for this year, I’d like to do a brief recap of how I did with my 2013 goals.  I only set three SMART goals related to my wardrobe and shopping last year, but I also laid out a few basic intentions that I wanted to accomplish but wasn’t able to frame in the SMART criteria.  These intentions are ongoing and will continue to be part of my focus for this year.

Here are the three goals I set regarding my wardrobe and shopping last year, as well as a progress report for each:

1.  Stick to my monthly shopping budget of $250, for a total of $3000 for the year.

Although I originally believed I had exceeded my 2013 budget by $9.59, a late-credited return actually put my total for the year at $2965.76.  So I actually made it, although I did cut things rather close at the end!

2.  By the end of 2013, I will reduce my wardrobe to 250 total items, including clothing, shoes, purses, and scarves (down from the 384 pieces I counted in January 2013).

As noted in my January 2014 closet inventory, I started this year with a grand total of 233 core wardrobe items (clothes, shoes, purses, and scarves), so I met my goal of fewer than 250 items!

3.  End the year with no “wardrobe benchwarmers” and wear at least 25% of my wardrobe pieces 8 or more times during the year.

Sadly, I didn’t quite make it with this goal.  As I wrote in this post, I ended 2013 with 28 wardrobe benchwarmers (items that were not worn or worn only once).  While this number is infinitely better than the 146 benchwarmers I had for 2012, it still fell short of my goal.

On the wardrobe “all-star” front, I also fell a bit short of my 25% goal.  In actuality, I wore 37 of my garments and shoes at least eight times last year, which amounted to approximately 20% of my wardrobe.

Important to Note…

Although I was not successful in achieving all of my 2013 wardrobe goals, I feel confident that my progress was far better than it would have been had I set no goals at all for myself.  The fact that I set the three goals above definitely propelled me forward and pushed me to make powerful changes related to my shopping practices and wardrobe habits.

My Shopping and Wardrobe Goals for 2014

So now it’s time for me to set some goals for my shopping habits and wardrobe for this year. Here goes…  I have done my best to write each goal using the SMART criteria.  Unless otherwise stated, the time-bound portion of each goal is “by the end of 2014.”

1.   Spend a maximum of $3000 on clothing and clothing-related items (shoes, accessories, tailoring) during 2014.

I’ve decided to keep my budget at the same level for another year, as I am still in the process of building a workable wardrobe for myself after many years of unconscious and haphazard shopping.  I may opt to lower my budget number in 2015, as I should be in a much better place with my wardrobe by that time (provided I stick to my other goals below!).

I have made one change to my budget this year, though, in that I’ve allocated more money to spend on clothing and related expenses during the last two months of the year.  Traditionally, I do more shopping in November and December, so I’ve planned accordingly this year.  I don’t need many warm weather items, so I lowered my monthly budget for May through October. This allows me to spend more of my budget during both November and December.  Hopefully this will help me not to cut things so close to the edge this year, while allowing me to shop more during the end of the year sales periods.

2.  Buy a maximum of 38 wardrobe items (garments, shoes, and handbags) during 2014.

As I mentioned in my last post, I added 76 new items to my wardrobe during 2013.  Since this number was far too high, I decided to cut it in half this year.   This will help me to aim more for quality in what I buy and to be more thoughtful about my purchases.

I have created a new shopping priorities list based upon defined wardrobe needs and I will do my best to only buy items that are on my list this year.  Please note that I am only including “standard” clothing items within this item limit (workout clothes, lounge wear, pajamas, and undergarments do not count toward the limit but are included in my shopping budget).  In addition, gifts that I receive from others do not apply toward the limit (but are very rare).

  • Addendum to this rule (April 2014):   Since I’ve struggled with buying too much, too fast, I’m going to impose a monthly item limit on my shopping for the rest of the year.  I’m going to allow myself to buy 2 items per month for April through November and 4 items in December (for a total of 20 additional items this year).  When added to the items I’ve already purchased (less the pieces that were returned for a refund), my item limit for the year will remain at 38.

3.  Everything I buy will fit my current body, lifestyle, and personal sense of style. 

This goal was difficult to phrase in SMART criteria, but was important for me to include. In the past, I bought a lot of items that were more for an imagined or wished for life than for the life I was actually leading.  I also listened too much to fashion “experts” in terms of what I should be wearing and thus bought a number of pieces that simply sat in my closet collecting dust.

This year I will endeavor to hone my personal style and only buy items that I feel great in and love to wear. Everything I buy should fit my current body (which doesn’t vary by much) and be both physically and emotionally comfortable for me to wear.

4.  Items I buy will either fit me perfectly “off the rack” or will only need very basic alterations done to make them work for me.

As I detailed in “The Dark Side of Alterations,” I continued to pursue a lot of ill-advised tailoring endeavors during 2013.  This led to a lot of wasted money spent on garments which should have been left in the store (or in the case of items I tried to “save,” should have hit my donation bag).   I want to make sure I don’t repeat such mistakes this year, so I will try harder to find garments which fit me “off the rack.”

Should I need to have alterations done to my clothes, I will limit them to the standard, straight-forward modifications that have traditionally been successful, including:

  • Pants hems
  • Taking in sides of jackets and tops
  • Taking in waistlines of pants
  • Lengthening sleeves (letting down hems)
  • Adding hooks to wrap-style tops and dresses

5.   Return any new items that have not been worn or used within 30 days of purchase.

I’ve held this rule as a guideline in the past, but I’m going to be stricter about it this year.  I want to only buy new items that will be worn pretty much right away rather than trying to anticipate future needs or plan for “just in case” scenarios. Thus, if I haven’t worn a new piece within a month of purchase, I probably don’t really need it and it can go back to the store.

6.   Reduce my wardrobe to 200 total items (including clothing, shoes, purses, and scarves) by December 31, 2014.

I feel that my wardrobe is still too large, so I’d like to pare things down further this year.  I made a lot of progress with my clothes and shoes last year, but didn’t do much with my purses and scarves.  I will continue to track what I do and don’t wear and will gradually weed out the items that aren’t serving me.  In terms of my garments, I still have far too many tops, so this will be an area of focus for me this year.

7.   End the year having worn everything in my closet at least two or more times – no wardrobe benchwarmers!

Last year was not typical for me in that I spent a large portion of the year being sick and not leaving the house all that often.  Hopefully this year will be far more representative of the way things normally go for me and I’ll be wearing my clothes more often (trying to stay optimistic here!).  Anything that doesn’t get worn at least twice over the course of the year won’t get to stay in my closet.  Ideally, I’ll be wearing my clothes a lot more than two times per year, but that’s the bare minimum for an item to earn its keep!

8.   Wear at least a third of my wardrobe pieces 8 or more times during the year.  Wear at least half of my wardrobe pieces 5 or more times during the year.

As I reduce the size of my wardrobe, I should be able to wear the pieces that remain a lot more regularly.  I hope to be able to exceed this goal, but I have to start somewhere.  Last year, I wore 35% of my clothes and shoes at least five times, and 20% of my pieces were worn eight times or more.  If I meet the goal above, that would represent a substantial improvement and I would be pleased with that result.

9.   Every item in my closet will be at least an “8” on a scale of 1-10 by the end of the year.  All items that are less than an “8” will be donated or consigned.

This goal is more subjective than objective, but I feel it’s important for me to “walk my talk.”  I frequently write that we should aim for all of our clothes to be “8”s or higher, but I still have some sub-standard pieces hanging out in my closet.   Some of these pieces are “placeholders,” key wardrobe players for which replacements need to be purchased.  I want to feel great in everything I wear, so I will make those replacement purchases a priority and get all of the less than stellar items out of my closet before the end of the year.

10.  Reduce the size of my jewelry collection by at least one-third.

Up until now, I haven’t placed much focus on downsizing my jewelry collection, although I did a fair amount of paring down over the course of 2013.  However, I still have far too many jewelry pieces which aren’t being worn and my large jewelry armoire is still stuffed to the gills.  It’s high time that I start wearing more of my jewelry overall and get rid of anything that’s no longer my style.  I will soon do an inventory of my jewelry box so I have a baseline number. Then I’ll determine how many pieces I need to get rid of in order to pare things down by one third.

Over to You…

Now that I’ve shared my shopping and wardrobe goals for 2014, I’d love to hear yours.  I’m sure some of you have goals that are very different from mine.  We all benefit from the sharing we do with each other, as we’re often alerted to new “wrinkles” we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.  Perhaps I’ll even amend some of my goals after reading what some of you share.  In any event, it’s very interesting and informative to read about the goals others have created for themselves. I invite you to share your goals in the comments section of this post.

Some Useful Links to Share

I love sharing some of the wonderful articles I’ve read recently with all of you!  Here are some of my favorites from the last couple of weeks.

  • January Wardrobe Challenge – Setting Style Goals for 2014:  While we’re on the topic of goals, I recommend that you check out this fabulous post from Anuschka Rees. Included are thirteen questions to ask yourself and three short assignments to do to help you formulate some style goals for the coming year.
  • Is Price Shaping You, or Are You Shaping Price?:  Robert of “Untitled Minimalism(who previously wrote a guest post for “Recovering Shopaholic”) shares his insights on impulse shopping, planned shopping, and discount shopping and what the key differentiator should be when making a buying decision.
  • Marketing Targets:  Kali from “The Nife en L’Air” writes about how marketing works and how understanding our consumer profile can help us to make more informed purchasing decisions.  Be sure to read the comments on this post as well, as they add a lot of dimension to what is already a very thought-provoking post.

35 thoughts on “Shopping and Wardrobe Goals for 2014

  1. I have the same budget as you do. I tend to buy more for spring/summer because it’s warmer for a longer amount of time here. Like I told you before I am going to join you in buying half this year. My number is 44. This has already been helpful because I made myself pick one color of a top I liked instead of buying both like I usually do. I think I said my total number including jackets,coats, scarves, and purses was 187 that I own. I’m fine with that, but I will make sure to go through everything at least a couple of times this year. Having less and buying less I’m sure will lead to me wearing everything more.

    • It’s great to learn that your shopping item limit is already working for you, Tonya! It is for me, too, I avoided looking at sales racks when shopping for specific items last weekend. I wish I had a longer warm season here, but since I live right by the water, we only have “summer” per se for about 3 months of the year. I used to buy LOTS of summer clothes because it’s my favorite time of year, but now I need very little for that time of year. I really think the item limit is going to be very helpful for me in ways that just having a clothing budget hasn’t been. I hope to lower the limit more in 2015, but let’s see how this year goes first!

  2. Thank you for posting your goals for 2014. I follow your blog through Feedly and look forward to the new posts all the time. I used to think I was reasonable with shopping but 2013 was a very excessive year for me. While I do keep a budget and log all my purchases on a separate spreadsheet, I won’t tell you the totals. It is something I plan not to repeat again. A large portion of my budget was spent on new clothes to fit my now larger size as I have put on too much weight. In 2014, I plan to lose a lot of this weight and hopefully fit back into old clothes (and I have several different sizes of clothes to fit on my weight loss journey).
    My goals for 2014 are as follows:
    1. To pay off my line of credit debt by July (as I payed off my credit card with my line of credit to reduce the interest). This will seriously impact my shopping.
    2. I am allowing myself 12 new items – approximately 1 per month – for 2014. This does not include undies, socks and tights pyjamas or workout wear. I have a list made of items I am hoping to purchase. Replacement items are allowed if the older item was sold or donated because I don’t fit it anymore.
    3. To develop approximately 4 “Project 333” seasonal capsules with my existing wardrobe. Items will be carefully chosen to fit 1 or more of the capsules. There are distinct seasons here from hot summers to bitterly cold winters. I will also try to create special capsules for formal events, exercise, and loungewear. Items that don’t fit the capsules will be strongly considered for donation or sale.
    4. I have gone through my closet and drawers and have pulled out all the items that do not currently fit. These are stored separately for the hopeful day when I can wear the items again. I plan to set these up as 1 or 2 “333” capsules and to get rid of the items that no longer fit and likely won’t be worn again.
    5. To start tracking how often I wear items and to aim for at least 5 wears during the year. Items worn less than 5 times will be scrutinized and strongly considered for sale or donation.
    6. My color palette will be more defined instead of just any flattering or almost-flattering color. My dominant colors will be charcoal, medium grey, dove grey, soft white, ink blue, deep cool red (garnet or cranberry), taupe, eggplant, dark teal and jade (softer than emerald green). These are my best colors and I want to wear more of them and have my pieces co-ordinate well together.
    7. While I am mostly happy with my shoes and boots, I find there are a few pairs I don’t wear often likely because I have more than is appropriate for that season in my climate. I am trying to organize my shoes /boots into capsules of 4 to 5 pairs each for each purpose. Ex: summer shoes, multi-season heels, multi-season flats, boots, and “utility” shoes and boots (like runners, hikers, snow boots). I want to wear a pair in each capsule at least once a week. I have about 30 or so pairs now and I want to get that number to 20 total.
    Thanks for the opportunity to express my concerns and to formulate a plan (which I will copy and paste into Evernote). Wishing you the best on your goals and hoping the same for myself.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your goals with all of us, Rose! It seems you have really taken the time to think about what will work best for you and you have set goals and actions which will likely make a big difference for you this year. I hope you’ll check back in with us later to let us know how you’re doing. Best of luck to you!

  3. Have you seen this post that’s been floating around that argues for having systems/habits rather than goals?

    Admittedly it’s a little harder for me to think, right off the bat, how that might apply to the “closet” side of the equation, but I’ve been pondering it for the “full life” side.

    I’ve been trying to combine this idea with the “tiny habits” approach (e.g., instead of saying you’ll floss every day, say you’ll floss ONE TOOTH every day):

    It’s all very thought provoking!

    I don’t have specific goals or rules related to shopping or clothing numbers, but my intention is to work towards having a closet that is properly balanced so that I’m wearing most pieces 8 to 10 times each year. Again, using your “desired frequency of wear” concept and working backwards from the number of opportunities per year for different kinds of pieces (approximately how often I want to wear pants vs. skirts, what proportion of the year is winter vs. summer weather, etc.) has really helped me with this!

    It sounds like you have really good insights into where you are in your journey, look forward to cheering you on!

    • Thanks so much for sharing these links, Sarah! I think I’ve been using BOTH goals and systems for many years, but I can definitely see how just having a good system could be enough to get us where we want to do in life. I love the idea of using tiny habits as well. One thing I did so this year in terms of my life at large (will share more in my next post) is choose a theme for the year. I also set some goals, but far fewer than I did in the past. The theme is already guiding the way I approach my life.

      I felt it was important for me to set goals in terms of my wardrobe since that is a very objective thing to look at. Also, it’s a big focus area of my life and an area which has caused me a lot of grief over the years. I do wonder if I set too many goals, but I got on a roll with it and kept going. I DO have a system with my wardrobe, too, in that I use the “hanger trick” and track everything I wear. Project 333 is a system as well and one that some people use as the sole guiding principle in managing their wardrobes.

      There is not one universally right way to do things. We all need to determine what works best for us. You have definitely provided some great food for thought, so thank you for that. Best of luck to you in wearing everything in your closet 8-10 times per year. I hope to get these soon myself…

  4. I am very impressed with your progress in 2013! I do have a question about your 2014 goals which are ambitious yet attainable. If you have 233 core items and can add up to 38 more (which totals 271) do you think you will be able to donate/consign 71 items to meet your 200 item goal?
    Maybe most of the benchwarmers will head out the door? Maybe a one-in-two-out rule?
    Would love to hear any insight on how you foresee doing this (if only for inspiration). 🙂

    • I probably should have explained this part of the equation, Emmy, as I’m guessing others had questions about it, too. Many of the items on my list to bring in to my closet are replacements for things that are already in there (either to replace things that are past their prime or to replace lower quality wardrobe staples with better versions). I will also downgrade some of my tops to workout/lounge wear. I did that with some tops last year and it’s extending their life cycle.

      I basically did one-in, two-out last year, but I wasn’t super methodical about it. I didn’t designate items to go as I brought new things in, but I did review my wardrobe regularly and pare things down. I also put items aside to donate or consign if I wore them and felt ho-hum about them. This year, I plan to pare down my purse and scarf collection, which is something I didn’t really do last year. Whatever I don’t wear will go, and the same will be true for my clothing benchwarmers. I think the 200 goal is ambitious, especially if I actually do bring 38 new items into my wardrobe (that’s my maximum but I can always buy less), but I think it’s achievable. I will provide updates periodically throughout the year to let you all know how I’m doing!

      • I did a deep accessory purge a few years ago — most of the things I decided I no longer wanted/needed went to consignment or were sold on e-bay. It wasn’t a lot of stuff but the clearing out was something on my to-do list for a while. Ditto on shoes — I didn’t/don’t have a lot of shoes so the number of pairs that I culled weren’t impressive. It was a major accomplishment because I got rid of a lot of rather expensive “business” shoes I had stopped wearing earlier in the year. The cull was like drawing a bright line saying, this is your life now — a bit more casual and low-heeled. Most important, this process helped me re-connect with why I love some of the things I own and why I could let go of things like scarves that take up almost no space. I allowed myself to keep 4-5 pieces of jewelry for sentimental reasons even if the frequency of wear is low or if they were my mother’s. This was my 4th or 5th purge in, oh, 25 years so I was down to jewelry that had serious monetary or sentimental value or that I wear a lot. Someday I will be able to cull further among the jewelry that was my mother’s and give to relatives.

      • I actually look forward to paring down my accessory collection this year, Dottie, and I like your idea about drawing a bright line that points to how my life is NOW rather than in the past. I did purge some accessories last year, but need to let go of a lot more. I don’t have much in the way of heirlooms or sentimental pieces and most of my jewelry is not all that valuable. It’s a bit more difficult with the pieces that are more valuable, but I may opt to try to consign those or sell them on eBay. Even though my jewelry, scarves, and even handbags to some extent, don’t take up much physical space, they are occupying mental/emotional space, so I need to let go of the excess and just keep what I love and will wear for my current life and style!

  5. I set a lot of goals for myself, like I always do. I usually get 80% of them or more, which is why goal setting is a tool I will continue to use. This year I took your idea on writing a letter to myself reflecting on 2013 and on my goals for 2014! To give you an idea, I have some generally outlined below and then specifics on my wardrobe ones. My actual goals are much longer and more detailed.

    Work: I have my eyes set on a promotion, so I have some very specific goals related to this topic.
    Personal: I have some issues with my communication style that have been brought to my attention in 2013, so I have some very specific goals for improvement there.
    Health: Getting some issues that I have been neglecting taken care of.
    Family: Some parenting goals and to spend more time with family and friends.
    Financial: Reduce my debt (home, auto, etc) by 18% and raise my savings by 35% approximately (to reach 1 year’s salary saved). Lofty goals!
    Mental: Focus more on being happy, meditation, and minimalism.

    Wardrobe: Meet my budget ($1800) for the first time. Wear everything excepting certain formal items (I think there will be 5 of them perhaps receiving exemption) 10x or more a year. Anything lower than that should be purged. Purchase a maximum of 45 items (includes everything except undergarments and pajamas) this year.

    Limiting what I can buy is a challenge (scary scary!), but having that limit will be good for me. As for wardrobe size- I’m not sure what my total number should be. I think I will let it be organic, but be watchful and ruthless with purging. I was very interested in doing a stint at project 333, but I’m not convinced yet. I’m still ruminating on the topic obviously!

    I really love your goals- all are very worthy. I don’t think the point is to feel ‘failure’ for not reaching a goal- you made them and stuck by them to the end, which is commendable. Being self-aware, and all the progress you have made, is worth much more than feeling bad for falling 5% below your goal! I’m also enjoying reading everyone else’s goals :).

    • I’m glad you did the letter to yourself exercise, Meli. My husband and I both did it and look forward to doing it again at the end of this year. Your goals sound great and I wish you the best of luck with them! As for the purchase limit goal, it’s scary for me, too, but I think it’s going to really make a big difference. I’m noticing already that I’m thinking much more carefully about what I buy. I had already bought a few things before I set the goal and I wonder if they would have made the cut had I already had the limit in place. Writing a new priority list helped, too, as I now have 29 items designated that I’d like to buy this year. That means I really can’t make any unplanned purchases or else I will have to forgo something on my list. Of course, some of the list items may be very difficult to find, but I’m going to do my best. I look forward to reading how it all goes for you, too. You’re right that I shouldn’t feel bad for falling short of my wear frequency goal. I actually feel good that I did as well as I did and I look forward to improving those statistics this year!

  6. In addition to all of the good clothing suggestions, feedback, great writing and honesty included in this post, I appreciate your inclusion of goal setting and new year resolutions as it relates to a full life. In my full life, when I’m not in my closet, I’m the director of volunteers at an animal shelter assistance program, and tonight at a presentation I would like to gently quote what you have stated. Within the volunteer community what you have stated is so true.

    I write my goals (and my wishes) in my journal and I do it frequently, and just about everything I have ever wanted to do and have written down, does eventually take place, or come true.

    This year I have promised myself that I will stick to my list (a small, carefully planned list) and allow myself to search for what I am in need of at sales, and I will not give in to the temptation to buy other items. if I am tempted and really want a random item I see on sale, instead of buying I will go home and write in my journal, just write a quick paragraph about how proud of myself I am for not getting it (not write about whatever I saw in the store, would never do that, then I might end up getting it) because what I want most of all is a “small” great, workable wardrobe. After I write in my journal, I’ll then forget about it and go outside and look at the sky and think about all the things I’m thankful for.

    • I’m honored that you want to share some of my sentiments with your volunteer community, Terra. I think your job sounds great and I think I would enjoy doing something similar on a part-time basis.

      I loved reading about your experience with goal-setting. How wonderful that most of what you have written down has eventually come true! I tend to set my goals too high and then get disappointed when things don’t work out (like when I had the goal of only buying one item or clothing and one accessory per month – I wasn’t ready yet…), so I’ve been trying to set more manageable goals for myself. I like the journaling practice you mentioned and think I will take this one on for myself! Like you, I have many, many things to be thankful for and it’s worth considering those things when I feel “deprived” for not buying clothing items that aren’t on my list.

    • I also enjoy this idea- refocusing the energy of ‘want’ into something positive- very valuable tool, which I’m taking note of. Thanks!!

  7. I have not read all the responses yet, but my goal is to not shop for the year. My wardrobe is about half of yours (not counting scarves), but I hope that I have enough variety to carry me through. We shall see. I am not in some self deprivation mode, but would like to see how far I can go without getting bored. We both have ambitious goals, Debbie . 🙂

    • This is indeed an ambitious goal, Cornelia, but I know you didn’t make it lightly. From your past comments, you seem to have a workable wardrobe and perhaps you really don’t need anything new. If that’s the case, taking a year off from shopping can be a good learning experience, as well as a way to save time and money. Please keep us posted on how it evolves for you!

  8. I really like your emphasis on the importance of having SMART goals. Like you say, they are so much more powerful. I think this is an issue I am having with Project 333 – I didn’t clearly define what I personally wanted to achieve/learn with the challenge, and now the motivation just isn’t there. I’ve ended up wearing quite a few things that I didn’t include in my selection, because I haven’t really pinned down why not to. So I guess thats what I’ve learnt from it so far!

    Thank you for sharing my post, Debbie! I do hope it’s useful in meeting your clothing goals in a sustainable, more conscious way.

    • You made a really good point, Emma! The one thing that SMART doesn’t cover is WHY, but I agree that it’s really important for us to identify WHY we are making the goals that we outline for ourselves. As for Project 333, it’s not too late for you to come up with compelling reasons for doing the challenge, or perhaps it’s really not the right thing for you to do at this time. Only you can know that…

      As for your posts, I find them very helpful in getting me to think about clothing in a different way. I really do want to be much more conscious and ethical in the way I approach my wardrobe. I am happy to share your wonderful blog with others!

  9. Hi Debbie, I read your wardrobe inventory post and this one, and you have made a huge shift in the way you do things! Over a 2-year period I reduced my wardrobe from 264 major items to 163 and I am hoping to get down to 150 this year. I have a relatively small clothes budget and my goals this year are to make a list of replacement items I need and keep it with me so I don’t “forget” and buy something I don’t need; and I don’t want to be so rigid-minded about what I need. For example, I’ll go to 10 stores over 3 weekends looking for the perfect pair of black pants for work, but if I were open-minded, I might realize that another neutral like charcoal or chocolate would have been fine!

    • Congrats on how well you’ve done in paring down your wardrobe and best wishes with meeting your goal for this year. Replacement items can be tricky. I think we have to strike the appropriate balance between “settling” for ho-hum pieces we don’t really love and being so ultra-perfectionistic that we never end up buying anything. I have erred on both fronts, so I’m now trying to find a happy middle ground. I wish the same for you!

  10. When I identify something to replace (and I try to do this weeks if not months in advance) I vow to find something I really want. In years past I often settled for “place-holders” — a garment that ALMOST ticks all the boxes but doesn’t in some important way. Then I would begin a quest to replace that garment, etc. So now, unless I have immediate garment failure, I take my time for find a garment I rally like and will provide — I hope — years of service. This quest is becoming harder and harder but I remain hopeful that I can find a great basic v-neck white tee, etc. Sigh.

    • Dottie, I have very good luck with Lands End tees. I used to wear Eddie Bauer but they tend to stretch out of shape, whereas LE doesn’t. The problem I’ve run into lately is they are so popular they are sold out in my size and color preference both online and in Sears stores, but they have a new crop of spring colors (got the catalog yesterday) that are really quite nice.

      Since I’m a spiller (and I’m not going to wear a bib, lol!), I find that often I have to retire my light colored tees before their time is up because of stains I can’t remove. I always feel quite slovenly if I’m wearing a shirt with a shadow of a stain in a prominent place where everyone will notice, even if its just loungewear.

      • Oh I have to share a tip for “whites”. If it is just a matter of removing a stain( including yellowing around the neck or underarms) and the garment including tees are in great shape and they’ re not ready to actually be replaced, use Oxyclean. It comes as granules and you simply wet the area(s) in question. Then male a paste out of the Oyx and apply it quite thick ( I make it thick enough so that I can’ t see the material). Let the item sit for a couple of hours or until you are ready to do laundry( can be days later, it won ‘ t harm the fabric ). Then wash as normal. I do this to all my whites and they stay pristine and wearable for alot longer than average.

      • Oh, I am also a fan of Oxiclean! There is scarcely a load of clothing that goes into the washer without it (unless its black, lol)! I like the spray on variety, and then let it sit for several hours, like Abgurl says. However, this past summer, I discovered that some fabric dyes are not as stable as others–I ruined an expensive knit top with Oxi because it completely bleached out the ivory tone, creating permanent white streaks on the fabric.

    • Your practice is a good way to go, Dottie. I have to keep reminding myself not to settle just because I really need to replace a worn out item (or fill a hole I’ve identified in my wardrobe). That type of practice is what led me to have more than 10 black skirts in my closet a year ago (now I have just two and they are different styles). I’ve learned the hard way not to let my desire for immediate gratification get in the way of making good decisions.

      Deby and Abgurl, thanks for sharing your tips here as well! I am definitely going to try the Land’s End tees, as I’ve had similar problems with my Eddie Bauer tee from recent years (the older ones are still in excellent shape with no stretching – damn that quality decline!). I like to try things on if possible, so I will make my way to Sear’s soon… I haven’t tried Oxyclean, but it’s nice to know that it really does work! I will keep that in mind for future stubborn stains.

  11. For the people having issues with tee shirts: both Lands End and LLBean have many styles, customer reviews, and no questions asked return policies. I am not a tee wearer, so haven’t tried these, but I would have no hesitation about ordering from these companies. You can even return AFTER you’ve worn something if it is not to your liking or if it doesn’t last long enough/stretches out, etc.

    • Thanks so much for this tip, Frugalscholar! It’s good to know that there are still some companies out there who are producing quality items and providing good customer service. I will check out Lands End and LLBean the next time I need some new tees.

  12. Already accomplished 2014’s goal. I am a single woman in a 3-bedroom house in which every closet in the house (foyer coat closet too) was filled with my clothes. Last year I managed to whittle that in half. A few weeks ago, inspired by the New Year, I finally decluttered myself back into solely the master closet/bedroom (my goal). I even went an unexpected step further and emptied out an armoire and two shoe storage cabinets. Twelve big black Hefty garbage bags of clothes donated. I re-purposed/donated the now-empty storage pieces so I am not tempted to re-fill them. I feel lighter and my morning routine is already seeing the benefits. My new goal is to declutter a little more deeply, allowing me to empty one more small chest in my bedroom. My reward will be to replace the chest with a new night table so I can conveniently have lamps/reachable-storage on either side of the bed…a previous source of great annoyance and impossible in my once furniture-packed bedroom. Once this goal is complete, I plan to purchase any missing essentials (keeping in mind my new capsule wardrobe goals) then institute the the one-in-one-out rule on any future purchases….and actually follow the $250 budget that I set and rarely keep. Knock wood. Like you I hit 40 and snapped. The mental weight of my belongings was too heavy. That was two years ago and my wardrobe has been the last thing to be decluttered. I guess the task was just too daunting before.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your amazing success with us, Marjorie! I hope you feel proud of yourself for how much you accomplished in a very short period of time. I wish you the best of luck with your next phase goals! My wardrobe was one of my “final frontiers” of decluttering and I’m happy to be moving forward there. My next step will be to deal with my “information overload” in terms of physical and computer files. That feels daunting, but my success in other areas spurs me on. Thanks for your comment.

  13. Lots of great goals here. For myself, this is the first year in a long time I set myself a monthly budget. And I’ve already blown past it, until May and Feb isn’t even over yet! I admit that my budget was a guess number, but I own plenty of clothes sitting unworn. I was hoping a budget would help me curb the shopping impulse, but this only works if I stick to it, of course. I like the idea to set a purchase number limit. Maybe a number will help me stay more focused. If I can only purchase a handful of things, I will be able to purchase better quality items, and purchase less items at a time, a win win situation.

    • I’ve tried to stick to a monthly/yearly budget for many years and last year was the first year I was able to do so. I still bought too many items, though. The item limit is new to me this year and it’s been the MOST helpful rule I’ve put in place so far! I recommend setting a doable number and not setting the bar too high. Make it challenging but not so difficult that you throw in the towel early on. I’m very challenged and have bought too much so far, but I still feel like I can achieve my item limit for 2014.

  14. Hoping this year to really pare down my clothing & footwear. Also to stop the cycle of buy & discard. My jewellery has got to a sensible level & I use scarves as accessories rather than beads or necklaces. As a housewife I can make do with the bare minimum of say 3 skirts with 12 tops. Maybe a couple of dresses & a jacket for occasions; jeans for gardening & hiking. Footwear in black – one smart pair of court shoes, pair of boots (long & ankle), pair of sandals for Summer & a pair of flats for gardening in. This is my goal & I do hope & pray I reach it this time around, as I spend much too much on it all.

    • It sounds like you’ve gained a lot of awareness in terms of what you do and don’t need. That’s an important step in the process. I think that setting goals can be very helpful, so long as we don’t set the bar too high and we review our goals regularly (monthly is a good interval). I wish you the best of luck with the shopping and wardrobe goals you’ve set for yourself this year, Rufonious!

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