February 2014 Accountability Update

The second month of the year is now behind us, so it’s time for another accountability update.  If you’re new to “Recovering Shopaholic,” here’s the scoop…  I’ve committed to posting monthly accountability updates as a way of keeping myself honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping goals.  These posts include what came into and left my closet during a given month and how I did with my shopping budget and rules.   I typically write about what I wore that month as well, but since I just finished an abbreviated round of Project 333, I will include that information in a separate post (to go live later this week).

The truth

Accountability can help with our recovery process.

What Left My Closet

During February, I purged 30 items from my wardrobe:

  • 16 garments (including 3 workout tees and 2 workout pants)
  • 4 pairs of shoes (including one pair that was returned)
  • 4 purses
  • 6 scarves

Here’s a snapshot of the pieces that left my closet last month (the scarves and workout items – except one pair of pants – are not pictured):

What Left My Closet - February 2014

These items left my closet during February 2014.

Why I Purged These Items

In addition to posting photos of what left my closet, I also list why I decided to release those pieces from my wardrobe.   I feel that pinpointing our reasons for purging closet items can help us notice patterns and avoid future mistakes.  Listed from left to right, top to bottom (from the photo above), here’s what I let go of and why:

  1. Black handbag:   Since I dyed my brown Brighton bag black last September, that’s been the black bag I’ve been reaching for over this one.  I found that this bag looked a bit inexpensive and not as polished as the Brighton bag, so I placed it on consignment last month.
  2. Black sequined tank/cardigan combo:   This is another one of my consignment purchase failures from last year.  I thought I would enjoy wearing this with skirts during cooler months, but when I recently tried it on with all of my skirts, I didn’t like it with any of them!  So out it went, back to consignment.  Lesson learned – no more buying things that aren’t on my priority list, especially at resale shops where I cannot make returns.
  3. Black suede pumps:  Yet another resale mistake goes out the door.  I didn’t like these shoes with my skirts (my skirts are mostly for spring/summer wear) and my pants are not long enough to wear with heels of this height.  Sadly, the consignment shops didn’t want these shoes, so they were donated this past weekend.
  4. Black print skirt:  I’ve had this skirt for a number of years and have worn it quite a few times.  However, I have several black print skirts and this one wasn’t a recent favorite.  I didn’t want to be “splitting my wears,” so I opted to pass this one along.
  5. Brown knit coat:  I also have this coat in black and wear that one all the time, but I am not a fan of brown on me.  It isn’t one of my best colors and I’d rather just keep the black coat and wear that one when the need for a lightweight, casual coat arises.
  6. Brown handbag:  I’ve had this bag for over ten years and used to use it a lot, but since I’m letting go of all of the brown items in my wardrobe, I decided to add this one to purge pile.  I got a lot of use from it back in the day, but haven’t used it in at least three years.  Time to go…
  7. Cabi jeans:  These jeans were worn a lot during the past two years, but I now have far better jeans options to wear.  These jeans haven’t washed all that well and aren’t as flattering on me as my more recent pairs, so they have now been donated.
  8. Cole Haan black wedges:  I bought these shoes in December before purchasing my black AGL flats. The two shoes are very similar in style and I like the AGLs better, so I returned the Cole Haan shoes to the store last month.
  9. Grey waffle top with black lace details:  I actually love this top, but it is too big for me!  Whenever I wore it, I had to fuss with it frequently because of the large size.  I don’t want fussy clothes in my wardrobe anymore (nor do I wish to tackle risky alterations), so I passed this top on.
  10. Grey cardigan: This is the cardigan that I felt frumpy in last month.  Since I don’t ever want to feel frumpy and I have another grey cardigan I like a lot more, this one has been placed on consignment.
  11. Grey leopard print skirt:  This skirt was one of my three-time “wardrobe benchwarmers” (only worn once or not at all each year for the past three years).  I kept it in order to have a dressier option to wear, but I think I’ve learned that my dressy occasions are few and far between.  If I do have the need to dress up a bit, I have other options to wear that will fit the bill, so this skirt has finally left my closet.
  12. Lululemon workout pants:  I used to like this wider-legged silhouette, but I have since come to prefer a straight-leg style for all of my pants.  I didn’t feel these pants were flattering on me (not only were the legs too wide, the pants overall were too big!), so I passed them along.
  13. Orange ombre tee:  This top was worn a number of times, but it had become sort of stretched out and no longer looked fab.  Although I still liked it, I didn’t like the way it looked on me.  I want to feel attractive in all of my clothes, so I purged this top from my closet.
  14. Pink Chico’s Henley:  I’d had this top for a number of years, but it was never a wardrobe favorite.  It’s a bit too boxy in fit (as Chico’s garments often are) and the “blingy” buttons never really suited my style. I don’t remember why I bought it, but it was definitely time to let it go.
  15. Black Privo flats:  I wanted to love these shoes because they were oh-so-comfortable, but I never liked the way they looked with any of my pants.  They just seemed “clompy” somehow, so I always opted for other shoes when getting dressed. These shoes are like-new, so I know someone will get good wear out of them.
  16. Red ruffle cardigan:  I got this cardigan last year, mostly because I liked the color (not the best reason for buying something!).  But the ruffles are not really my cup of tea and I now have another red cardigan I like much more.  I know I didn’t even come close to getting my money’s worth from this item, but keeping something I don’t love won’t bring my money back!
  17. Bronze Sketcher’s flats:  I wore these shoes a fair amount six or seven years ago and kept them because they were comfortable.  However, I don’t really like the color or style (for me) and hadn’t worn them much in recent years, so it was time to let them go.
  18. Striped clutch:  I bought this at a resale store in 2012 but never used it.  Although clutch purses have been listed as “must-haves” by some fashion experts, I don’t like them.  I hate having to carry them, plus I rarely go out for dressier occasions.  It was a bad idea for me to buy this, so I’m glad it’s gone now.
  19. Zebra print handbag:  This was a gift from my mother probably seven years ago.  Sadly, I never used it all that much and I’m not entirely sure why.  What I do know is that is doesn’t feel like “me” these days, so it was time to let it go.

In regards to the items not pictured, I let go of the workout tees because I have better-fitting options available and plenty of workout clothes overall (the same was true for the second pair of workout pants I passed on).  The scarves were released because I haven’t worn them in quite some time and have more than enough scarves that I enjoy wearing.

Wow, I let go of a lot of items last month!  I hope all this information about my items and purging rationale isn’t too boring for all of you…  My hope is that reading about my mistakes and my efforts to pare down my wardrobe will help you avoid buying errors and make progress with your own shopping and closet journeys.  Sometimes it’s easier to learn from other people’s mistakes than our own, so I hope that reading about my foibles is useful for you.

As I become more and more accustomed to having a smaller wardrobe, it’s getting much easier for me to let go of my less favorite items.  While my wardrobe is still larger than ideal (although I’m still not sure what ideal is for me), I’m finding it far more manageable these days.  It’s much less overwhelming to get dressed each day and I’m wearing and enjoying a larger proportion of what I own.  Good news!

What Came Into My Closet

During February, I added nine new garments to my wardrobe (too much, I know… more about this below).   Two items were purchased at a consignment store, three were bought at the mall, and the other four were ordered online.  Here’s what I bought:

  • 2 jackets (one for workouts)
  • 3 cardigans
  • 4 tops

I also tried to add another pair of pants or two to my closet, but all five of the pants I ordered online (I often have to order pants online, as I need tall sizes) did not work out.  I knew I wouldn’t have kept all of them, but I was hoping to have been able to hold on to at least one pair!  I’m going to be persistent with the pants, though, as I know I’d really benefit from having a few more pairs to wear, including one in a non-neutral color.  If necessary, I will get pants custom-made, as has been suggested to me on several occasions (I’ll be posting a great guest post on this topic very soon).   I also tried to find a pair of brightly colored or multi-color shoes, but haven’t had luck in that department yet, either.  I’ll keep looking!

Here’s a photo of the garments I added to my wardrobe during February:

What Came Into My Closet - February 2014

These nine items were added to my closet during February 2014

Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe

I believe it’s important for us to understand why we buy new pieces, as becoming more aware of our purchasing motivations can help us to shop smarter.  For this reason, I share my reasons for buying the new pieces I add to my closet each month.

Here’s a list of what I purchased in February 2014 and why (listed from left to right, top to bottom):

  1. Black and cobalt striped top:  I wanted to add a few more “special” tops to my wardrobe this year – the types of tops that stand alone and don’t need to be worn with toppers or accessories in order to make a statement.  I liked that the stripes in this top (yes, I have a lot of stripes in my wardrobe, but stripes are kind of a “signature style” for me) have some variation to them.  Black and cobalt are two of my core colors and I know I will wear this top a lot.
  2. Black hip-length jacket:  I wanted to have a shorter-length jacket/coat (most of mine are longer) and I was thrilled to find this one by a designer I love (Nanette Lepore) – but usually can’t afford -on consignment.  The only alteration needed to this coat was to lengthen the sleeves (I have “gorilla arms”), so I happily snapped it up.
  3. Black/sheer striped top:  This top also fits into the “special” category and I like it because it includes an attached nude underpinning for modesty’s sake.  It can be worn casually with jeans or dressed up with trousers and heels for evening (if a dressier occasion ever comes up)
  4. Burgundy jacket:  This jacket will be worn on walks and to the gym and will eventually replace a similar weight jacket that is becoming worn out.  I love the color and because it’s a tall size, the sleeves and body are plenty long on me.  It was also on sale, so win-win!
  5. Forest green cardigan:  I wanted to buy a few cardigans that are different styles from what I already have.  I like this “boyfriend style” and the color (which looks more vibrant in real life) is a favorite of mine.  This cardigan will coordinate well with many of my neutral tops, as well as some of my brighter-colored ones.
  6. Grey long-sleeved tee:  Grey is one of my core neutral colors and I didn’t have any long-sleeved tops in that color (since I let go of the other grey top shown above).  Although this top is very plain, it’s comfortable and will look good with many of my scarves and necklaces.
  7. Grey striped cardigan:  Most of my cardigans are solids, so I was excited to find this striped version during the same consignment store visit when I picked up the black jacket above.  Although I have quite a few open cardigans (but have purged a number of them as well), I wear them a lot and this one is shaped differently.  I can envision wearing this with many of my sleeveless and short-sleeved tops, and since it’s lightweight, it will be a good piece for spring through fall.
  8. Purple long wrapped cardigan:  I purchased this cardigan from Seamly, a small company which focuses on producing ethical and sustainable clothing in the USA. This cardigan can be worn three different ways and I love the color.  I also love that it’s longer than most of my other cardigans and looks good with the new almost-skinny jeans (listed as straight-leg but look pretty skinny on me) I bought last month.
  9. Wine scoop-neck tee:  I mentioned recently that I wanted to add a few more burgundy pieces to my wardrobe.  This top is more of a wine or magenta than a deep burgundy, but I like the color and it looks good with my skin tone and hair color.  It’s a good basic tee that will work well with most of my cardigans and coats and many of my scarves.

2014 Item Limit Update

I know that I bought too much last month and will have to slow down the pace of my purchasing if I’m going to meet my maximum item number for 2014.  As I mentioned in my shopping and wardrobe goals post, the maximum number of new items I may purchase this year is 38 (excluding undergarments, workout clothes, sleepwear, and jewelry).   Since one of my new garments falls into the category of workout clothes (the burgundy jacket), my number of qualifying new items so far is 13, which means I can purchase no more than 25 additional pieces during 2014.

I definitely plan to buy fewer items during March, as I will quickly blow through my entire item allotment for the year if I keep up this pace!  That said, I’m happy with the items I bought during February and don’t regret buying any of them.  Everything I bought fit into a category on my shopping priorities list, but I need to slow down my purchasing of tops and toppers and focus more on pants, skirts, and shoes at this point. 

February Budget Report

My budget for clothing and related purchases for 2014 is $3000.  My February budget was $250 (unlike in 2013, my monthly budget will vary this year).   I spent a total of $274.40 last month, which slightly exceeded my budget.  However, since I came in under budget during January, I am still doing well in terms of my spending for the year.  I’ve spent $418.70 so far, which means that I was $81.30 under my 2014 budget at the close of February.

In Conclusion

It’s all about balance, which is something that I’m learning slowly but surely.  Although I’m having a hard time learning to shop in moderation, I believe I’m making progress and am gradually cultivating a workable wardrobe filled with pieces I love.

As I purge the less-loved pieces from my closet and shop more mindfully and purposefully, I’m beginning to love my wardrobe more and more.  It’s not a quick and easy process, but I’m in it for the long haul.  If I make mistakes, which we all do, I will learn from them and move on.  Doing these monthly updates forces me to evaluate my behavior and recalibrate as needed, which I’m definitely doing.  As long as I continue to learn and grow, I know I’m on the right track!

Recovery Tip

Many shopaholics bring a lot of new pieces into our closets each month, and many of us are quite adept at purging less-loved items from our wardrobes as well.  I’ve found it very helpful to start listing my reasons for bringing new pieces in and letting old pieces go.  This wasn’t something I did at the beginning of my recovering shopaholic project, but it’s been a very valuable addition to my process.

You don’t have to reveal your purchasing and purging rationales to the world like I do, but I recommend that you keep a notebook or spreadsheet to track this information for yourself. It only takes a few minutes to jot down some notes, either each time you buy or purge something or at the end of each month.  Why not try this for a few months to see what you learn?  You may find that you start shopping smarter as a result of gathering this valuable information.

Before You Go… A Few Links to Share

I read a lot of articles (I’m a recovering “information junkie” as well as a recovering shopaholic!) and frequently come across information that may be of interest to my readers.  So from time to time, I’ll share some “useful links” with you at the end of a post.  Here’s the latest installment:

  • How I Slow Myself Down” – Janice from “The Vivienne Files” shares a quick and easy tip to help you shop less and achieve more of your life goals.
  • How to Wear Wide Leg Pants” – Wide leg pants are coming back!  While for some of us, that’s welcome news, if you’ve been wearing skinny styles for years, you may not know how to wear a wider-legged style.  Bridgette Raes offers some tips to help you integrate wide-leg pants into your wardrobe (if you want).
  • “Does Size Matter?”Clothing size obsession is a topic I’ve written about before, but I really love this recent take from Jill Chivers, who explores the matter in greater depth.  Her considerations at the end of the post are worth thinking about…
  • “How to Mix and Match Colours” – Dottie’s wonderful guest posts (part one | part two) have gotten many of us thinking more about color.  This article by Imogen Lamport offers some excellent tips (along with the helpful images she always provides) for how to combine colors like a pro.
  • “Do I Have to Buy Basic Garments?” – Another excellent post from “The Vivienne Files” provides lots of support for the value of buying basic garments, as well as the more exciting pieces that catch our eyes while shopping.   If you’re a visual person, you’ll love the many outfit suggestions shown in this helpful article.

28 thoughts on “February 2014 Accountability Update

  1. I have to admit, these posts are my favorites lol! I love the window into the WHYS and so on! Maybe I should think about listing what I purge and why I let them go in my next budget post. I’m in the middle of what certainly appears to be a binge and will have to see of what I ordered what I keep- I’m determined not to let it be a complete binge but I did order a few things to ‘try’ (as I told myself). Ugh! So weak willed!!

    • I’m glad you like these posts, Meli. I think it would probably be helpful for you to list what you purge and why in your next budget post. Not only would it be beneficial for you, but I think your readers (including me!) would appreciate it as well. Regarding your latest “binge,” there are lots of ups and downs on the road to recovery, as you’ve seen with me. With online shopping, sometimes it’s necessary to buy lots of things to find a few that will work. Don’t beat yourself up! You can course-correct as needed once everything arrives.

  2. I’d love to see a photo of you in the hip-length jacket to satisfy my curiosity that shorter jackets might be very flattering on you. I like reading the “whys” of things that came into your closet and that left.

    • Glad you like reading the “whys,” too, Dottie. As for the jacket, I’m challenging myself to try new styles. I often wear shorter jackets with skirts and dresses but not so much with pants (I’m sensitive about my bottom half…). But this jacket isn’t all that short and I really liked it. Baby steps… I may post a photo at some point, especially if it’s part of a favorite outfit (which I hope it will be!).

  3. I am glad to see that some of the “special” tops that you purchased are knits. I think that you will wear them much more than some other options that you have tried in the past. I bought 4 items this month. 2 print 3/4 sleeve Lucky Brand tops, a turquoise necklace, and a pair of black slim leg pants. I spent $186.46. So that is 8 items total for the year. So far I’m on track for the year!

    • You’re doing great, Tonya! You are definitely on track, unlike me (who needs to slow down if I am going to reach my goal). Sounds like you got some nice things. I agree that I will wear the knit tops more than other options, so I’m glad I found a few that are a step above my standard items. Still learning…

  4. I love these accountability posts! I have also started to keep track of what I bring into my closet each month and how much I’m spending. Do you or have you thought about selling the items that leave your closet on ebay for your readers to view/buy? Good luck on your continued journey!

    • Glad you like these posts, Michelle, and that you’re now tracking what you buy and how much you spend as well! I hadn’t really thought about selling my items on Ebay. It’s a thought, but I don’t want to enable the compulsive shoppers out there to buy more! I know I get tempted to overshop online and I know many others out there do, too. Thanks for the good wishes!

  5. Very insightful post. I’ve started paying closer attention to why items are leaving or entering my wardrobe and it is helpful. Having to stop and think of how a new piece will fit into my working closet gives me that ‘pause’ I need to keep myself from mindlessly shopping. Reading your list, I too have fallen prey to purchasing items because I liked the color, or because the color looks flattering on me, but did not consider if the color would also fit into my current closet.

    • I think it’s really common to buy things because we like one defining feature, such as color, Lisa. You make a good point about whether or not the color will fit into our current closets. I’ve found that sometimes I buy TOO MUCH of a given color, so organizing my closet by color and reviewing it often has helped me to pull in the reins. Keeping track of why I buy things and let things go has been one of the most helpful things I’ve done to aid my recovery!

  6. Debbie, Do you have a Clothese Mentor Consignment shop near your home? Just curious, because they pay you on the spot (albeit not much) for current name brands. My wardrobe is so out of date, although I buy name brands (think Talbots, Lord and Taylor), they usually do not want most of what I bring in. So I kind of have stopped going there, but may be good place for you. The trick is go in, get your money, and LEAVE. They get you by knowing you will stay and shop, spending much more than you are “paid” for your clothing. I have been reading a lot of finance books lately, and honestly, if you just save 50 a month and bank it, and eventually invest it, you will have quite a bit of money in 20 years! So a dollar is not “just a dollar”, it is probably more like a few hundred dollars based on compounding interest over 20 years! Think that and maybe you will be motivated to save a bit!

    • Thanks for the tip about Clothes Mentor, Sherri. Unfortunately, there isn’t one near where I live as of yet, but perhaps others will see your comment and benefit. I take many of my cast-offs to two local consignment stores, one of which pays on the spot and the other which pays after things sell. I’ve gotten better at taking the cash instead of just store credit, but I often look around when I bring things in and sometimes find new things to take home. I like what you said about saving $50 per month and how it will add up. I’m not the best about saving (no big surprise, huh?) but luckily I’m married to someone who is!

  7. I love the links to your favorite posts. And thanks for highlighting The Vivienne Files — I think Janice, the creator, is a visual genius. Not only are her posts inspirational, she also makes me laugh with lines like these (in Do I Have to Buy Basics?):

    >>But one day you wander into Dorothy Perkins, and you fall into a pit of floral and are smitten with many items… A while later, you stagger out with these beauties clutched in your hands. Oy. The cardigan and the skirt might be wearable together, but otherwise, you’re in a pickle…But you remember your beautiful, boring, basics and you begin to assemble outfits that both show your fondness for flowers as well as giving you a foothold in the normal world.


    • I loved that post, too, Bette! Janice can definitely be very witty and I love the images she includes on her blog. It must take her FOREVER to put those together! I’m glad you like the links I’m including. Since I’m such an “information junkie,” I love to share interesting things I read with all of you!

  8. Once again, I can totally relate. Your consignment missteps are my eBay missteps. Usually non returnable. Not doing that anymore! I’m also figuring out the whys.
    One of mine is more delicate things at higher price points. I have this fear of ruining them I guess. But leather boots or jackets (certainly quite spendy) I’m fine with wearing, as I see them as more durable. More delicate things at lower price points are fine, too. If I wreck it, it was only $20. So I’ve got that one figured out.
    I also more and more try to think about occasion when buying. Where am I going to wear this? Not, simply ‘casually’. Specifically – walking in the FL heat to do errands, or playing croquet near the lake in Tahoe then having lunch out with friends. That kind of mental exercise.
    I also find discomfort a reason for purging. Either fit, or fabric, or just stylistically not comfortable in the item, as it’s just not ‘me’. The latter mistake I imagine will continue to crop up. If we don’t take risks, we don’t grow. So I’m okay with a few of those each year.

    As for accountability, I bought 3 things in February – Vince leather/suede mixed media pants, Gap python blue cords, and black shorts from Beall’s. $320 (+ $70 alterations!), $17, and $21 respectively. You could say I have my investment piece of the year already 😉 From here on out it is mid range, mostly replacement items until fall, when the budget goes up again (like you) for a wool coat and booties, among other things.
    I’ve bought 11 items total, including workout gear – sports bra and long sleeve running top. I have 3 items on order for March. I’m ahead of buying rate, but not dangerously. Pretty happy with my shopping so far, even though it’s not as slow as I’d hoped.

    • Thanks for sharing your accountability here, Mo. It sounds like you made some good purchases during February and are doing well for the year so far. I think that stopping to consider where you will wear your prospective purchases is very helpful. I know your lifestyle is similar to mine, but we both like to dress up, too. I like Bridgette Raes’ question, “Where are you going in that?” I think about that when I shop these days and hear her voice inside my head!

      eBay shopping is something I haven’t gotten into, probably because I’m pretty difficult to fit given my height and proportions. I can see that you would have more luck there than I do and how it could become a danger zone! But with both eBay and consignment shopping, it’s kind of a “point of no return,” literally… I’ve even made the mistake of having my consignment buys altered (sometimes at great expense), only to have to donate them later when the consignment store wouldn’t take them back! I think (hope!) I’ve finally learned not to do THAT anymore! I hope you’re wearing those new leather/suede pants and loving them!

  9. Well, 9 new items is not what you wanted, but I do think you are making progress in narrowing down reasons for both purging and buying. You are honing in on a wardrobe that works for you. And if you have an occasional month where you go over, it’s important to be kind to yourself.

    I bought two items in February – a yoga top and a slouchy long sleeve top. They were $114 together, and both were made of eco conscious fabrics. I was feeling quite smug with myself, as I stuck to my 2 item limit in both January and February. And yet tonight I went to Costco, and I just blew through my March allotment, in that I bought 3 items – a 2 pack of camisoles and another yoga top. And it’s only the start of the month! But, in my defense, I have gained weight in the past year, and it’s no use me hanging on to (but not wearing) yoga/sport tops that are just too small and are not getting any use. Yes, I’d like to lose weight again, but I need a wardrobe that works for me now.

    Mind you, I haven’t purged anything lately. I think I need to have a camisole/yoga top clear out.

    • Congrats on sticking to your item limits for January and February, Sarah, and for buying ec0-conscious fabrics! As for your March purchases, I would probably count the 2-pack of camisoles from Costco as one item, but maybe that’s the “weasely” part of me… I think it’s great that you’re replacing your camisoles and yoga wear. We often neglect such key areas of our wardrobes in favor of the more exciting stuff. I up-leveled my workout wear and lingerie last year and I’m SO glad I did!

      • Yes, actually going to yoga twice a week (instead of SAYING I’d like to go to yoga) was one thing I wanted to focus on this year, and having nicer things to wear makes a big difference. It seems silly, but having clothing that makes me feel good helps me look forward to going and helps keep my motivation up. You’re right that neglecting such key areas in favor of buying yet another work top does us no favors!

      • Anything that will help us work out more and meet our health and fitness goals is a good thing. I agree that having nicer things to wear can definitely help. I wish I would have revamped my fitness wardrobe sooner!

  10. I really love this posting!! At first I thought your number was high for someone trying to cut back (like myself) – but when reading your reasons for purchases, and knowing your budget and that you came in at around your estimated…you really did quite well! (or am I justifying you so I can justify myself?!! ha ha) – I have about the same budget as you for the year, but am giving myself room for more per month as long as I stick to the year amount. I know I’m buying a few expensive items…but last month managed to purchase only 2 items which was great for me! I’ve gotten very focused, put the numbers to paper, etc. – and it really does make me stop, think, and tell myself no I have xx number of flats (13?) and don’t need another pr of black ones! Same with jackets, etc. – although still in the BIG purge mode (I did purge 30 shoes/boots)…I really need to think about how something will fit, is it a need, and today, I even went so far as to calculate how many hours I will have to work to pay for those shiny red shoes and new scarf on their way to me! I do have money coming from sales (consignment and a friend sells for me on ebay). I’ve decided to lower my number of items coming in (originally 3/mo or 36/yr) and now say 2/mo or total 24. Having pulled out a bunch of sweaters from my hope chest, I can say it is so much easier to look through what I have, and neatly put back something after wearing…..it feels great! Now to finish paying off the cards…. 😉

    • Sounds like you’re doing well, Sandy. Purging 30 pairs of shoes/boots is quite impressive! It took me an entire year to do that. I think all of the thought and consideration you’re putting into your purchases and purging will definitely pay off. It can take a while, but slowly but surely the progress will come. Now when I look into my closet, I no longer get the sinking feeling I used to get. It’s still too much, but I’m proud of myself for the progress I’ve made. I love that you’re thinking about how many hours you’d have to work to pay for new purchases. That type of analysis can be very helpful!

      • Thank you Debbie! I also did mean to say kudos to you for purging 30 items – that is a lot! Just making more space, and knowing truly how we “used to be” gives us a place to be proud! I am worried though that I will be running out of my budgeted money (more than bringing in more items) – and still am not totally sharing the cost of things with my husband (married in Sept 2013). Plus this is a big birthday month (50!) and I am still that little girl that really wants something special! One of my biggest things is that I’ve always been a purse girl and am determined to not buy any this year (bought 3 last year and sold a few as well)…Sometimes I really enjoy putting this much thought into it all and other times, I find I’m tired of it and need to focus elsewhere…but I always come back to fashion….

      • Congrats on the milestone birthday, Sandy! That one’s not too far off for me (I’m 47), too. As for the purses, how about if you let yourself buy just one this year instead of going fully “cold turkey” on them? I’ve tried cold turkey and have found it very difficult. Setting limits is hard, too, but I’ve been more successful going that route. I know what you mean about enjoying all of the thought and energy on shopping sometimes and being tired of it other times. I think that means that we’re ready for more in our lives and it’s a good sign. My “full life” journey is quite challenging, but I know that if I stick with it, it will be very worthwhile. Same for you, and you know, 50 is the new 40! 🙂

      • Thanks Debbie for your thoughtful post! Overall I’m in a good place – much better than when I was shopping my way out of a sad/bad marriage for sure! That said – on the purse issue – I generally keep about 10 or so and am now at a point where letting one go to bring another in is hard lol! I have bought and sold so many over the years – the good piece is I know exactly what works and what my preferences are! The bad news is I’m around my limit! I think I will give myself a good 6 months, pay off my 2 credit cards, and hopefully by then my husband’s house will have sold and we will be in a different financial position (2 incomes paying for 1 roof instead of 2 lol!!) – And hopefully focusing on purging plus my trip in the fall, will keep my mind off purses…thought it’s been a stressful workplace the past month and I think I did pretty good overall considering my stress relief has previously been spending….

      • Sounds like you have a good plan in place, Sandy. Congrats on not overspending despite the large amount of stress in your life!

  11. I just discovered your website a few days ago. I really enjoyed reading about the reasons behind your purges as that is the area I have the most trouble with – “I paid good money, I can’t afford to toss it” or “I still love it” even though I have had it for years. I am not a big shopper, I have a very limited budget, but I tend to keep things for several years, so have accumulated a number of clothes. I know I need to purge, but it is hard for the reasons I stated above. Your discussion really gave me a lot of food for thought and will help me do some clean out.

    • Welcome! I’m glad this post has given you food for thought and is motivating you to clean out your closet. One thing I’ve done that’s helped is to move items I’m considering letting go to another closet for a month or two (kind of a closet “purgatory”). After some time has gone by and I haven’t missed these items, I’m usually more ready to let them go. Consigning clothes and getting a bit of money back has helped, too. Good luck!

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