This time of year is so tempting for me to want to buy-all-the-things! The “sale on sale,” new merchandise, a feeling of general wanting. It’s all part of my problem of shopping. For the most part, I have resisted, but that’s only because I let myself shop one “sale on sale” and make other purchases in the name of travel. It’s not a great system, so I’ve decided to re-evaluate the clothes I already have.
What does this mean exactly? I looked through the items I already owned before I started browsing for similar on the internet. It’s not a Konmari situation. These items previously sparked joy for me and I had to tell my brain that I can still wear them and there’s not anything inherently “joyless” about wearing them. I had just lost them (so to speak) within my closet. Or in the case of my jewelry, I boxed items up in the name of organization, but this created a problem where I wasn’t seeing everything I owned.
Strategy for shopping my closet:
1. Bring everything out in the open.
Unbox the jewelry, un-hide things that have been hidden in the back of the closet, make an effort to SEE what you have. This whole process is about bringing back old favorites in new ways.
2. Create new combinations of everyday wear.
My default work uniform is a midi-skirt, a top, with tights and boots. I don’t deviate too much from this because it’s easier to make a decision in the morning about what to wear, but if I’m shopping my closet I can modify this a bit to make getting ready a bit more exciting. Maybe it’s just wearing a dress under a sweater, but other times it could be about coordinating outfits based on what I don’t usually wear. It’s a creative challenge.
3. Dry clean some older items.
This is totally a “me” problem, but I had just let clothes fall into the ether of my closet because I didn’t make the time to clean them. I had worn them too many times “unclean” to the point where it was now noticeable. Dry cleaning solved a very easy problem of not-having-anything-to-wear by cleaning my clothes (wow so obvious lol). This is clearly not the most frugal option when it comes to shopping your closet, but it was worth it for me to take items to the dry cleaner to get more use out of them. If this is not in your budget, it might be easier to hand wash certain items with an online tutorial.
4. Make an effort to maximize the price to wear ratio.
So, since I am budget conscious, when I’m buying items I need to think about how often I’m going to wear that item. Can I really afford this $50 dress if I only wear it once. What a waste! But if I wear it at least ten times, that’s $5 per wear and that price is totally doable. Instead of buying new things, I needed to re-evaluate what I’ve worn and still can get use out of in a way that is not wasteful to my budget.
5. See how far you’ve come in your spending.
In my case, I bought a lot of the clothes in my closet when I was still using my credit card to pay for a lot of things. Now, I’m on my way to paying off the card and it would be a shame if I didn’t get the full use of the purchase. I needed to think about my closet in terms of where I started (un-checked spending) to where I am now (more budget conscious) in order to keep my current impulse shopping purchases at bay.
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Shopping my closet isn’t meant to be a method of running my clothes ragged, but rather a way to remind myself that I don’t necessarily need to buy online if I already have similar items in my closet that are still perfectly good and useful. I don’t need to buy a black dress if I already own at least two, but the dresses just need to be dry cleaned. I don’t need to get a dainty piece of jewelry when I have older pieces that have been hidden or are only supposed to be worn on special occasions. Who makes these rules? It’s your wardrobe!