Following Tuesday's post about Jen Hatmaker's book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, I said I was going to write a series of posts examining areas in which changes need to be made to realign my habits and choices with my purpose and beliefs. This week I'm taking a critical look at the contents of my closet. I love clothes. I like to look and feel good in what I'm wearing. And unfortunately that has driven me to buy more and more pieces when I get bored with what I already have, a frequent problem when buying things only because they're on sale.
I've always been a frugal spender, shopping clearance racks and thrift stores, looking for good deals on clothing and accessories. But in the past I've let that fact justify excessive shopping habits. I would think, 'Oh, what's the big deal? This only costs $5; I can afford that.' But I failed to account for how quickly those purchases added up, and how quickly the pieces became overlooked. Because I found such affordable items, I bought more of them than I needed, which left me with an abundance of pieces that I only sort of liked. My closet and dresser were quickly filling up, and yet I still felt like I didn't have much that I really liked to wear.
Looking into a closet full of things I felt indifferent about made my stomach churn. Why did I spend so much money on things I wasn't going to get enough use out of? Why did I convince myself that it was worth it to buy something just because it was on sale? I wasn't going on $500 shopping sprees every weekend, but when I was still trying to pay off debt, spending even $40 on unneeded or unused items seems wasteful.
My chopping shopping challenge has prevented me from buying new things since March, but I know that I still have a challenge ahead of me: clearing out the unnecessary items that are already in my possession. It's great to not add any more unneeded things, but the process really needs to begin with what I already have.
So begins my challenge to clean out my unwanted and unused items. This will likely be quite the undertaking as I have to think honestly about pieces I've been holding onto for a while, but it's a good task to tackle as I prepare to pack up for our upcoming move. I expect the rest of this project will entail the following:
- Making sure all of the items are in good condition (no stains, holes, etc.).
- Trying most of my clothes on, with the exception of thepieces I have worn recently, to ensure everything still fits properly.
- Getting rid of clothes that no longer fit anymore (and can't reasonably be tailored to fit, or aren't liked enough to make the effort worth it).
- Identifying the pieces I haven't worn in the last six months.
- Asking why I haven't worn unused pieces, as the reasoning is important. Some things are for special occasions that I haven't encountered, some other pieces may need a little work done to repair them, while others get passed over repeatedly because I just don't like them all that much.
- Inviting my friends over for a girls' night in, including an invitation for them to bring their unwanted clothes, accessories, and books over to trade. I came across this idea recently as a solution to shopping out of boredom with what we already have-- borrowing or trading ensures fewer purchases and better use of everyone's items.
- Bringing leftover items from our swap to a nonprofit that provides for the needs of people in our community.
- Researching nonprofit companies that sell clothing and accessories that are responsibly made and sold so my future purchases can support a good cause instead of just funding large corporations.
- Making sure that I only buy things I really like and will get a good use out of, instead of falling prey to advertising and sales.
- Revisiting my closet regularly to keep checking whether I'm living up to my goals, as maintaining my clothing situation is a continuous process.