So how did you do it?


A year without shopping for clothes! How did you resist? Why did you do it?

Firstly, let me establish that I had have a lot, quite a lot, of clothes. I audited my dresses and skirts. Not too hard to do. But not so my tops and jackets. I made an attempt to do an inventory of my tops but it became too bothersome. So it wasn’t like I was going to be going without or reduced to wearing rags.

It was getting beyond a joke looking for a top in my overstuffed linen press come clothes cupboard. Regularly I would pull everything out onto the floor to find the item I needed.

So why not just sort and donate items?

Well, I like most of my clothes. They suit different seasons, occasions, purposes, different me’s.

And that gets me to the diet. How can you declutter, sort and organise, if things are still coming in, things for which there is no room?

So came the idea for the diet. And like any challenge, I wanted to see if I could do it. (Why climb the mountain of clothes? Because they’re there.)

And once made, the commitment had to be adhered to.

First step: avoid temptation. I stopped hanging out in or visiting shops. I stopped emails and dropped junk mail straight into the bin.

Those steps allowed a whole new life. More time for just hanging out, less cluttered email inbox, less feeding the desire for more.

Not one to undertake a challenge quietly, I also let others know I was not buying clothes for a year. Comments from others either supported me and made me gird my loins to prove them wrong.

The few times I ventured into a shop, I would tell myself:

  • You have been doing so well. Don’t ruin your challenge for that thing. Something similar will be there next year. And how will you feel if you fail?
  • You don’t need that. You already have 1, 2, 3 …. of them. Why do you need another blue, black, patterned, white top, dress … when you hardly wear the one you have? (Which helped me go home and make sure I wore the one I had.)
  • I did some reading on the fashion industry. And that gave me motivation. Knowledge is power and what not.

    For the first half of the year, I decluttered an item a day. At first it made no difference. But suddenly I had space. I didn’t need plastic tubs under my bed. I didn’t need to store clothes in my son’s wardrobe. Clothes could stay folded and I could see what I had. That was a great motivation to continue.

    And then a real motivator. Some people have to stop shopping as their credit cards are maxed out. I never went into debt for clothes. But I have spent a pretty sum. Don’t regret it but there you are. Now with a wardrobe diet I had money for other things. Upped my mortgage repayments and had several interstate holidays.

    When you stop spending, everything seems suddenly overpriced. “$XXX for that, you must be mad.” “Why would I pay $X for that. I already have a similar one at home. I’d rather get rid of my mortgage.” So it becomes easier to not buy. (Just gotta hope I don’t turn into a Scrooge forever!)

    Then the fun of creating new outfits from existing clothes. Or repairing items that for want of button had not been worn for years. And rediscovering items that had been hidden, or forgotten, or never worn. I shopped my wardrobe for quite a while. Clothes I was perhaps bored with, I wore, compliments were paid, and I realised I was being fickle in not liking what I once did. Bored with a piece is no real reason not to wear it.

    And there you are. Before I knew it the year was almost up.


    4 thoughts on “So how did you do it?

    1. I have enjoyed reading your blog esp about your clothes diet. I did six months a couple of years ago and will do again for 2014. I am going on an eleven day cruise and bought a few! pieces to go, then got other clothes from my wardrobe and realised that i could go for 20 even 30 days without wearing the same thing! I no longer work so dont need extra clothes so my clothes diet starts when I get back, well, now really. thanks for the motivation. Vicki

    2. At least it’s just boredom that bites you, I often have ‘it doesn’t look good on me’itis. In those cases, it’s often easy to unclutter them from my life. Things do tend to seem super expensive here in Australia, it’s annoying, but alas we don’t really have many options.

      • Oh, Sarah, I have had to get rid of things that don’t look good on me. As we age, our body changes shape, and what looks good on a young whippersnapper like yourself doesn’t suit a more mature one.

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