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Wardrobe diet

After all the unnecessary, but very happy to have and still admired, clothes I bought in January, I said I would go on a wardrobe diet until winter; a mini-challenge I forgot about and really should have included on the post about mini-challenges. (As an aside, I really love long sentences, and semicolons; it’s how I talk, with lots of asides and internal footnotes.)

So, with February over, how have I gone thus far?

Well, it was not an absolute zero purchase month. I bought one item: a jacket.

When I say I bought it, I am not being totally accurate. A friend sent me a text; she’d found me a beautiful jacket, one that was just me, and on special! “Should I get it and bring it to you tomorrow?” (We were travelling to a meeting the next day.)

As chance would have it, the jacket was the style I had recently admired on a newsreader. Split sleeves, so it is part jacket, part cape.

Wanted, heavily reduced, my size. Yes, yes, yes. Get it.

“What about this skirt?”

No, I don’t really want it. And I am not meant to be buying any clothes.

“But it’s you. And reduced. I’ll bring it too. We can return it.”

No, be strong, Lucinda. No, don’t bring it. Anyway, I’m doing a wear dresses to work challenge. When would I wear it?

So one item at $120. Worn twice. Earned lots of admiring glances and comments. [OK, I did twirl around and if the response wasn’t immediate or enough, I fished deeper for compliments.]

Wear it out

Remember how I went on The Great Wardrobe Diet in 2013?

No? Well, I’m not replicating it but am adding another challenge to my current list. I have Use It Up for cosmetics and Out With Boxes for boxes. And since the beginning of June I have been attempting to Wear It Out for clothes and shoes.

Part of Wear It Out has been to stop clothes coming in and wear items until they are dead.

What consitutes dead? Holes, pilling, worn thin, raggedly looking, saggy/baggy, unreapairable heals, unrepairable scuff marks, tears, non-elastic elastic.

See, I have too many clothes.

How many is too many? The amount of clothes I have.

No number. I started an inventory of dresses and skirts but lost count with my tops.

But when clothes cease fitting in their allotted space, you have too many.

I do like new clothes. And buy some regulalrly. But have trouble releasing my old clothes. Mainly because I love what I have.

So my goal is to wear more of my old clothes that are on the just wearable stage and then release them. I will try to stop buying.

Since the beginning of June I have said goodbye to a soft woollen cardie. A lovely shade of pink. It had holes. I wore it a couple of times this winter under a suit jacket, averaging once every second week this term. But the holes were now too noticeable. If I took the suit jacket off, it wouldn’t be a good look. So in June it had its last outing as an item of clothing. I cut it up and turned it into polishing cloths. 

Same thing happened to an Alannah Hill skirt. Mr S was shocked when he saw me taking to it with the shears. It was a rich purple and a thick knitted material which would have had many years left. But the lace overlay on the bottom flip part of the skirt was manky and holey and hanging. Last year I gave the skirt an extended life by cutting the overlay off the front but the trim on the back was now just too sad. I also wore out a pair of woollen socks that I have had for years. They have been sent to the shoe polishing box.

I also farewelled a pair of shoes. From the outside they looked OK but inside the leather was flaking away and every time I wore them, my feet would turn a nasty shade of dirty back-brown which was hard to clear from my feet. The dye soaked in!

Since the beginning of June only four new items have entered my wardrobe. Two ski pants (don’t make me feel guilty, yes they were cheap and they were probdbly produced with externalities), a dress at a wonderfully reduced price and a pair of thermal pants. At least some are leaving. Here’s the new dress:

Have you worn out clothes? Or do you change with changes in fashion? When you’re board with an item? If so, do you donate them before they die?

Decluttering while still good

I’d rather have a wardrobe of just a few outfits—outfits I enjoy wearing, clothes I feel confident in, a wardrobe that brings me joy—than a mediocre collection of once-loved threads or things I don’t love but are still OK.

Dar from an exacting life posted a comment a little while ago on one of my posts that is the flip side of letting clothes go before they become a sad and sorry collection.

Dar wrote, “I got over my tendency to hoard clothes when I had a baby and the nurses told me that some of the women in the hospital having babies did not even have an outfit to bring their baby home in. Since then I have tried to donate clothing sooner rather than later, when it is still clean, not musty or yellowed, and somewhat in fashion!”

So I am letting this go:

Off to the charity shop. I hope it makes someone happy. It is nice and of good quality. I am letting it go because it doesn’t bring me joy, it has never really suited me. I want it to go before it is musty and sad and unloveable.

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Stuff is entering my house!

The last couple of weeks has seen more things enter my house than have left it. Definitely not frugal and definitely not environmentally sound.

Oh, OK. I have bought things. But the inactive voice abrogates my responsibility.

I promise I am not going wild.

Let’s start with Christmas. After all, I cannot be held responsible for the gifts I am given, can I?

Christmas gifts 2013

Christmas gifts 2013

So what do we have here? A set of Natio products (Australian made, not tested on animals and free of animal products), 2 pairs of Lorna Jane walking pants, 2 Jamie Oliver DVDs, Miss Fisher (readers will know I love that show) version of Cluedo (quite fun and part of my year’s goal to beat my family. My eldest always wins at Cluedo. He is too clever by half, drat him!) and Balenciaga Florabotanica perfume (my new summer favourite). What a haul! From my sons and husband.

But wait, there’s more!

Bath rest

Bath rest

My darling husband knows I have covetted one of these since I saw it in a catalogue. My one weakness is luxuriating in bubble baths with a book or ipad or both. And sometimes a glass of bubbles. This will hold all.

Not so lovely but acknowledging my age is this from my husband:

Glasses

Drat! I need glasses for reading. But only when the font is very small or it is dark or I am tired. Still, I have always wanted a pair of glasses to look over the top of when wanting to discombobulate people. “I will give you a moment to rephrase that question?” These glasses will add to that look. Pity the first person that asks me a difficult question at work!

Any more?

Of course.

Tea for one!
Tea for one!

This lovely pot came from a sweet colleague. It’s my new favourite for my weekend breakfast.

And now the confessions come. On Christmas Day I had a few to drink. And my sister-in-law had a vintage hand bag. Well, I don’t know if it is classed as vintage but definitely over 30 or 40 years old. A Glomesh bag. When they were made in Australia. Bought on eBay. I loved it so went on line and stupidly bid on one. Then saw another I liked more so bid on that too. And “won” both. (Lesson learnt. Do not buy when you are under the influcence. All restraint goes out the window.)

Glomesh bags

Glomesh bags

I still love the white one with the imitation Bakelite clasp. And the other one? Meh!

I went shopping two days in a row at two different shopping centres. And bought these:

So ends the Great Wardrobe Diet!

So ends the Great Wardrobe Diet!

A black singlet top, three tops for work, a casual skirt and a casual dress. Yes, I don’t need another dress, but it is lovely and so unlike anything I have. How did I go on the buying in Australia or other countries with sound laws. Sorry, not too good. I forgot about this in the excitement of shopping again, until looking at one designer and seeing all the clothes were made in Australia. Oh yes, I thought, I was planning on looking for this in my clothes. So anyway, bought two tops on special – the pink and orange ones from this range. Perri Cutton. Rest of the clothes were made in China.

And three pairs of shoes – casual, party and work. I wasn’t going to buy work shoes but when I see a pair with a reasonable heel in a style I like, I just have to get it. All made in China!

Work shoes

Work shoes

Party shoes

Party shoes

Casual comfy shoes

Casual comfy shoes

And for my goal of sandal-worthy feet, one of these:

New toy

New toy

And as I got the DVDs, I just had to buy the book, another for my collection of 5 other Jamie Oliver cookbooks.15 min mealOf course then you end up with all the packaging:

Packaging

Packaging

And jsut before Christmas, Mr Sans bought a new fan as one of our very old ones died. Kind of a necessity when you live with a hot summer.

New fan

New fan

I need to stay away from the shops for a while! Think I will watch a Poirot or read a book by the pool.

(BTW, this post has taken me forever to compose. I bought a card for my camera. One of my goals last year was to buy a card, use the camera and learn how to resize photos. I have a long way to go on the last bit. Writing and inserting photos from the iPad, even with the bodgy quality of photos, is much easier. The photos better be worth the effort. If only I knew how to decrease the size! Next time maybe. Please let me know if the photos are OK or too small!)

Boxing Day Sales

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Dilemma!

I am still on my year of no clothes buying. Officially there are four days left.

The Boxing Day sales are on; great bargains to be had. There are a few items I want to buy – casual shirts, work shirts, pair of dress shoes and a pair of joggers.

So my dilemma! Do it wait four more days or do I go to the sales? Do I tell myself that the money I will potentially save is more important? And that 361 days is good enough and the saved money more important that the four days?

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Ending the Great Wardrobe Diet

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“So what are you going to buy?”

Not much, as it goes.

OK, there nothing I truly need-need. But I need some tops. Problem is I can’t find ones I want. Something bright, that suits my size, that has short sleeves. And casual tops for in between weather.

Fabric is important. I am fussy with feel. I’d prefer something made ethically. Preferably in Australia or another country with labour and environmental protection laws.

And I’d like a couple of dresses. From the bombshell site. Exey so I will wait until another sale.

Mmmm, shoes? No. Well maybe some silver sandals and silver mid-heel shoes.

A kaftan for around the pool.

That’s about it. So no, can’t see myself running out for the sales. I’ll probably have a look but won’t buy for buying (or bargain) sake.

A year without buying has made me more discerning. Do I want clutter? Do I want an overstuffed wardrobe again? Do I need another dress when I have some waiting at home? Dresses that I need to wear a bit more before they no longer suit my age.

Nah. Walk on by.

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Decluttering clothes for everyday luxury

The result of my decluttering and wardrobe diet?

I have a bit of luxury everyday. My skirts and jackets hang freely in the wardrobe which gives a touch of opulence, like the difference between a crammed K-Mart and an up-market boutique. (Unfortunately my dresses are still squashed in.)

My cupboard looks neat and organised. I can see my clothes so no longer have to rummage, or heavens above, pull everything out and toss onto the floor and then put each item back until I found the one wanted piece and then pickup armfuls and cram into the shelf.

It is a joy and easy to select what to wear. My clothes stay wrinkle free in the wardrobe.

I don’t have tubs under the bed, nor clothes hanging everywhere. My bedroom looks so much more spacious and clean.

And I don’t have clothes folded (or shoved) on the wardrobe floor. I am not embarrassed to leave my wardrobe doors open. I would definitely pass muster!

What’s more luxurious than a beautiful, peaceful bedroom?

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OK, spacious for me! You shoulda seen it before.

And look at all this clear floor space?

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101 ways to declutter clothes.

Over the year of buying no clothes I have also been haphazardly decluttering my clothes.

Clothes that no longer fit, clothes that are beyond repair (or not worth repairing), clothes that are stained, clothes that are worn and saggy, clothes that no longer suit me, clothes that were once fashionable but are clearly dated. All have exited my house.

Some have wended their way to charity shops, some to friends, some to my ragbag, some to the bin.

My approach has been haphazard, occasionally taking out one or two items, going back to the same shelves repeatedly and reviewing clothes that I had previously thought could remain.

I have read so many different approaches to decluttering. (Ironically I have a host of books on decluttering cluttering my bookshelves.) So here’s a few:

  • The Turn the Coat Hanger method. Turn all the coat hangers around and when you wear the item, turn the coat hanger around. After a season you will see what you don’t wear. Toss those.
  • The toss everything not worn for a year method.
  • The Take Everything Out and Ask 3 Questions method. Do I love it? Do I wear it? Will I wear it? No, then toss.
  • Or try these 4 questions: 1) When Is The Last Time I Wore This? If it’s more than a year ago maybe it’s time to say goodbye. 2) What Has More Value, the Object or the Space? If the answer is the latter you know what to do. 3) Is it your Style? 4) Is It a Treasure?
  • Then there’s the Use One Criteria method: Does it fit me right now? If the answer is “no,” toss.
  • What about The 80/20 Rule: “They” say we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. So ditch most of your clothes. Replace the items you wear as they wear out.
  • Finally there’s the Capsule Approach. You choose a small number of garments and then wear just them for a specified period of time. When the time is up, you toss all the clothes you didn’t wear and didn’t miss.
  • Following any of these approaches just doesn’t work for me. But I do ask the three questions: love, wear, will wear?

    I don’t want to toss things I haven’t worn for a year, or a season. I like keeping things that I might not wear for a while. I can shop my wardrobe, recreate outfits using old pieces, or leave something for a while if I am bored with it and find, years later, that I like it again. Nor do I like only having a few items or styles to wear. Love variety and choice.

    As for taking everything out or asking one question, no, not for me. I found I would keep an item, but later decide it could go. Even later I would go back to the same shelf and decide that something that had passed two or more purgings should go. Taking one thing a day fitted in with my busy life.

    The other thing with taking your time and doing one thing a day, it allows stuff to lose its hold on you. By revisiting a shelf, again and again, I found my attitude changed. I was more likely to let something go that I thought just had to stay before. Even tossing stained and ripped clothes can be difficult. (Might come in useful for gardening or painting – if I ever had time to get around to these things! Lol) But it becomes easier to do when you are only parting with one or two pieces, and you can see how many others remain.

    Now while one thing a day is slow, and at first there appears to be no difference to the space, within a few months you suddenly notice space appear. And there is no pressure or stress. No messy, half-started, unfinished piles awaiting sorting. No need to decide on everything at once.

    But remember: it’s hard to declutter if you keep bringing stuff in.

    What works for you?

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    So how did you do it?

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    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.

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    A year without clothes shopping

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    “Ooo, you’ll be able to buy clothes soon. Got a list?”

    I’ve heard this quite a bit for the last month or so.

    Before I set about even thinking of buying, it’s time to do a little reflection.

    I have almost finished my year without buying clothes.

    And what have I learnt?

  • That I had a skewed idea of enough.
  • That cheap fashion has a high cost on the environment and on others.
  • That I don’t need new clothes to look good.
  • That I prefer to spend my money on reducing my mortgage and on travel. But I frittered lots of money on buying lots and lots of clothes.
  • That one new piece (a jacket, a pair of shoes) can lift an outfit.
  • That a wardrobe with space looks luxurious and makes it easier to take out and put back clothes and to get dressed. And keeps clothes from getting crushed.
  • That I had clothes I forgot I even owned (and that shows I owned too much.) And shopping my wardrobe is fun.
  • That I do actually wear most of my clothes regularly and the 20/80 rule doesn’t apply to me.
  • That I do enjoy beautiful clothes, and having a variety of outfits to wear. I also enjoy being noticed and having compliments paid to my outfits.
  • And finally, that when I made up my mind to not buy clothes, it became easier and easier to stick to that commitment.
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