At the risk of sounding like a frugal know-it-all, I think I figured out an excellent way to stick to a clothing/shoes/handbag shopping ban.
I’m in the third week of my clothing/shoes/handbag shopping ban and it’s both hard and easy. It’s hard because I am addicted to Pinterest. At the same time, it’s easy because i’ve set some ‘rules’ that make it more like a game. Since many people try to enact shopping bans, I thought I would share my tactic. It works best for clothing/shoes/handbag bans.
Before the ban, I donated/sold/trashed a lot of clothing that did not work for me or were beyond repair.
I did an inventory of my remaining work clothes and list it out on one sheet. I included work clothes only because that’s where I spend the most. I also don’t own a lot of clothing in other categories such as party, exercise, or casual. Note: However, I will not buy items in any clothing category until I finish the ban.
Then I made this one simple rule: I will not buy any new clothes until I wear every item listed at least 5 times.
Why 5? I thought 3 times would be too easy and 5 would present enough of a challenge. I don’t have a lot of clothes but i figured it would still take me months to wear every item 5 times. After I started the ban, I read that the average women only wear their clothes seven times, so those who are more ambitious might want to wear all their clothes at least seven times.
The reason this works for me, and might work well for others, is that it does not feel like an arbitrary ban. You have it in your power to reduce the shopping ban time, depending on how quickly you wear every item you own (for your chosen number of times).
1) You’re never really done de-cluttering. After a few weeks, I realize that one dress could prevent me from ending the ban. It was still in good condition and I had paid good money for it, making me reluctant to part with it. I made one halfhearted attempt to sell it. When it didn’t sell, I realized that I have to donate it. It’s sitting in a donation bag as of this writing.
2) There’s a “gray area” in clothing.. It should be easy to wear everything you own 5x or just get rid of it. However, I own many items that I like enough to keep but don’t get as much wear because they’re not as versatile/comfortable/stylish as my favorites.
3) You can stop wearing favorites for inexplicable reasons. There are many reasons that you don’t wear certain clothes. Some make sense — Tastes change, sizes change. Some make no sense — like developing a sudden dislike for 3/4 sleeve shirts.
4) My eye for style is more fashion-forward than I am. Do you know the saying “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”? This refers to piling more food on your plate than you can actually eat. Well, this saying applies to my fashion sense. I tend to LOVE and buy slightly quirky pieces that I see on my fashion icons and then not be able to style it right. I’ve gotten better now at judging what I will actually wear, but I still own clothes that don’t get as much wear as they should.
5) I Love Sweater Weather. I have (had) too many sweaters for a mild climate. The good news is that this ban forced me to pare down my winter clothing. The bad news is that I doubt I will wear everything 5x until late Fall or Winter 2016.
As of this writing, I foresee my shopping ban ending in late 2016 or early 2015.