Saturday, July 18, 2015

Clutter and clothing

I have been steadily attempting to simplify my life, pare down, and feel in control of all my possessions.  I've mentioned this before, but it's basically my nightmare to have so much stuff that I feel like I need a big house for all of it, or a luxe kitchen for my fancy gadgets.  Basically, that my stuff is going to obligate me to spend more money and life energy to store and maintain it.  (If you have really nice stuff, it doesn't feel right to stick it in a crappy apartment.)  I've learned about myself that clutter actually makes me feel worse, and bare surfaces and minimal decor make me feel at peace.  I eventually may want some solid, non-Ikea furniture, but I intend to live unencumbered by expensive things (in the context of already having so, so much luxury).  I want to admire the elegant decor at a friend's place, then come home to my minimal apartment and think about how much larger my investments are for having not bought stuff that doesn't make me happy.

 Clothing is probably my biggest spending weakness - I like shopping for it.  Reminding myself that I like clothes because I like to look good, ergo making sure the body underneath the clothes looks fit and great is way more important.  You can't really dress yourself to look fit if you ain't.  That helps (and I'm starting to develop some abs).  But here's what's embarrassing to admit - in the 7 months this year, I've spent almost $700 on clothes.  I could clarify that I don't intend to buy any more clothing this year, and that I don't actually shop frequently.  About 30% of that ($200) is one dress I bought (sooooo shiny, don't judge!).  I don't think of myself as someone who buys clothes a lot, but ... those numbers don't lie.  I clearly underestimate (in my favor) how much I shop.

In conjunction with my ... not exactly minimal spending, I have been frequently culling my clothes, strongly considering donating anything I haven't worn in several months.  Even the stuff that's perfectly nice but I don't wear because it doesn't feel comfortable, or the stuff I spent good money on that I don't wear because it's unflattering.  Or things that I don't wear, and I'm not sure why.  I actually took a stroll down memory lane and found my previous post on shopping and clothes from a bit over 2 years ago.  I'd say that from my days of owning 6 (yes, fucking 6) black dresses, I've come a long way.  Though the fact that I now own 0 black dresses says something about how fast we discard clothes that, to me, is sad.

I don't know if anyone else is like me and enjoys getting such a deep look into something very personal but so mundane about someone else - but I own 114 pieces of clothing/shoes/wearables.  This list is super honest - I even went through my laundry to count how many pairs of socks and underwear I'd already worn, so I could get the most accurate count.  (I did it just for you, you can thank me later.)  Every single piece of clothing, down to my water shoes, and the newest (and tres important, if you'll remember these newly developing abs of mine) member of my closet - a *drumrolll* crop top!  Is it weird that I was too lazy to meet my friend at a bar and spent Saturday night cataloging all my clothes?  Pretty sure it's really weird and I didn't have to ask.  Also pretty sure the dear readers of this blog are not exactly surprised by this revelation (but maybe wondering why they're friends with me?).  Oh, and my subcategories have subcategories: if you want to know the ratio of warm socks to regular socks to liners, hit me up.

Have you ever pondered how much you spend on clothing?  Or how much clothing you own?  Is it the right amount for you, or have you considered changing your habits?  While I am clearly unqualified to give advice on how not to shop (see the $100/month spent on clothing), for me I find that not going into clothing stores is the best way to not buy clothes.  It may be obvious, but for me it's easier to avoid going in the store entirely, than to manage to leave without a cute new item once I've entered.  Reading Gretchen Ruben's 'Better Than Before', which is all about habits, has made me realize I'm the kind of person for whom making a rule and following it absolutely can be easier than evaluating each specific instance.  Or, it's easier to avoid bringing junk food in the house, than it is to buy it and attempt self-control.  Taking what I've learned from her nifty book, I'll both set a clear goal and make it public (thereby creating a situation where you should shame me if I stray): no buying any clothes for the rest of this year.  I can say that, because with the addition of a crop-top, my closet is now complete. ;)


  1. Sadly I've got you beat with $730 this year on clothing (hiking boots, Gore-Tex jacket, down jacket, gloves, gloves, shoes, short sleeve button down of which I have too many). This is way above normal for me though.
    Your list is impressive. I am sure I have a lot more and it is largely because I am more averse to just getting rid of stuff. I did donate a bunch last year and it helped. But, for example, I have 5 hoodies in my closet that I never wear anymore. I'll have to take inventory before packing up.

    As for the bar outing - over $2K so far this year on dining & and alcohol, so you are saving more than you think by making this list!

    1. Yeah, hiking/outdoors clothing does not come cheap! The more I get rid of stuff (that I don't use/need/want that much), the more I get a thrill out of doing that. So you might enjoy it more than you think.