Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Purging & Shopping

In my post about how I live in 242 square feet, I mentioned my policy of getting rid of clothes I haven't worn in at least a year-- well, I kind of lied.
I went through my closet last weekend and found a whole duffel bag worth of stuff that I will give to the Salvation Army, but I also found a lot of things that I never wear that I still couldn't bear to get rid of! I did ditch 2 items that I have had forever, a shirt that I remember buying in 1986 but hadn't worn since college, and a t-shirt that I must have bought in around 1990 or 1991 that I was still wearing to sleep in sometimes, but was really starting to get too many holes in it! And it's not like I don't have plenty of other tshirts.
But I also found a sweater from 1986 that I will still keep-- a nice woolly one that would be good to wear in the winter. And then there were all these other things that I never wear but I kept thinking I might wear someday: assorted sweaters, pants, t-shirts... and a couple of nice suits that don't really fit me any more but I can't help thinking "if I could just lose one inch in my waistline..."
Then of course I walked past some stores the other night and saw some things in the windows that I thought would be nice additions to my spring wardrobe... I have only spent $263 on clothes so far this year, which includes the 2 parkas that I still haven't returned. (And I repaired the tear in my current parka, so I think I can get one more year out of it.) I gave myself a budget of $2,500 for the year. I'd kind of like to not spend that whole budget, but I still may have some room for a little spree.
If I do go shopping, the new stuff in my closet will probably make me more inclined to get rid of the old stuff-- because I will start to run out of space, but also because I won't have this paranoid sense that if I have too few clothes, I'll wake up one morning and have nothing to wear.
It's not just the number of items, it's the wearability of each item. I think there must be some kind of mathematical formula you could come up with... perhaps the ratio of number of never-worn items to number of frequently worn items, to the power of N where N=number of accessories, divided by linear feet of closet pole, divided by your age, minus P where P= the number of pairs of shoes you have, minus your clothing budget, equals... what? How often you go shopping?
By a rough calculation, that means I would go shopping 255 times. Well, in my lifetime, maybe. If it doesn't count online and catalog shopping. Maybe I need to go back to the chalkboard.


IRA said...

That last paragraph is making my head swim ;-) There are certain items in my closet that I know I won't wear very often (e.g., cocktail or special occasion dresses and busines suits). But they're there in case I need them. I tend to buy the classics, so it's quite possible that I won't wear a dress for an entire year, only to wear it at a wedding the following year (when people have hopefully forgotten that I've already worn it before). But that's the exception rather than the rule.

Cityslicker Mom said...

I shope probably once a month, at least. I think I could go longer without if I didn't have kids, but then again, before I had kids, i went shopping weekly.

Seattle Simplicity said...

Don't beat yourself up over hanging on to a few old items of clothing that you just can't get rid of. Trouble starts when you hoard tons and tons of stuff and it over takes your home ala some of the families highlighted on Mission Organization on HGTV.

Since you don't have a tv, you might not know that show. They take a family who is overrun by their stuff and force them to ditch it all. It's awesome.

Single Ma said...
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Single Ma said...

Hey Madame X, I like your formula. I liked it so much that I used it myself. My answer was 365. So does that mean I get to shop everyday of the year? LOL

I window shop weekly, but I really shop about once every other month. I don't have a ton of clothes bulging out of my closets but I do try to buy timeless pieces that I can mix and match. Now if you ask me about my shoes, well...umm...

SockknittingMama said...

Of course you could consider an alternative as follows :
when you by a new item, you need to get rid of one at home thus having a capsule wardrobe that should stop you buying more ( for fear of having to get rid of that lovely sweater), or you just do not go to the shops thereby saving heartache as well as money.