The Closet Project – No New Clothes for a Year!

Shopping, especially for clothes, has always been a past time of mine. Whether I’m feeling blue or am excited for a special occasion or it’s on sale, I typically have an excuse to buy something new. Hell, my first credit card debt experience started with my Express card! However, after cleaning my room this past week, I found myself realizing how much time I waste shopping, hanging up clothes, and debating what to wear. I eventually connected the dots and realized I’ve spent a good portion of my income on clothes that sometimes don’t even get worn – usually because I just have too many to choose from.

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Yes, my closet is the size of an apartment in NYC. Yes, that dresser on the right is full of clothes too. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve found myself saying I have nothing to wear way too often!

Thanks to the handy “trends” option on Mint.com, I was able to check my past year of spending on shopping for clothes specifically and it came to $1800!!

As someone who is trying desperately to be responsible with my money, this trend HAS to change. Considering my closet is full and there’s absolutely nothing I need, I am challenging myself to go a whole year without buying clothes. 

Here are the ground rules:

  • I can buy bridesmaid dresses and wedding accessories when needed
  • If costume items are needed for special events, those are allowed at a minimum
  • I can use gift cards if they are gifted to me but I cannot use cash gifts for clothes
  • I can accept clothes as gifts – but not in exchange for favors etc.
  • This challenge also applies to shoes, bras & underwear, but not accessories.
  • The two exceptions to shoes is a new pair of Uggs in the fall since it’s been years since I’ve replaced them and if I sign up for a 1/2 marathon, I can get new running shoes IF I need them.

This challenge started on June 1st and so far it’s been fairly easy, as one would hope. One thing I’m excited about is that I used a gift card from Christmas to buy myself a sewing machine so I can tailor and hem items and get the most use out of the clothes I already have.

imageI’m taking this challenge one step further by keeping track of the clothes I actually wear. No, I will not be posting daily pics of my outfit but I have placed an elastic band on each of my hangers that correspond with a clothing item.

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When I wear that item, the elastic will go away. Any clothes on hangers with elastic bands still on by June 1, 2014 will be sold or donated. There is no need for my closet to be as full as it is so it’s time to purge!

What do I plan to do with this savings? Honestly, it won’t be that exciting since this money wasn’t meant to be spent on clothes anyway. Typically I use my spending money to buy clothes, but it usually goes over my given limit. If I’m given $100 allowance/paycheck, that’s $1,200/year. That means I’m $600 short on what I actually spent, not to mention all the other allowance money I used for entertainment, travel, gifts, etc.

When this happens, I have to cut back on saving or debt payments to make ends meet. By cutting my clothing costs, I *should* be able to stay within my spending limits. That way my savings and debt payments won’t have to suffer and I won’t have to type those awful posts about “dipping into savings funds” while I hang up my new clothes and hang my head in shame.

My priorities to save and pay off debt are serious and I want my behavior to reflect that. I’m hoping to learn how to break the habit of shopping unnecessarily. I want to this to be a lesson on being content with what I have, which hopefully will carry over into other areas of my life.

When I told my best friend about this challenge, her immediate response was, “I love you but there’s no way in hell that’s happening.” Here’s to proving her wrong and being smarter!

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4 Responses to The Closet Project – No New Clothes for a Year!

  1. Ali says:

    Good luck! I just moved and realized that I have SO much clothes that I never wear or forgot that I have. Time to donate/sell.

  2. Hana says:

    Oh the closet pictures aren’t working 😦
    Anyway, it might be fun to do a closet inventory – see what you have, how many and so on. I love seeing posts like that!

  3. BeingZhenya says:

    Way to go! And if you ever need help sewing something, feel free to ask! I love sewing! I try and buy as little as possible, mostly at thrift stores, it’s kind of hard being a fashion/personal style blogger without the clothes!
    Xo,
    Z
    http://beingzhenya.com
    fellow MN blogger!

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