I have been wanting to do a post about organization for a while but I realized I have to start somewhere else… why do some of us have so much stuff? So this will be a series of posts, about shopping (too much), decluttering and finally, organization.
First: A confession. Am I a shopaholic?
I have always adorned clothes. All the way back when I was a kid, I just loved getting new stuff. Then, when I started blogging back in 2010, I wanted to blog about this passion, about fashion, clothes, jewelry – all the nice things! And the more time I spent online, looking through blogs, browsing online stores, checking looks on Lookbook, the more I became obsessed with owning all the “It-Pieces”. I started to buying more and more things, getting a rush of excitement whenever I found something amazing in the sale. But it didn’t just end there, I bought stuff that didn’t really suit me or wasn’t my style, just because I saw it online and I HAD TO HAVE IT. This habit eventually spiraled out of control.
I ended up ordering stuff online at least once a week, going to stores almost daily. I never spent ridiculous amounts on one thing but went crazy in sales. It got to a point where I wouldn’t even unpack the bags and things would still have the tags on them months later, never worn once.
Admittedly, it was a time where I wasn’t very happy, the shopping and the feeling of “new things” made me happy. Looking back now, I see why and how, and also how strange this shopping habit became, but back then, most of the time I thought “I will blog about this, make a post about this”. The truth is, not half of those things made it on the blog. On one hand I didn’t have the time and on the other I bought so frequently that I wouldn’t even catch up on it.
Looking back, I think I was addicted to shopping. Not to a crazy degree and I never spend more than I had, didn’t buy anything on credit and always had enough money left to pay the bills but I definitely bought more than I needed or even wanted. Mindlessly.
I do think that the whole blogging thing had a big influence on it. And I could bet I am not the only Blogger who felt this way and has bought things “just for the blog”. And all those “HAUL” videos? Probably not very helpful either. The best example is my shoe collection. I love high heels, I love how they look and transform your posture. However, I seldom wear them. I am 1.81m btw (That’s almost 6 feet for you Americans). Even though I can walk in
most of my heels, I just don’t like to be taller than 1.90, taller than EVERYONE else. I know some of you will say “Why do you care?” but trust me, it’s a lot different if it’s you. Nevertheless, I couldn’t walk past a pair of beautiful heels, don’t mind the 12cm heel. They are beautiful, I am sure I will wear them! Or make beautiful outfits with it and blog about it. I never did.
Read more about other bloggers opinion about the issue HERE.
So how did I change?
The first step for me was coming out of the bad. An unhappy relationship ended, I changed jobs and engaged more in my social life. Going out with friends and being happy gave me less time and reason to go shopping. I wore things that are appropriate and functional for work and gave blogging a rest. Finally, when I moved away from London and had to pack and move all my stuff I was confronted with the truth. Too much stuff. Things I never wore and had forgotten about. Seeing the boxes over boxes of stuff, I knew I had a problem but also that it was in my past. Source: National Geographic
Of course this won’t work for everyone the same way. But here are 7 tips to overcome a shopping addiction:
- Identify why you shop. Does it make you happy? Are you bored? Are you buying stuff because you want to do something with it? (I.e. blog about it)? If you answered yes to any of these, make sure you find a way to change the underlying problem. If you are unhappy, shopping will not make it better. You will most likely start feeling guilty and worse. Get out and do something else, be more social or spend more time on other hobbies. The more you are engaged, the less time you have to shop.
- Set yourself limits and realize how much you are spending. Make a calculation of how much you spend on stuff on average every month. If you are not shocked by what you see, revert that amount into things you could have bought instead. If you spend 300$ a month on clothes and make up you need to realize that those are 3600$ a year you could have gone on holiday, probably twice or three times to a nice place… and I know some of you are spending closer to 500$ – that’s 6000$! It’s the same with crash diets, telling yourself to buy nothing won’t work for long. Instead, set a limit. See what’s your budget – maybe 50$ per month, or 100$? Or save one month and be able to spend it on one more expensive thing the next. You will value what you bought much more.
- Don’t take your credit card with you. I have never had this problem because I am a cash person and I like to have an overview of my finances. Not buying everything on card will help you realize how much you are spending and how fast. If you just put 100$ in your wallet and it’s already gone it will make spending harder and you will be more conscious about it. Swiping the card here and there and not actually knowing how much you spend is one of the most common ways of overspending.
- Try to avoid to go to stores. The more you keep away, the less you are tempted. It’s easy as that.
- Sleep on it. If you end up going to the store and have 5 pieces in your arm that you want to actually buy, put it on hold. If you go there the next day, try them on again. If you are not 100% sure about an item, don’t buy it. This has helped me a lot. The truth is, if I was 50/50 on something in the store, I would most likely end up not wearing it.
- Identify your style. This is easier said than done but take out the things you love the most and that you keep coming back to. Take a look into your closet and identify what styles you have. Try to find which one suits you best. It’s important to remember that something you see on someone else might look great, but won’t look and feel the same on you. For example, I love the bohemian/romantic look on others, it just doesn’t work on me. Generally, you can distinguish between 6 types: Classic, Trendy, Dramatic, Natural, Romantic and Creative. If you are not sure which type you are, there are plenty of quizzes online that help you figure it out. If you buy things in the future, try to stick to your style, it will help you buy only things you will actually wear.
- Does it match with what I have? If you buy something, try to take a mental tour through your closet and imagine what you would combine it with. Can’t think of anything at the top of your head? Maybe better put it back, you will most likely not wear it if it doesn’t match with anything you already have.
I hope that, if you think you buy too much in the first place, you now have a better idea on how to reduce it and only buy the things you need and that fit your style.
Stay tuned for PART II – How to declutter and get rid of things!