Step 8: Reduce Clothes Buying

OK, here’s a confession.

I love cleaning out my closets.  LOVE.

I like:

  1. Throwing things away.
  2. Meticulously organizing what’s left
  3. Demanding Mr. DebtFree JD and Dog DebtFree JD (anyone else unlucky enough to be nearby) admire the stunning organizational gorgeousitiy* of said closets.

A few days ago, while engaged in a highly-enjoyable closet clean-out, the following thought struck:

Why am I not spending just as much time and energy in keeping things out of my closets as I am dealing with the mountain of clothes that seems to pile up inside it?

In other words, why I am so focused on dealing with the unnecessary clothes I have, and much less focused on preventing myself from buying unnecessary clothes in the first place?

This was revelatory.  And led to much deep thought, such as:

  • I mostly get rid of clothes I never really liked in the first place or clothes that were poorly made and started to fall apart approximately 3.5 days after I bought them.
  • The solution to not buying clothes I don’t like is simple in theory, hard to execute: only buy clothes I like.  My downfall is things on sale that seem like too good of a deal to pass up.  But the right amount of money to spend on clothes I won’t wear is: $0.00.
  • The solution to not buying poor-quality clothes is, alas, not obvious.  I will not try to solve this problem by throwing money at it.  Also price is frequently a lousy predictor of quality. More investigation is needed here.  (One thing is certain.  I will never ever ever buy a “summer weight” wool suit again.  It pills more every time I so much as look in its direction.)

I now have a dream; a vision if you will.  One closet–carefully organized–with a few high quality but reasonably-priced classic items that I actually like to wear.  That would be kind of cool.

*OK,  I just made that word up.  But it should be a recognized word, as “gorgeousness” is a hideous word: hard to spell and unpleasant to say and read.

8 thoughts on “Step 8: Reduce Clothes Buying

  1. Cecilia@thesingledollar

    Hey, I followed a link over here from sixfiguresunder and read through the whole thing (it didn’t take long) (I think in parentheses rather than bullet points, because I’m an academic, not a lawyer. I do know some academics who think in bullet points and they probably get higher scores for ‘organization’ on their student evaluations.)

    So, I just wanted to say hi, and that I’m looking forward to following you.

    1. DebtFreeJD Post author

      Thanks so much, Cecilia. I like parentheses myself. It looks like you have a great blog-I’ve started reading it, and look forward to following it also.

  2. Cecilia@thesingledollar

    Oh, and by the way, I agree with you that the clothing problem is infuriating. I hate how cheap (as in poor quality, not inexpensive) everything is these days. I have a skirt I bought my first year out of college at The Limited, in 2001, which is only just now biting the dust. If I’d bought a skirt from the same store within the last three years, forget it; wouldn’t have lasted a year.

    My solution is to mend older things I still like, try to buy a well-made thing when I run across it, use ebay for things I know I like already, a little bit of thrift-storing (although not much, really), and, to a limited degree, making my own stuff. I’ve made a few dresses by copying ones I already have, and have fabric to make a replacement for that skirt but haven’t gotten around to cutting it out yet. I’d really like to do more of this; suits are probably beyond me but simple dresses and skirts are certainly not, and I can buy good-quality material relatively cheaply.

    1. DebtFreeJD Post author

      These are all great tips. I am barely competent with a needle and thread. I can hem a pair of pants or fix a minor hole, but at least for now, that’s it. I’ve been to thrift stores looking for professional clothes, and while you can find decedent quality mens’ suits used, I have never seen a good used women’s suit or really much at all in the way of womens’ professional clothing. Arg. (Don’t get me started on how much easier it is to find quality, reasonably-priced mens’ professional clothes . . . we’ll be here for days.) I’ll have to check out ebay. My other thought is just to do a lot of research before making a purchase so that I know I’m getting something that will last, but it’s so hard to find honest reviews.

  3. Judi

    I can totally relate to this post! For me specifically I always buy good quality pants and skirts because it seems like the style difference aren’t too big from year to year. But I always buy shirts that are really trendy and it feels like I get rid of them a few months later. I have no idea why I do it because I’m super particular about how long my shirts are and that they are fitted (I’m 5’11” so they have to be long). Even though I know this about myself I still am willing to buy something that isn’t right if it’s on sale and fashionable 🙁 I’ve been better recently mostly because I’ve made a commitment of no more new cloths until we re debt free. Also I’ve realized that shopping online helps me curb this issue, for some reason I’m fine sending things back if I just box it up vs having to go back to the store. Plus things tend to fit better because I just pull out the measuring tape so I know the right size as I go from store to store as opposed to guessing and pretending the deal from the sales wrack fits.

    1. DebtFreeJD Post author

      Judi, that’s too funny – I’m the exact opposite. I had to promise myself NO MORE ONLINE CLOTHES SHOPPING until we paid back my loans because it was so easy to click the button and get clothes delivered . . . and then I was too lazy to return them if they didn’t fit. When I was in law school, we’d sometimes do a “clothing swap” : a bunch of ladies would get together after cleaning out their closets and we’d each take what interested us, and then donate the rest to Goodwill. It was an excellent way to get rid of some clothes, but not a great way to get new ones, because all my friends were under 5’5, and I’m tall like you.

    1. DebtFreeJD Post author

      Glad I’m not the only one with this vision! Mr. DebtFreeJD informed me categorically that he does not share my dream with respect to closets. At all.

Comments are closed.