No one ever warned me that my shopping habits would totally change once I decluttered. They never explained I’d spend £100 on a lamp, or like today over £115 on a jacket. With the exception of a few extravagant suits from L K Bennett for very special occasions I’m the kind of girl that always shopped at cheap shops like Primark. Next if I was feeling rich. It’s not that I don’t have expensive taste, it’s just that my bank account was never able to supply what I needed! I’m not really a label person, so in my wardrobe you’ll find items from supermarkets mixed in with high end designer – if I like it, I like it!
Five years ago I would use shopping as a hobby. Got a spare day? Time to hit Meadowhall! Don’t want to clean the house as it’s a tip anyway? Time to go to the retail park! Shopping was an escape that made me feel better. Why buy one pair of shoes when you can buy 5 of them in all the different colours hey? As my budget was limited I’d head to the likes of Primark and throw tons of clothes in those massive round baskets, as it was much better to come home with aching arms and loads of bags than it was to come home with just one thing in a tiny (but posh!) bag. The more stuff the better the experience in my eyes. Not forgetting that I would keep all the bags too – especially the pretty ones. Growing up I’d always go to La Senza for my undies, simply because they used to give you posh heavy paper bags and put smelly beads in an envelope with your receipt. I ended up with a bag full of bags which in the end I had to bin as they’d got too creased to actually reuse.
When I was a teenager shopping was a necessity – having the latest thing meant you fitted in with the ‘in crowd’. I was never part of the in crowd, but always along the periphery. Not having Fila trainers (I’m showing my age here!!) because your mum wouldn’t/couldn’t afford to buy brands so settled for Reebok (after pretending the cheaper Gola ones didn’t fit) was devastating. I remember the proud moment I bought a Global Hypercolour T Shirt. A purple T Shirt that changed to pink when you got hot (it seemed cool at the time but having pink armpits wasn’t exactly cool at all!!). I managed to buy it just as the craze started and was probably one of the only times I was able to afford something fashionable at the same time as the popular kids. I felt amazing…. But that amazement didn’t last. Mainly as the T Shirt bought in a desperate grab to get one, was huge on me. It would’ve fitted a male rugby player, yet there I was under 5 foot tall and weighing 6 stone being drowned by an XL T Shirt. It was a short lived craze, which then moved on quickly to United Colors of Benetton jumpers, and they were definitely out of my pocket money price range! All this meant that as I grew up I felt that being able to afford lots of stuff meant I’d be popular. This evolved into ‘the more stuff I can buy, the happier I will be and the more I will fit in’.
Being unhappy in my house due to its chaos and embarrassment factor meant that I didn’t need an excuse to go out. Any excuse for a shopping spree would do. Having a child meant I had a fabulous excuse to not only leave the house but also another reason to spend money buying new things for her as well as me. In fact MiniTingle’s first outing at 2 days old was to Meadowhall for a shopping spree. More shopping, more spending sprees, no spare money in my bank account as it had been wasted on clothes but the buzz of shopping was worth it….wasn’t it? The only issue was when I went ‘out’ for occasions I never had anything to actually wear. Items I’d bought just because they were a bargain didn’t fit right, weren’t the right colour or just didn’t match with anything else. There were so many times getting ready at my house with friends where I’d be crying, clothes all over the floor, all over the bed and hung from doors, stating I couldn’t go out as nothing looked right. I’d end up settling for something that looked ‘ok’ but felt the rest of the night overshadowed by my glamourous friends and feeling uncomfortable. Not only that but getting home at 2am with a bedroom that looked like an explosion in a clothing factory, which meant throwing things off the bed in piles to the floor just to be able to get to sleep.
As I got older my desire to ‘fit in’ decreased and I found my own sense of style, but the shopping sprees did not. That’s until I decluttered my wardrobe. I used the KonMari method of decluttering but amended it slightly so that I did each category of clothes at a time instead of everything. I found clothes from in my room, in the spare room, in the under stairs cupboard, in my car and in the loft. So many things I’d forgotten about and at least a quarter never worn still with tags attached. I methodically went through category by category, only keeping what I truly loved. I went through my shoes too. I still adore shoes and have loads of pairs, but I now only have ones that I love wearing and that I can actually walk in! I think I removed about 80% of my clothes and at least half of my shoes….and you know what? I don’t miss any of them. I couldn’t even describe what I gave away. Every single item in my wardrobe fits, and I love wearing them. Going on a night out I know I have a choice of outfits and I love them. Getting ready no longer provokes tears (unless I poke myself in the eye attempting to apply fake lashes).
Once I had cleared the clutter in my home I realised that my spending habits have totally transformed too. I no longer use shopping as an excuse to go out. I don’t need to escape my home anymore as it’s a calming place rather than a cluttered headache. I have spare cash in my bank account as the cash is no longer splurged in mass sprees this nothing I can actually wear to show for it. I’m not tempted by sales and offers coming in to my inbox. I now know what clothes I have so know quickly what I do and don’t need. I recently decided that my winter puffa jacket bought years ago for a winter trip to New York had had its day. So I knew I wanted to replace it, but wanted a different colour other than the usual black. So I went into town to get a replacement. In my head I had a budget (£100-£200) and two places I could try to get one. I decided on the cheaper place first – hey I’m not made of money! So I went in and saw rows and rows of down jackets. I tried some on. One fitted ok but was a shiny material which I wasn’t keen on. Another fitted nicely but was black. Another I liked but was bright blue and I knew as I would be wearing it with blue jeans it would make them look a dirty colour. I saw a pink one which seems nice, and it fitted ok too. I wasn’t in love with it, but it was only £35! So cheap! It was warm, it’d do its job. But it had a big logo on the side which i wasn't keen on. It was OK though. The old me would’ve bought it. It’d do! It was cheap! Because I’d not reached my budget I would’ve bought the blue one too – after all they were a bargain, winters coming, it’s always good to have a change. I walked out of the shop without buying anything. The old me would’ve spent £70-£100 on jackets that would have stayed in the wardrobe. I didn’t love them. I’d find an excuse not to wear them as they weren’t right. As I'd not found a great one, I would've done a few more shopping trips and continued to look for another. So I went to the other shop. Surrounded by jackets again. Had a look up and down the isles, seeing a few which were ok but none which said ‘buy me’. And then I saw it! A grey one with pink edging. I hoped there would be one in my size as there’s no way that I’d buy one that doesn’t fit perfectly anymore like I have in the past. It fits! It’s in the sale too so within budget, although to be honest I loved it, so even if it was outside of my budget I know I would’ve still bought it. It’s already been worn. The tags came off straight away. I love it. Now I’m not spending tons of money on ‘filler’ clothes, I can afford to buy one off pieces that I love. That’s what they don’t tell you when you start your decluttering journey. You value the things you bring into your home. You may spend more money on an item, but overall you will spend far less and be infinitely happier because of it.
If you’d like to revolutionise your spending habits, clear the floordrobe or have a more organised wardrobe contact me to book a free consultation!