This article was originally published on The Financial Diet.
Like many other girls in my generation, I, too, used to fall into the habit of impulse buying. I deserve this because I’m down. I need something to motivate me, make me feel good for the moment. Or, oh, this piece is so ME, I will die if I can’t have this. Or the worst excuse: It’s okay, I’ll eat butter toast for lunch instead of a full healthy meal just so I can afford this item. Then that item most likely stood in my closet for months, untouched. Bad quality, fast fashion clothing was piling up in my closet. And my body wasn’t happy about all those skipped lunches. What was the point then? Something needed to change in my shopping habits. I tried to avoid going to shops altogether but soon found out this was not the solution. I rented a small, crowded apartment with my girls from college and wandered around shops. Looking and trying on clothes was my relaxing alone time. But how do I stop myself from having an I need this NOW or else I die moment? The first step was going through my already existing pile of clothes and sort them into five categories:
1. The ones I keep for myself;
2. The ones I can sell because they’re still in good condition and have the price tag on them;
3. The ones that go to charity;
4. A few items that are so old or bad, they go straight to the bin;
5. Items I can give to my friends or younger cousins.
Decluttering is proven to be therapeutical, and the benefits are innumerable. It’s healing for anxiety, clears the mind, gives you a bit of control over your life, and makes you get rid of stuff that should not have a place in your life anymore. It essentially makes you feel like a different person. And, of course, it keeps your apartment organized and tidy. Although getting rid of some of my old cheap quality clothes sure felt relieving, it still wasn’t enough to change my habit at their core.
One day on my way home, with a pair of shiny new gorgeous shoes in my bag, I realized that I already had like three pairs of similar looking shoes. Suddenly, I felt so guilty. I needed to sell or give away one of them that I don’t use in order to replace them with the new one. That’s the only way I wouldn’t feel so bad about buying the new ones. That’s I started adopting the minimalistic shopping rule called ‘’one in, one out.” When I buy something new, something old that I don’t wear anymore has to go either to the charity, to a friend, or in the bin. If it’s something I know that I will 100% never wear, and it still has the price tag on it, I sell it on eBay or a local online market. This method has its many benefits in my everyday life. If I keep getting rid of my old items, they won’t ever pile up again. My closet will always be an organized place full of only good quality things that I’m frequently using. It feels so nice to open a closet that’s always fresh and up to date.
This rule also stops me from mindless spending. Buying a new item means losing an old one, so I must think carefully. Do I have a worn-out, faded-away winter jumper that I can replace with this new one? Or are they all in good shape, in which case I don’t need another one. Do I really need that cute notebook or there are still some pages left in my old one? Do I really want to buy that floral summer dress, or do I already have countless similar style dresses hanging in my closet? This method also pushes me to improve the quality of my shopping. The new items obviously must be better than the old ones. It feels refreshing and mature to replace something crappy with a better one. Especially after thinking twice about getting it.
Of course, there are rare times when I make an exception to the rule. For example, if I want to try a new nail varnish colour but the ones I already have at home are still not empty, I don’t throw anything out. I just add the extra nail varnish to the collection, but first, I think twice if I’m really gonna use it. If I want a new pair of gloves to match my clothes and the old one is still in good condition, I will keep them both. But again, I make sure it’s something that I’m really gonna wear and it won’t just be sitting in my closet untouched. The rule also doesn’t apply to gifts. They’re supposedly in new condition and are good quality. And since I’m not the one who spent money on it and I didn’t make the decision to get it for myself, nothing old has to go to replace it with.
I also pay attention to buy stuff that all match with each other. I stick to a classy, feminine, minimalist style. Not because that’s the easy and safe way. There’s nothing wrong with trying out new styles sometimes, to give your look something extra. But it’s better to buy all your basics in the same simple style so you can always look effortlessly mature, professional, and well, put together.