Are you one of those shoppers who buys or keeps things in your closet out of fear ? – Fear that the sale will get over and you will not get that huge 40 % percent off again, fear that you might need an item in the future and not have anything appropriate to wear? Fear that if you throw away clothes that have memories attached, you will feel like you have thrown a part of yourself ? Fear that maybe one day you will have a good occasion to wear that shiny dress so you don’t wear it ever as it will get dirty ? Fear that the shoes you have been eyeing for ages will be sold off, if you don’t buy it today ? Or simply the fear of not having enough clothes. [pullquote]We all have fears of not buying – like the fear that the 30% sale shoe will get sold if we don’t buy it now and often than not they cause us to shop and keep things we don’t need.[/pullquote]
We all have these fears and often than not, they cause us to shop and keep things we don’t need.
A few years ago, being the fashionista I was and not yet being educated as an image and style consultant, I had no guidelines on my shopping addiction, so I shopped completely with my heart and not my mind.
Having learnt the art of shopping now, I still shop with my heart but let my mind decide if I really need and item and today, I will share some tips with you on how to declutter and shop smartly.
I have read countless declutter books by image consultants and experts who guide you on wardrobe de-cluttering. They say “ when you learn to throw away things, you get to know yourself better. You become practical rather than emotional”. I find it hard to practice that. We are material people and we will always be attached to material goods to an extent as long as we have disposable income. I would hate to have a wardrobe consultant who tells me to throw away the first dress I wore when I met my boyfriend, the scarf I bought on my brazil trip or the t-shirt I wore as a kid. I would hate for someone to dictate what colours I should wear and shouldn’t or sell the $300 dress I bought for a special occasion but haven’t used it yet. I wouldn’t like these rules, so I wouldn’t tell you to do it either but as a wardrobe consultant and shopaholic, I have learnt to balance the two worlds and I can definitely give you some key tips to declutter while holding on to what you treasure the most.
There are 3 things that usually stop us from having a space in our wardrobe that inspires us to be organized and dress the best.
We associate clothes with memories and in turn our identity. Such pieces are hard to discard but the fact remains that you don’t really use them. They occupy space that could be used by things you often use. To tackle this problem, keep a box where you store these items and set a limit. Say 6 and not more than 10. If you cross that number, you need to reassess and throw out some of the items. Always remember, memory is not limited to object. They are already in you. Alternatively, they could also be in pictures. So if you have pictures of them perhaps you don’t need the item in physical storage.
Questioning yourself and answering them, always gives you food for thought. It might seem an effort in the beginning but eventually you train your mind to ask. Fact is, that if you are really attached to an item, you probably think about it sometimes. If you haven’t thought about it in years or don’t even know where it is, maybe it is not that special to you.
I specialise in colour and I often tell my clients what colour works for them and what doesn’t. But does that mean I tell them to throw away the expensive clothes that they have already bought but are not part of their color palette. No. Most colours can be made to work with the right makeup or accessory. However, your color palette should be kept in mind when you purchase outfits in the future to avoid buying clothes which may necessary not be the best for you thus leading to wasteful spending.
Thumb rule is, “apply the question of 3 “ – “ Do you receive compliments when you wear this dress”, “ Are you 100% comfortable wearing it and never struggle to make the outfit work”, “ Have you touched that outfit in the last 6 months “. If your answer is “no” to 2/3 questions, you can definitely consider discarding it.
This is the hardest one . What If I throw this item and I need it in the future? What If I don’t buy this shirt on sale now and I have the need to wear it tomorrow then I will end up buying it on full price? What if I have a date in the future so let me buy a dress now even if I don’t need it. The problem of need is hardest to solve as the struggle is mostly internal. I myself have struggled with it in the past and sometimes still do. But with time I have learnt to have a conscious control on it.
Whenever I am tempted to buy something, say a bag with a lucrative sale price – I ask myself “ Do I really need it in the next three months?” and “ what if i don’t buy it”. Having a conversation with yourself often helps you think practically. The other very useful practice is to sleep 2 days without buying the item. Sometimes you might get sleepless night thinking you should have bought it but very often you will realise you can do without it. The hunger to purchases reduces if you won’t buy the item the same day. If you still continue having sleepless nights over that one dress you didn’t buy fearing it might get sold out – ask why is it bothering you. So what if it is on sale ? – Items go on sale all the time. If not this dress, there will be another dress. Remember that shops know this psychology of fear and all their advertisements play on it. In reality, there will always be a 30% or a 40 %. In fact from my experience, chances are the outfit could be sold cheaper if you buy it much later.[pullquote]In reality, there will always be a 30% or a 40 % sale going on.So release that fear of losing out on a deal.[/pullquote]
The second question is – So what if an item gets sold out and you didn’t buy- Is that the only outfit that defines you? Think about it. Will buying that dress stop you from getting another one ? Likely not. There will always be a better dress so it is ok to see your ‘dream dress’ being sold out because trust me you will soon find another ‘dream dress’. Point is don’t buy an item just because it is easy to buy it or because you might need it. Buy it only when you really need it or an occasion calls for it and you really have nothing in your wardrobe that can work it.
Unless you have a big walk-in closet to store limitless items, it is key to organise your wardrobe as it will directly impact your daily life. You will notice having to spend less time in the morning deciding what to wear, not complaining “ that when you need something most, you can’t find it” and feeling happier in general when you walk into your clean well-kept closet.
It’s not wrong to indulge sometimes and buy out of whim but to be a smart person you need to start practicing smart shopping and smart closet cleaning. Try to practice the art of declutter every “3 months”. Add it to your calendar and notice the difference it makes in your day-to day decision.
If you feel you have been wanting to clean up your wardrobe or solve a shopping habit but don’ t know how, feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up an online, call or in person consultation as per your needs.
Author : Nupur Singh is an image consultant and personal stylist who works with you on building the image that you need. She has worked with different clients both online and offline to help them create an impact in society in the fields of fashion shoot styling, personal branding, individual consultation, dating and business.
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