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  • Writer's pictureDeb Lawrence

Confessions of a (Reformed) Shopaholic!

Updated: May 13

I knew that I had enough clothes. The rod in the closet groaned each time I hung up another new outfit. Or should I say more accurately, the rods in all three closets in my house were packed with clothes. Of course, there was the main bedroom closet which held the current season’s clothes, the guest bedroom closet that held my off-season clothes, and my office closet that stored clothes for business trips. Now that I worked from home, these clothes were worn only on rare occasions.

Life is more casual in Arizona. One does not need as many clothes as our northern neighbors with their four seasons. I would divide our year into two seasons: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. So we should need fewer clothes, right? Right?

Even considering the Pareto rule - sometimes called the 80/20 rule - I could not say in all honesty that I wore 20% of my clothes 80% of the time. Make that 10% or less of the clothes that ever saw the light of day!

Nor could I say that I loved all of my clothes and that they “sparked joy!” Some clothes I hung on to because I had spent so much money on them. Others, ironically, I hung on to because I hadn’t worn them enough, and if I just kept them a little longer… And why didn’t I ever have the right clothes when packing for a trip when I owned so many clothes?

But what kept me coming back to the stores to shop?

Coupons, coupons, coupons!

  • Buy one, get 50% off your 2nd item!

  • Get 50% off your highest-priced item if you spend over $100!

  • Take an additional 40% off of the last sale price!

  • Twenty-dollar certificate - good on your next purchase!

  • Friends and family sale - today only!

And I was off - driving as if on auto-pilot right to the convenient parking space in front of my favorite store to take advantage of these fabulous deals. I enjoyed the wonderful customer service, the lovely shopping bags, the catalog or coupon for the next purchase that the clerk would slip into my bag. I was all set.

What changed? I left my corporate job and became a Professional Organizer. I read books by industry leaders, including "To Buy or Not to Buy" by April Benson, PhD or Project 333 by Courtney Carver. I helped other people clean out their closets and carried armloads of lovely clothes - many of them with price tags still on them - to the car to take to a charity. I was inspired to purge my closets when I got home! I took bags full of clothes to Dress for Success, Hope’s Closet, and other charitable organizations.

Over the past several years, I’ve made huge progress and reduced my inventory down to just ¾ of one closet (my husband gets the other quarter!) My closet makes sense to me now.

I love the outfits I’ve kept. If I moved to a Tiny House, I would need to purge more. But for now, dressing is easier: current clothes and shoes front and center; off-season items in clear bins on the top shelf; winter clothes on the bottom closet rod or in dresser drawers. And packing is a breeze. I choose a base color (usually navy for spring/summer and black for fall/winter) and add color and patterns with the tops. I add a sweater, rainproof shell, under things, and 2 pairs of shoes into a 15-inch spinner bag and a tote. Life is so much simpler.

When I pick up the mail each day, I toss the catalogs and coupons before they ever get near the house. I shop if I need something but not just for anything. I know I’d rather spend the money on my next trip! When my clients say, “Your home must be so organized, I smile and say, “I am a work in progress just like everyone else.” Let's get started!

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