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  • Writer's pictureDeb Lawrence

Confessions of a (Reformed) Shopaholic!

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 master 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 used almost exclusively for quarterly business meetings.

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 - or 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 onto because I had spent so much money on them. Others, ironically, I hung onto 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% on your 2nd item!

Get 50% off your highest price item if you spend over $100!

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

Twenty dollar certificate good on any 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 and interned with experienced organizers. I carried armloads of lovely clothes - many of them with price tags still on them - to the car to be taken to a charity or a not-for-profit organization. I went home and purged my closets, took bags full of clothes to Dress for Success, Hope’s Closet, and other charitable organizations.

Over the past 4 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 front and center; off-season shoes in see through bins on the top shelf; winter clothes on bottom rod and in dresser drawers. And packing is a breeze. I choose a base color (usually navy for spring/summer and black for fall/winter) with color and patterns in the tops. I add a sweater, rainproof shell, and under things plus 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’m saving money for the future. And I'm good with that. When my clients say, “your home must be so organized, I smile and say, “I am a work in progress just like everyone else.”

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