Monday, February 11, 2013

New Year. Bit late.

So, it's a new year, or at least it was a new year a few weeks ago. We've had a lot of new starts, the upshot of which are that we have somewhere new to live (hooray);  no money (boo, but what's new) and quite a lot of things to do.

I never make new year resolutions for all the usual reasons - plus I have a memory like a goldfish. This year, however, I have made a sort-of resolution - or at least, issued myself a challenge.

We were a bit homeless last year, which is to say that we were living in a few rooms with all our things in storage, bar the child's clothes and toys.

We expected to have moved by March, so I kept out my winter clothes and stored the rest.  This meant however that once the sun started to appear and all I had was jumpers and furry boots, a little bit of shopping was required.  By the end of the full 12 months, I had acquired a whole second wardrobe - along with a shopping habit.

Roll forward to December this year when the boxes were finally unpacked and I was faced with a true first-world problem - too many clothes.

The first thing I did was cull, robustly.  Three bin bags of kit went to the Barnardos shop right away and another went a few weeks later.

Having narrowed it down to things I couldn't bear to part with, I made myself a deal.  No new shoes or clothes for the whole year.  None. Further, I have to wear everything in my wardrobe at least once this year, or out it goes.

It's odd.  I thought that the simple act of not-buying things would be really easy, but now that I can't buy clothes I am obsessed with the spring window displays - which is bizarre because really I'm not much of a consumer; 60% of the jumpers I still wear are ones knitted or woven for me by family before I left home.  I'm nearly 50 so I think that counts for something.  The rest are ones my husband purchased because he couldn't stand to see me in 35-year-old knitting.  He may have had a point.

I essentially live in the same 2 pairs of jeans and 5 tops year round which is part of the problem.  I keep thinking I should wear something different so I dabble in the shops.  A dress here, a  pair of shoes there... so the wardrobe grows.  But it does mean that I have had been growing a pile of clothes that I never wear and that's what's going to change. 

I will wear them.  I will wear them and if they don't fit then I'm going to pass them on.  If I can't wear them, I can't keep them - and so, I am wearing them.  Every day I pull out something from the wardrobe that I haven't worn in a while.  I wore a trouser suit the other day that I haven't worn in about 3 years.  Looked great

I have no idea whether I will have learned a goddamn thing by the end of the year and frankly this isn't about lessons or denial or any other worthy thing.  I'm broke and I have too many clothes - it all seems to make sense.

In the meantime I've added 2 more charities to my list of automatic monthly donations (Sight Savers and Shelter) partly because clearly there will be a teeny bit of cash I'm not spending - and partly because I'm appalled at my own excess.

Happy New Year everyone, I'll be the one looking awkward in a dress.


Yogini4life said...

Abundance is both a good thing and a bad thing,it? I've vowed to reduce the clutter in my life, one blessed article at a time. Perhaps in 365 days (well, less days now), I'll have a house free of clutter and full of "Home". Happy New Year to you! :)

Jennie said...

What?? No Christmas/New Year photo?? I'll try to hide my disappointment! ;)

I fell your (first world) pain. Then again, you could keep it to the 2 pairs of jeans and 5 tops model, and just accesorise like crazy. A huge scarf and a cardi does wonders. Do you sew at all? I've been playing with the same idea - no new clothes! 2nd hand, on the other hand, would be okay, and I could alter the heck out of them to make them more modern. I mean, now that I've got the sewing patches on knees down, what's raising a hem or two?

Sparx said...

Hi Yogini4life - I love the concept - de-clutter one item at a time. We did quite a lot of that when we moved, but I'm in no hurry to buy anything these days.

Hi Jennie - I forgot to post it up - I'll do it retrospectively at some point. Wasn't so good this year.

I'm not allowed to buy second hand but it's a great way to go. I do sew, but currently I'm just mending and altering. Altering is a good way to make something old into something new. I need inspiration though... have you seen some of the things people do 'up-cycling' clothes, althering 2nd hand into something new? Can be great.

Carol said...

I've been trying to lose weight and so far have managed 2 stone. I've bought one new dress last year (cause I could no longer keep wearing the old one) and that was it! I've got out of the habit of shopping (not that I was a great shopper in the first place) but what I'm now doing is putting money aside for every 7lbs lost and when I reach my goal I will get a new wardrobe and give my old stuff away. That is the plan anyway :-)

I say well done you for de-cluttering and for using your 'spare' money to give to charity. Very inspiring. I look forward to seeing how you get on!

C x

cactus petunia said...

Funny. Just today I walked by a local shop with my husband and murmured how much fun it would be to just go in and be able to buy something new and put an outfit together all at once. Most of my clothes come from the thrift shops one item at a time, and it's a bit difficult to put an outfit together that way.
Hmmm... I think I feel a blog post coming out of this!

Sparx said...

Carol - Well done for losing 2 stone so far - that must feel great! I lost two and a half stone a few years ago and it was really free-ing to donate the 'big' clothes to charity. Some of it has crept back on but I'm taking it back off - I vowed not to keep a 'fat' wardrobe to force me to keep slim - it can be tough but it works.

Cactus - that was me for so long. I don't spend much on clothes but I was buying something every month - so wasteful.

Anyway, so far so good... nearly at any rate. I made my other half buy me a pair of leggings for V day, but then most of my leggings are full of holes and they were only six quid so I don't feel too bad. But can't make him do it again!