Today I will be giving my best attempt at answering a reader question. This time, it’s from the lovely Lynette, who posted a question that I thought was very interesting and definitely worthy of some thought:
Do you have any advice or thoughts on how to fight the urge to buying everything, meaning learning to say no and not buy so much? Of course money is the first barrier for many (including me) but let’s say that wasn’t – how do you control the desire to not want more, and just be happy? Some people are good at not wanting so much, and a couple pieces satisfies them. For me, I have loved Hermes for at least a decade and bought a decent number of their handbags. If had loads of money maybe my collection might be the size of Jamie Chua.
It seems you are able to control the urge to overbuy and not own so many of a single style or buy every style they have available. You seem to do it thoughtfully and in a controlled manner. Recently, I finally purchased my first Van Cleef pieces. I am so excited and I already feel an itch to collect so many of their other pieces which is a feeling I never thought I would have since I am not a jewelry buyer. So before I make any buying mistakes I would love to hear what you think.
This is a great question and a topic that I would say is consistently in the back of my head whenever I shop for clothes and accessories. I love a beautiful item (and boy are there lots of them out there), but I really loathe items not being regularly used in my closet. I like to be using everything that I have, no matter how precious. And my ideal closet size actually isn’t excessively large (at least in my mind). I like to have a certain number of items, and if I start to go too far over that amount, I get antsy and start getting rid of items. So it’s always been important for me to limit my purchasing. Here are some thoughts that have helped me.
1. Put a real limit on it. By real, I mean an actual number. At work, I get judged on my success in many areas by whether or not I meet certain numeric based targets. To keep my closet under control, I do the same thing – I give myself a target! Some of you may remember that I gave myself a resolution of only 25 new items added to my wardrobe for 2014. That’s the best way I’ve found to limit myself…and it helps that I have an idea of what I added in years earlier, so I have a relative sense of how feasible my targets are given my shopping proclivities.
A few readers commented that my resolution of 25 items didn’t have a budget limit, just a quantity. That’s what has specifically worked for me in the past – but someone else might want to use a dollar figure, or say only X pairs of shoes, etc. You should know yourself best!
2. Look at your past “multiples”. I have quite a few “multiples” of items in my wardrobes. I even did a post about some of them about two years ago! Some of them I love and adore, and am so glad that I bought several of. Some, I wish I had just stopped at one. Or to be honest, none. Those are the items which just ended up being caught up in the glow of a happy purchase. I thought I would love the sweater, or dress, or jeans, forever – so why not buy more?
If you look at your past multiple purchases however, you may be able to find some lessons about yourself. For example – for me, I generally have never regretted purchasing multiples of casual items, since I wear them often and they tend to get worn out faster. 5 inch tall Jimmy Choo pumps on the other hand? Maybe I didn’t need multiples of them…I only wear each of them once a year!
3. Remember why you bought your special items. I can remember when I bought my first Hermes bag (a Birkin) close to ten years ago, I said to myself that this was it. I had the king of bags, I could stop now and just wear this one forever.
It’s funny to hear how many other women have had this exact thought…and well, you know how that went, at least for me. You end up wanting another…and then another sounds good, too. When I’m in this situation, especially with an expensive item, I try to think back to the existing special items in my closet, and what made them so. Were they for a certain occasion, or to celebrate a certain accomplishment? Often, I remember the occasion and how excited I was when I got a certain item…and the desire for another wears off. I try to separate the thrill of acquisition, with the desire for the actual item itself.
Finally, my last piece of advice would be – don’t obsess, and sleep on it. There will always be beautiful items out there, tempting you to purchase them. Take some time to think about what you would like to add…and if it’s still singing to you days later, maybe it was meant to be! I can say that if you do end up passing on an item…chances are, you probably won’t regret it, especially if you’ve put some thought into the decision.
Readers, what are your thoughts on Lynette’s question? How do you manage your spending, and the number of items in your closet?