(Not) Adding to my Closet.

Aha, I’ve finally done it! After having this blog for just about two years, I’m finally doing what I meant to do from the start: blog during breakfast, before starting my day! I’m a crossword addict, so the crosswords always win…but today I wanted to get these words out before they disappeared. I have my cup of tea, my laptop, and some slow, quiet time…

It’s been a week since I last bought something for myself, so of course the urge is resurfacing. That last item was a dress that I’ve been waiting to find for almost a year, so the purchase was not a moment of weakness. I had that dress in larger sizes and wore them all the time, and the loss of those dresses was one of the first things I thought about when I started my health journey.  Now that’s done and out of the way, so I can focus on not adding anything else to my closet.

That phrase has become my mantra over the last few days — adding (or not) to my closet. As I read about amazing Burberry and Herve Leger finds for under $100 at Nordstrom Rack, the itch to go hunting started blazing. I did the math and tried to figure out how I could work a complete part-time week, make it to all my appointments, and set aside loads of time to painstakingly peck through the clearance racks at the Rack. I couldn’t figure it out. There was no way to make it work! But what if I could find that $1K Herver Leger that I tried on a few months ago and it cost less than what I spend on a pair of shoes? What if the price was so low it didn’t even register on my “think-long-about-it” scale? What IF???

Really and truly, what IF I could find it. I would add it to my closet… and it would sit there.

In my closet.

I can’t think of a single occasion where I could wear it. Nothing in my immediate future, nothing in my distant future. It would join the ranks of hundreds of other items that have sat in my closet over the years.

I still have new spring/summer clothes that I haven’t yet worn. Out of the 10 bottoms I bought for this season, I still have 4 that are unworn. I really can shop for brand new items in my own closet.

I also keep thinking about the black ankle-strap sandals that I have yet to find. Every morning, when I choose a pair of shoes to wear, I count at least 3 pairs of black sandals. What if I find my elusive ankle-strap pair? They would be added to my closet. Then what?

I’d have another pair of shoes. That’s all. Nothing magical or mystical. It would be One More Pair. And, no one but me would ever notice. I realized the other day that even I don’t notice other people’s shoes. I sometimes do, but more often than not, I just don’t. Who do I think it looking at my feet to see if I paired the exact right shoes to my outfit?

Admission time: I’ve found myself checking the Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack site daily over the past few days. I start looking at new arrivals, and then my mantra comes to me: what if I added this to my closet? And I get the heebie-jeebies and close the browser. My goal right now is to most decidedly NOT add to my closet. I have enough. I’m working toward someday having a very small wardrobe, so the other part of my shopping mantra is: would this item have a home among only 10 pieces?

I’m in the middle of physical therapy for recurring hip/pelvic issues. My “cure” and prevention are the same — I need to keep my body in a certain position as much as possible, doing everything. When I go up the stairs, when I’m in the car, when I’m lifting weights. If I don’t keep that position, I hurt. I might even end up injured if I lift weights in my usual bad position. I’m working on breaking a lifetime of bad posture and these new cues have to be on my mind all the time. I’ve already been pain-free for over a week after being in agony for most of the past seven months. Eventually, possibly quite quickly, this new position will be my default position, and I won’t even have to think about it anymore.

My unshopping therapy has to be the same. Those two thoughts — about an item simply being in my closet to no avail and the 10-piece test — need to be on my mind constantly. I’m convinced I’ll be able to make it through the summer shopping season unscathed, even with my yearly tempting trip coming up.

3 thoughts on “(Not) Adding to my Closet.

  1. Jessica says:

    I have the same struggles. I am trying so hard not to go shopping, because I too want a smaller wardrobe. But I keep browsing online stores and get angry with myself for doing so. I know that if I was to buy something, I really would not be happy with that piece. Like you, I would just be adding another item…. Surely, we can do this????

    • Cristina says:

      We CAN do this! I really have to focus on one day at a time. I wish I could just commit and that’s it — done for the season. But everything stirs right back up after a while; a day, a week, an hour… When I wrote that it had been a week since I bought something for myself, I felt silly because I know some people wouldn’t think anything of it. It’s just a week! But for me, it’s an eternity. Every day, I want to buy something. EVERY DAY. But I fight! It’s mentally exhausting, but I keep fighting. I might close that browser in victory, only to open it again minutes later in defeat. Then I fight again. Keep fighting! Let’s make it through this day. Next week, I want to say that I made it through another week.

      • Nikki says:

        One week’s abstinence is a MAJOR achievement for any addict (whatever your particular weakness), so WELL DONE you! And keep up the fight. It’s tough, but it WILL get easier, especially if you can find FUN alternative activities to replace the time you might have spent shopping/researching etc. One of the first things I did when trying to cut back was to unsubscribe from all shopping websites (i.e. no reminders/promotions). This made a huge difference as I realised I was too responsive to pretty pictures 🙂

        My approach to un-shopping is to re-define the refusal to shop as a healthy, frugal behaviour. Frugal = good 🙂
        Strangely, I don’t even like going into shops anymore!

        When I look back at the years I wasted on shopping-related behaviour (the HUNDREDS of hours spent on research, buying stuff, returning it, buying more stuff etc), it’s really embarassing – I could have spent that time so much better! Anyway, thanks for your open & honest blog. Love the way you outline your thought process.

        Regards, Nikki

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