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Shop Your Closet Challenge

Photograph by Getty Images/Flickr RM

It's Friday afternoon and I'm at Target.

I'm at Target per usual, and I want to buy. $10 ... $20 ... Is it really that big of a deal?

Devil shoulder, prodding me forward: It's on sale. It's $6. Just buy it. You can use another black tank.

The angelic side, staying the course: No. No, you can't. Don't do it.

What's with the deal, you wonder? It's less than a 10-spot.

The problem is I'm one month into a shopping hiatus.

As much as I want to jump online at Anthropologie and buy something freshly cut, I'm resisting.

My clothes-buying is on hold.

I set a goal in August: No new clothes for a school year. I self-imposed a ban on buying clothes, shoes, accessories, or any discretionary cosmetics or skin care items from August to June.


My hiatus started unintentionally. In early August, I planned to write about my back-to-school wardrobe, which I always revamp.

I shopped my closet to find a starting point. As I was sorting through my dresser drawers, I felt ahhhh - crazed by the overload. I could barely yank open the drawers to see what I had to wear.

Overstimulated, I grabbed an empty storage bin. I rummaged through favorites and stuffed the bin to the brim with clothes that didn't make the cut. I want to see if I can live without these extras. They'll be hanging out in my guest closet for the year or until I am called to open the box.

I liked the purge. Lightening the load was invigorating, so I took it a step further. I decided to challenge myself and go on a hiatus.

Hopes For The Year

Question: What is the purpose of this challenge? At the end of the hiatus, what do you expect to be different?

  • Focus on Needs Versus Wants:I want to experience what I have. This kitchen post from Momastery speaks to me. A hiatus is a way to halt the desire to follow this season's trend and settle into what I have and what is really needed. I certainly have wants in this department. Needs? ... Not so much. I have edited my closet and cosmetics to a place where my needs are met.
  • Hone in Your Style: Classic, vintage, French, granola, bohemian. Does it matter? I have a deep fear of becoming dated in my look. I'm ready to let go of the judgment and consider the cuts, looks, and brands that make me feel best. I expect to cherish certain items this year, and these loves will help me to continue to develop my style without fear of being a walking what not to wear.
  • Find Your Inner French Girl: I ask myself: Do you love it?This attitude stops me from throwing the just okay shirt, the good enough jeans into my cart. If I'm not racing out the store to tear off the tags and throw it on, then I'm not in love. If I'm not in love, it's not going to make it into my top 10. I want a thoughtful, quality wardrobe. My ideal closet has staples, classics, and statement pieces that fit my look and are not victimes to the trends.
  • Follow the Top 10 Rule: Will this new item make it into my Top 10 Favorite Pieces? This would be per season, of course. Ten total is way too few.
  • Buy Better: I've bought a spin on Mary Jane black shoes year after year since high school. I know what I love, but I'm frugal. I will buy the cheaper version, simply because ... well, it's cheaper. This causes me to spend a quick buck versus waiting a few months to invest in a similar item of better quality. Yet, I know my style, so it makes sense to buy a dress that is quality rather than one that will fall apart on the fourth wash. That being said, I'm curious to see how long my clothes take to wear out and which brands stand the test.
  • Have an In-and-Out Policy: If I buy something new, I must give away or donate an item. In-and-out forces me to look at every piece of clothing and make decisions about what I love and what can be replaced.
I set a goal in August: No new clothes for a school year.

Stay The Course

Question: How can you keep your vision highlighted throughout the challenge? How can you keep yourself from falling off the wagon?

  • Create a Wish List:A few years ago, inspired by my husband's ability to wait, I started a wish list. Whenever I think about an item I want, I write it on this list. I bought my Hobo wallet this way. The list forces me to think about quality like my mom taught me.
  • Pull Inspiration From Around You: During this time, I'll pull from magazines and make image boards about what looks inspire me. When I have the urge to buy something new, I can buy an issue of Vogueor In Style.For $4, I can cut out images. Or better yet, I can clip pictures from the Anthropologie and J.Crew catalogs online for free.
  • Try Clothes On: Go for the wild or wacky. This is a time to branch out from my usual style and experiment. It's also a good time to zero in on what suits, fits, and flatters me. If I love it, I can add it to the list.
  • Let Someone Else Buy For You: I figure with Christmas in between, I may get a fix midway through my ban.
  • Have an Exit Clause:I'll buy if it's needed. This year, cosmetic refills are aok, but no impulse buys. If an essential item wears out, I can consider if it is a want or a need. I must admit, I did buy a new pair of running shoes within the first month of the ban. My old ones were pushing two years and had holes in the inside heels. Ouch! Is this the first slip? Is my resolve slipping already? Nah. It was a need.

Dangle a Carrot

Question: What do you need to put in place from the get-go to keep you motivated throughout your shopping hiatus?

  • Shopping Spree:The money I'm not spending this school year, I'm squirreling away to shop the sales this summer. I'm taking students to France and Italy in July. Knowing that I will be shopping at Comptoir des Cotonniers and Bata motivates me. Every dollar I don't spend at Target is a portion of a euro that I can spend on the sales in Europe.

The big question: Can I make it? I have solid willpower, so likely. There will be a lot of closet dives, but it'll be fun to see what turns up and what I need to retire. I'll check in with you with ideas to keep things fresh without buying throughout this year. I look forward to sharing it with you.

What do you think? Care to join me?

Ciao for now.


If you liked what you read, like me on Facebook at Rudeysroom and follow along. Xo.

I write about stumbling into balancing roots and wings.

My driving force comes from my mom, who always said: "I gave you roots to guide you and wings so you can fly." I've built my life around that motto. My aim is to pass on to my daughters what my family secured in me.

I want us to slow down, grow roots, and build a solid foundation. I also want to strengthen our wings and soar.

It's a balance between holding on and letting go, between planning and being.

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