After I had crunched the 2011 shopping numbers, my initial reaction to fix the spending and the buying was this: Don't buy anything! Ever! Or at least for a year! Second reaction: Oh yeah, I tried that. Didn't work. So I went back to my Great American Apparel Diet posts to figure out what went wrong that time. Here's what went wrong: I like clothes. I like thrifting. I don't like punishing myself. The conclusion is that total denial is just not going to do the trick. So I figured that I had some options.
Option 2 (and this is it): Limit volume. I've never tried this one before, and I was quite happy with myself for thinking of this, although I am sure it is nothing ground-breaking. Anyway, I'm going to give myself a volume allowance. I tried to think of a number that was stingy enough but not depressing, and I came up with 12. I am giving myself permission to buy 12 pieces of clothing in 2012; that's one a month. If you think 12 is a lot, well, it does sound like it's a piece of cake, doesn't it? That's part of the plan. Considering that my previous number was 90 though, going down to 12 is an intense cut. The key here is that 12 sounds generous: it gives me the freedom to dream.
Here's what I hope the 12 will do: if I want something, I have to be sure it is twelve-worthy. It's sort of like trying to pick your favourite twelve movies of all time: you'll take your time before committing to a definite list, because those twelve spots on the list are valuable, and you don't want to make mistakes. At the moment I feel like this could actually work. Every craving I've had in the past couple of weeks hasn't even come close to being twelve-worthy, and I have a good example: there hasn't been a single pair of Fluevogs on the sale site that would have made my imaginary list of 12. So far (and yes, it is early) I haven't been tempted to buy a single thing. Right now I think of The Twelve as if they were some long-lost lovers or kindred spirits whom I am waiting to come along.
So that's the plan: the plan of 12. And to make things more interesting, I have a list of five rules that go with the plan.
1. There will be no online buying. Like I mentioned in the shopping post, my online purchases are often flukes, they don't fit right, and it's mostly just money down the drain. Off with their heads!
2. No multiples. If I want/need something, I'll buy one, not four.
3. No unpractical things. No sequin suits. Nothing that needs dry cleaning.
4. No hasty buying. I must shop with a particular piece in mind.
5. I must keep asking myself if money is well spent. If I can think of other uses for the money, I probably shouldn't be spending it. When in doubt, don't.
There is one more aspect to all of this. One of my initial reactions to the whole shopping disaster was to do a major wardrobe purge to figure out what I wear and what I don't. I thought that I should just be happy with what I've got and to simplify my wardrobe before embarking on a new mission. And then I thought of all the times when closet purging has actually justified more buying. I have done this a lot: I'd drag a ton of clothes to the flea market, feel good about a roomier closet afterwards, and then I'd start to fill the space. A year later, I was back at the flea market, selling, and then I'd go back to buying. This was a real revelation, and as a consequence, I've decided against doing a wardrobe purge at this point. I need to feel uncomfortable with the amount of clothes I have for a little longer.
Here's to hoping that this works.
I am wearing a second hand sweater, Gap jeans and second hand boots.