1. Keep track of what you buy. First and foremost I keep a manual spreadsheet of clothing purchases. I use Mint for overall money management, but the manual aspect of typing up a spreadsheet forces me to recount everything I've bought and assess their keep-worthiness. For July, I ordered $455.19 in clothing, returned $164, and sold $36. I hate doing returns, and retailers probably hate me too, but I like bringing items home to think them over.
- fit (and get an alterations quote, if necessary)
- quality and value (include the cost of alterations, which can be hefty)
- compatibility with my existing wardrobe (how many things can I pair it with?)
3. Part with items that don't (or won't) get enough wear. If an item doesn't meet the above tests, but I still really like it, I usually have no problem with indulging in frivolous purchases. But there must be turnover. As soon as I realize something is not getting enough wear, I'll donate it or pass it on to a new home. Blog sales, eBay, as well as the AN Forum marketplace are all outlets for this.
Also, items initially dubbed as "keepers" are re-assessed periodically. If I am reviewing my manual spreadsheet a month later, and notice that a purchase has not yet been touched, then surely it will be returned or re-sold. Such was the case with a pair of Talbots shoes. I realized I was keeping purely for the bargain and good quality. After a month, I didn't reach for them once, proving that I didn't need them!
Readers - Do you keep a streamlined wardrobe? Please share your tips and advice!