A Call for Help! Addiction to Things

addicted to shopping

I have a problem. Two actually. Number one: I’m addicted to shopping. I know many of you share my compulsion to spend.

There’s the high of finding a dress or a purse on a spectacular sale. There’s the high of walking into the store full of clothes begging to come home with you and knowing that you’ll find something that suits you perfectly. There’s the dependency to have something new for each event or to commemorate a special event.  Don’t even get my started on online shopping. After a stressful day my hands can’t help put find their way to the keyboard, pounding out the keys to the url of my favorite shop and just buying something, anything.

Truly it’s an addiction. I’ve come to depend on the joy that overcomes me when buying something new. And along with the addiction to shopping comes the addiction to things.

addicted to shopping

Oddly, this is the only picture I could find of myself holding a shopping bag

Frankly, it’s disgusting. Like any other addiction, the need to spend money on new things in order to calm yourself or to feel happy is a little repulsive.

I’ve been trying to cure myself since this past Fall and I’ve done a pretty spectacular job on the shopping portion of my problem. Starting in September I started putting myself on a spending freeze. I  managed to not by a single article of clothing, shoes, or accessory from mid September until the end of November. It was refreshing. And you know what? I never wanted for anything. Yes, there were days when I found myself what I now like to call “online window shopping” where I browse websites, give myself an imaginary budget and go to town. I was never allowed to hit “Submit Order” though. Going inside a mall was out of the question. That would have been like an alcoholic burning for a buzz going into a bar.  It was forbidden.

Once I went through my period of fasting I was able to ease myself back into shopping. Buying here and there and mostly classic pieces that would be used on a more every day basis (compared to the party dresses, heels, and I’ll buy this just because it’s 80% off tops). I began to realize that I own tons of clothes that I never even wear.

But now I need to cure my second problem. My emotional attachment to clothes that I no longer need. I hold on to articles of clothing that will no longer fit me, are way out of style, or are too worn to be seen in public because of the sentimental value I have for them. If I’m being honest, I wear about 20% of the clothes that I own. 20%! Just take a look at my closet.

cluttered closetcluttered closet

(and this is just one of two closets. There’s also three dressers. And tubs under neath the beds….)

Most days I stand in front of my  mountain of clothes and think that all too familiar thought, “I have nothing to wear”. I usually find myself pulling on my favorite jeans and one of my few favorite sweaters.

This is caused by two things.

1. I give up on finding possible outfits because my closet is stuffed to the max and cluttered. 

2. Most of my clothes don’t fit my current personal style or lifestyle.

Like the addiction to shopping, the attachment to things is equally bad and restraining. I’m so attached to clothing and the false joy I believe they bring me that I can’t bring myself to get rid of certain things. I come up with hundreds of excuses, my most favorite are:

“Well this will fit once I finally lose 10 pounds”

“What if this comes back into style?”

“This would be perfect for _____ theme party or Halloween party”

I’ve read time and time again that de cluttering your life and opening room for new energy is liberating and leads the pathway to more happiness. Yet, I continue to let sentimental things define me.

I can’t get rid of the size zero jeans from ten years ago that I know my current size 8 – 10 self will never again fit into. That two sizes two small little black dress that I wore to a favorite night out with friends will never zip up nor will I ever have a place to wear it to. Old emo band t-shirts and sweatshirts collected on trips fill my dresser drawers to the brim. There is absolutely no reason why a grown woman needs to own 25 plus bathing suits. Yes, you read that correctly. I own over 25 bathing suits, that obsession started in my life guarding days where I basically lived in a bikini. Do I really need 3 pairs of pink pumps, or mini skirts made for 22 year old’s, or purses from college that are still full of receipts, movie ticket stubs, notes, and dried up lipstick.

I keep these items because they tell a story of my past. But are they preventing me from living with purpose in the present?

I’m feeling the urge to purge. It’s time. This weekend I’m throwing on my figurative hard hat and diving head first into my closets ready to get rid of anything that fits these rules:

1. Does it fit? (like truly fit, not “oh this will fit when I lose 10 pounds”)

2. Have I worn this in the last 12 months?

3. Is this in style or does it fit my current lifestyle? (ie 30 year woman who works in a very casual office who spends more nights at home than at trendy bars)

4. If I was shopping right now, would I buy this?

Here is where YOU come in. I need some support. I know this is going to be a hard weekend. I know I’m going to be paralyzed in my closet for hours, trying on countless items of clothes trying to find any reason to not say goodbye to old friends.

How do you purge your closet of unnecessary items? What tips can you give me? Have you gone through a complete closet overhaul and come out emotionally unscathed and in one piece?

Help me!!!

xoxo Katie