The full story- From shopaholic to a journey of living with less

So, the thing is, I’m a serial shopper aka shopaholic. The cliché, shop til you drop, always has a new outfit, “I wish I had her wardrobe!” type. From cosmetics, to shoes, to handbags, to clothes, to treatments, hair and nails. It was bad! Really bad!

The rush of excitement when you see a beautiful garment in a store that you just have-to-have because it’s just so you. The adrenalin rush of a shopping spree, walking back to your car, bags in hand feeling so excited about how gorgeous you’ll look with a new mini wardrobe that will work together oh so well.

That last item that’s undecided but you just can’t go without always turns into “what the hell” and you blow the budget. Yep, it happens every time. In fact you’ve gotten extremely good at juggling the money around here and there to get by for the week, all in the name of a gorgeous pair of shoes. One shopping spree would only lead to an online shopping binge days later, or another trip to the mall next weekend to grab that other must-have item for the must-have item you purchased last week.

What about the dreaded ‘sell out’ when an item you’ve been eyeing off and weren’t quick enough to snavel has just flown off the shop floors and online stores!! The fear of missing out only fuels the adrenalin more!

Credit card debt sneaks in. Living from pay cheque to pay cheque in the name of looking gorgeous. Sometimes with little money left to be able to actually enjoy that party you bought the new skirt for in the first place. Savings? Who is Savings?

As you income gets nicer, so do your outfits. As you can afford more, the post purchase high wears off more quickly too. Guilt sets in eventually, but wears off almost as quick as the buzz from that new blouse.

It was a long, drawn out a-ha moment that lead me to count my hangers. Not in their entirety, because that would have taken 6 days! But now I can count them, and my count is 40. Forty hangers in my wardrobe. That’s right, I cleaned out the lot and have embarked on a challenge of sorts, known as Project333 or a Capsule Wardrobe. My capsule wardrobe rules are adapted to suit me, and I am living off of 40 items of clothing (or less), for 4 months. No shopping, full stop!

After a never ending cycle of shopaholic tendencies taken too far, I realised something needed to change. I cut up my credit card, and worked on reducing my shopping habit. The changes began and you can see my first thankyou to an inspiration of mine, Debbie Roes, here.

But the big shift came later. It was after a trip to southeast Asia with very little in my case, mixing and matching and making it work with what I had, I returned home to an overflowing, bulging wardrobe and then change really started to flow.  With washing and tidying often coming out my ears, it was near impossible to feel at peace and accomplished when it came to housekeeping. As cliché as it is, and very conscious of how lucky I am to have what I have… I still from time to time had nothing to wear that made me feel really amazing. There was always something new or better.

Soon after arriving home from overseas, for a night out I reached for my favourite tweed mini skirt, a basic long sleeve black top, last years’ black ankle boots and my adorable favourite leather jacket. The regular wardrobe faves made their way to the spotlight again!  Re-worn and re-washed, before they even made it back to the wardrobe. Meanwhile the other one hundred hangers are hanging, with sad forgotten garments that have hardly had their limelight this season.

Travel naturally inspires and opens up our minds. I was inspired, with a very a strong intuition that I have more to give to this world. I began soul searching and considering what would spark my passion, what more do I need to do to find my calling in life. Feeling unfulfilled, in debt and a harnessing a sense of wanting more, I realised something… What I need is not more…. what I need is less!

Less washing, less mess, less stress, less guilt, less debt, less wasted time, less frivolity, less waste, less clutter, less mind-fog, less anxiety.

In adapting to live with less in both my wardrobe and in my life, (bearing in mind I’m still an amateur) I have more time to get ready in the morning, a tidier more beautiful home, a beautiful wardrobe with only items I absolutely love to wear, all hanging beautifully on lovely wooden hangers that are reasonable to own because I only need 40! I have more balance, more money, more time, more freedom. And to my shopaholic counterparts, don’t despair I promise, I still look lovely at that fabulous party or trip to the market with the girls.

I do love fashion. I love dressing up and looking my best. I admire beautiful women and beautiful clothes and see it as a beautiful expression of who we are. I respect and adore the change in seasons and the new gorgeous pieces that hit the shops to change up our look. I love the creativity that fashion brings, the beauty of uniqueness and joy that transpires when we look and feel our best. But I have learned, I don’t need it all!!

The never-ending cycle of consumption is taking up the space (and money) of more important things we are destined for. As we work our butt’s off for that beautiful new car, to pay off the mortgage for that shiny modern home, dine in restaurants we can’t afford and put hundreds of items of clothing every year on credit cards we chase our tails paying off, we sometimes (very rarely but sometimes) stop to reflect and wonder why the equation doesn’t add up. Why with everything we dream of do we always set the bar higher? Why do we continue to make it harder for ourselves by wanting more and more? Why do we seem to think that oh-my-goodness that faux fur jacket will be that one last thing that makes it all perfect? Fleeting reflection turns back into a Monday morning early start and off we go back into the cycle. See for more to come into our life, maybe a more fulfilling job, relationship, hobbies or just more well-spent time, we need to make space and time for it to flow.

One hundred hangers is my journey to living with less. Whether you identify with my shopaholic tendencies, or a burning sense that you have more to give, I hope sharing my stories and tips will help you escape the cycle of guilt and spending, and find even just a little more peace or passion in your life. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way.

Jess xx

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