4 Steps To Take Before Spring Shopping

I can hear the birds singing. I can feel the warmer air each morning as I walk my son to the bus stop. I can see the trees starting to bloom. Everything around me is coming back to life and the excitement of warm, sunny days ahead fills me with hope and happiness.

Of course, it also has me thinking about clothes.

Spring fever can easily trigger us to overshop. This year, I am resolved to be more careful and mindful as I navigate my way through the “new” arrivals that fill the stores and online retail sites. I do not want to fall into the abyss of another spring shopping binge left with overstuffed closets and debt.

Here are the 4 steps I’m taking to manage my Spring shopping:

1. Determine Your Wardrobe Goals.

Instead of just purchasing every cute item you lay your eyes on, and then ending up with a disjointed, bulging closet with no rhyme or reason, take the time (and enjoy) planning out the type of wardrobe you would like to own.

I admittedly love fashion and I like to keep up with the latest trends. Over the last month, I have taken the time to assess which trends I’d like to implement into my wardrobe. I love the flowing, bell sleeves and wide bottom pants that I am seeing and enjoy the added romantic touch of lace and simple ruffles on dresses and tops. I am not, however jumping on the lavender bandwagon. While I do love the color itself, it is not the best shade for my skin tone.

I have also decided to stick to a certain color palette for the Spring and Summer, and will center my purchases to reflect this. I am focusing my wardrobe colors to be white, beige, and black. I will incorporate some “pops of color” by adding in some light pink, dark peaches and a little bit of golden yellow.

You can use Pinterest, magazines, or favorites blog sites for collecting fashion ideas. Having a clear focus of what you love and what you want your current look to be helps tremendously in determining what you should and should not purchase.

2. Shop Your Closet (and clean it out too)

Start with what you already own and set aside those pieces that fit into your season plan. This is the perfect time of year to do a closet purge, especially if you are already swapping out your fall/winter items for your spring/summer.

I do agree that the best way to purge your closet is to take each item and hold it up. Do you love it? Does it fit well? Does it make you feel pretty? Would you buy it again? If the answer to all these questions is not YES, then let it go.

I personally do not believe that having NOT worn an item in the past season means that I should get rid it. I own a lot of clothing and there are bound to be pieces I end up not choosing to wear each season. For instance, this year I happen to be more into sweaters that were shorter in length. Therefore, I didn’t wear all my tunic length sweaters. I still love those sweaters…it just wasn’t a look I was going for this year.

I also own a leopard cardigan that I love, but hadn’t worn in several years. I’m so glad I never got rid of it because this year I was into leopard again and wore it. I also own dresses that are beautiful but I just haven’t had the occasion to wear them. Use your own judgment… It’s important to really understand “why” you haven’t worn something before you toss it. It’s also important to understand why you decide to toss an item…this knowledge might help you avoid making the same mistake with future purchases.

With that said, I don’t think we should hold on to clothing that no longer fits in the hope that one day it will fit again. Leaving these items in the closet will only be a negative anchor…and will surely decrease self esteem. You don’t have to get rid of them, but at least move them out of your daily sight and store them elsewhere.

I once held on to a pair of “pre-pregnancy” jeans for 10 years. Then one year I had lost some weight and was able to squeeze into them again, BUT…I didn’t really like them anymore and ended up donating them! Since then, if something doesn’t fit, I just get rid of it.

I use to have so much clothing that I needed to store my off season wardrobe in several portable canvas closets in my basement. This past year, I have made major strides in going through and parting with so much. I can now store my off-season wardrobe in a spare closet that I have in my hallway that use to contain “overflow” pieces from my master closet. Having my off-season items hanging conveniently nearby makes it easier for me to see what I already own before I go out and shop for things I really don’t need.

Since I’ve decided to narrow my Spring/Summer wardrobe to a specific color palette, I am going to still have pieces that I love but do not fit in my current seasonal plan. Right now I am planning to keep these items in a separate section of my master bedroom closet or in my off-season hallway closet. I haven’t fully decided yet since I am not done switching, purging and organizing. The key is I want those pieces to be accessible in case I decide to add more colors back in, but at the same time I don’t want them crowding up my closet and making it more difficult for me.

3. Determine Your Budget

Know how much you can spend and keep track of what you are spending to avoid going into debt. This sounds pretty simple and easy, but as overshoppers know it can be very hard to do.

I, honestly, have never been great at budgeting. In my past, I simply bought whatever I wanted and worried about it later. I’d spend a little here and a little there and then the credit card bill would arrive and I’d be completely shocked at how all those “little” purchases added up!

I’m still not a great budgeter, but I have improved and continue to progress. I now am aware of how much I can afford to spend without going into debt, and I try to stay within this spending amount. There are still times when I end up dipping into the next month’s budget, and if that happens I know it’s time to tighten the reigns.

Going forward, I have decide to keep a written tracking system of what I am purchasing. Although my “mental” tracking system has worked pretty well for me the past few months, there have been occasions where I’ve experienced some “shopping amnesia”. Writing my purchases down will help me to know precisely what I’ve spent, and whether or not I’m within my planned budget.

For many years, I resisted tracking my purchases. I didn’t really want to know how much I was spending…I didn’t want to “deal” with the issue. But I learned a long time ago that ignoring things does not make them go away..certainly not debt!

I’ve come so far in the past year and a half, but I can still improve and budgeting is definitely one of those areas!

4. Make a List

Before heading out to shop, take the time to put together a list of what you want and then prioritize these items.

What do you want now and what can wait?

My recent shopping list has included a mix of casual and dressy items as I have a few events coming up including a graduation party, baby shower, bridal shower, and a wedding.

I prioritized my list by shopping for the dressy pants and tops first. I am hoping to wear the pants for one or two of the upcoming events , so it’s important to find a pair that I love! I don’t need the bridal shower or wedding outfit for a couple of months yet, so although I need to plan for them, I don’t have to spend money on that right now.

In fact, while cleaning out my closet, I came upon two new, unworn dresses I bought last year. They are both very pretty and as long as they still fit me well, I will likely choose to wear one for the wedding!

In the past, I would have rushed out and bought everything I “wanted” right away without taking the time to see what I owned, or prioritize my needs. Of course this would have meant adding more to my already crowded closet, spending more than I needed to, and still having many new items hanging and waiting to be worn.

There’s so many beautiful items in the stores right now and it can be both exciting and overwhelming. If you take your time and practice mindful shopping then you can actually enjoy shopping once again. You will find real satisfaction in buying something that you have planned for…budgeted for…have room for…and love!

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