Save Money and Declutter Your Closets

I am off to give a talk this weekend and before I saw my 401k slide down the slope I would most likely have gone out and bought some accessory or even a new outfit for the event. I stopped myself from grabbing the keys and heading to my downfall, the Eileen Fischer outlet, a few times. As the weekend wore on I was impressed that I withstood the urge to shop. It isn’t that I am much of a shopper, either, but having a lot of clothes is part of modern life, it seems, or maybe I just crept into this from being around teenage girls with my daughter: For not too much money they can have huge wardrobes.

I withstood the urge and chose a shawl to wear that garners compliments whenever I have it on. That feels perfect. It has happened to me before when my workload is high that shopping became welcomed downtime with a lure of satisfaction. It takes a weekend like the one I just had to snap me out of the misplaced priorities. I found myself so much more relaxed with extra hours at home to enjoy the abundant golden orange fall colors and walk with dogs in the last of the summer sun. I felt satisfied on such a deeper level than I would have felt with a new pair of pants. Lastly, of course, this change saved gas and untold resources, depending on what I would have bought.

Thinking about my wardrobe in this way at this time was perfect given that it is getting cold! I have to finally really swap out my summer for fall and winter clothes. A great time to clear out the clutter, I’m putting into practice the 20/80 rule, focusing on the 20 percent of the clothes that I wear 80 percent of the time, and thinking about what the clothes in both piles have to tell me. Following this barometer is helpful because it will inspire you to buy less since before each purchase you ask yourself if this new garment will be added to your 80-percent pile.

Here’s another cool way to look at clearing out clothes, tame the expense, and yet still be able to hold one’s head up in pubic: Learn about creating clothes clusters, which are five to eight clothing items that work together, that can be dressed up or down. “Group similar colored garments together, and think, ‘What could I add to this group to form a cluster?’ A stay-at-home mom might cluster her acid-wash denim jeans and white T-shirts with a pieced jean jacket, a coordinating tapestry vest, and a long red tunic/sweater,” writes Cynthia Ewer at

Combining the 20/80 rule with creating clusters seems a smart way forward through the morass to me. I am sure I will buy less, buy more thoughtfully, and pass more onto Good Will or Salvation Army. Seems like a win/win to me, although I can’t quite bring myself to thank the stock market crash for getting me to see the light.


Elizabeth P.
.5 years ago

feng shuiing some points for the animals ...

Judith Symonds
Judith Symonds5 years ago

Interesting thoughts. One of my long distance girlfriends taught me to keep a salvation army bag in the bottom of my closet by the door and any time that I wear something and it doesn't make me feel great or if I find something at the back of my wardrobe that I haven't worn all season, then I put it in the bag. That way, it saves time and the decision is a split second decision! I don't have to allocate a whole day to cull my wardrobe & it works just as well for the kids.
The other thing that I put into place this year after I read one of Deepak Chopra's books was that I realised that every weekend I go out and bring back many new things for the house etc, but nothing flows through and out. So, now for everything that comes in, something goes out. Either donations to salvation army or donations of children's clothes or books that are too young or small to other families with younger children. Every week I make a little money by selling some things in an online auction. Every Friday, I make a point of finding two things of value that I can auction that we don't need or use (this week it was an unwanted prize that we won). Deepak Chopra teaches that such a philosophy keeps the energy flowing.

Thanks for letting me share guys.

~ Judith Symonds

Jane L.6 years ago


Adam R.
Past Member 7 years ago

Organize hanging clothing by type: long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved shirts, tanks/camisoles. Long pants, cropped pants, skirts. Dresses, jackets, coats. Within each category, arrange by color. This arrangement will speed morning outfit coordination.

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Sonia S.
Sonia S.7 years ago

In helping me find the 20/80 garments in my closet, I have found a method that works well. At the beginning of each season when you're hanging your garments in the closet, put all the clothes hangers backwards on the rod. After you wear a particular garment throughout that season, replace the garment back on the rod with the hanger facing the normal way. Then, when the end of the season comes and you switch out your wardrobe, get rid of all the clothes on the clothes hangers that are still backwards! You didn't wear them this season, and you probably won't be wearing them next season either! This method has worked wonders for me and I hope it's helpful to you as well!

Annie Bond
Past Member 8 years ago

Nikki,how did you manage such a low grocery bill? Did you grow all your food?

Nikki Jones
Nikki Jones8 years ago

PS - My grocery bills for the last 3 months have not been more than, $10 - not badand guess what I haven't been starving or had to give up anything!!! :-)

Nikki Jones
Nikki Jones8 years ago

Once again, another mention of the economic crisis - well still believing it's the greedy people who caused (getting credit cards, loans etc they can't afford!) - think locally and act locally help those in your immediate environment, ie exchanging fruit, veg, food stuffs doing jobs for each other - it builds a community and you live so well without repayments!!!! :-) IF EVERYONE was to think locally, act locally then I think the global community would really be able to say hey we're doing it the globe is a better place!

Tink C.
Past Member 8 years ago

I did not shop this weekend. I just stayed home. We have to save.