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4 secrets to mastering the art of shopping your closet

Do you ever get invited to an event and automatically think… I have nothing to wear?

Maybe you know exactly what kind of dress would be perfect for the event, or you just feel like getting something new to feel your best.

I get it.

But I also know how you can end up with a closet full of dresses you have only worn once when you still have credit card debt to pay off and savings goals to hit.

I don’t want you to never shop. I don’t want you to keep re-wearing old clothes you don’t feel good in. But I do want you think strategically before you choose to invest in new pieces for your wardrobe by shopping your closet first.

When your brain starts automatically telling you, “I NEED something new,” you have turned off the creative side of your brain that could help you find a more creative solution than hitting the mall.

I want you to start to re-wire that part of your brain by remembering that before you buy something new, you need to shop your closet.

It’s so simple, but so overlooked. We forget about what we already have, which is why we somehow end up with 6 black dresses in our closets! Rarely worn, embarrassingly similar.

These duplicate and only worn once purchases can be avoided by taking the time to really look through your things before making a new purchase. When tackled with a creative spirit, you might find a dress in the back of your closet that will be perfect with a little love.

Becoming the best steward of your money isn’t just spending less, but feeling great about all you already have.

Now, if you are thinking this doesn’t apply to you because you can afford to go get a new dress if you want one. Good! That is great! If you need a new dress and you can afford one, you should get one.

But I want to first challenge you:

Even if you can afford more, do you really need more?

To help you answer this question, and to shop your closet more efficiently, follow the steps below:

1. Clean out your closet.

Clean out your closet in a ruthless way you never have before. If you have never really liked something, throw it out. Having a few things you love feels way better than a closetful of things you don’t. After you clean out your closet you will have more space to see all the things you love and you will be able to take a better inventory of what you have… or don’t.

2. Make a list of things that you would like to buy to fill gaps in your closet.

If you don’t have a black dress you love, probably a good idea to invest in one. Sandals falling apart? Add them to the list. These gaps won’t all be filled tomorrow, but when you’re out shopping for yourself you can mentally check your list to see if the items are something you actually need.

3. Take the time to style a couple outfits in new ways.

This is where you harness your creativity and make something new with what you already have! Add a scarf, belt, chunky jewelry, different shoes, etc. When you take the time to do this, you will find that you have some combinations that make it feel brand new.

4. Take the time to preserve your clothes.

Your clothes can last longer when you take care of them. If you have a favorite dress or two, bust out the iron or get them dry cleaned to keep them looking their best.

The art of shopping your closet is a financial skill. It’s using your creativity to re-purpose what you already have. Because you don’t always need more, or new.

This skill set isn’t limited to your closet. Here are a few more examples:

* Re-arrange the pillows in your house for a fresh look.
* Have a “use what you have” dinner week and get creative in the kitchen.
* Pledge to read a handful of the unread books you already have before you buy more.

These are simple, small things. But the simple, small things shift our default from needing something new to finding a way to meet our needs with what we already have. It is so easy to let the stuff we buy get out of control. Let’s get back to the basics, and remember that getting creative and pausing to take a second look with fresh eyes can solve a lot of needs.

Are you ready to see what your numbers tell you when you shop versus when you don’t? Sign up to get my budgeting starter kit, which includes the shopping categories I use for my family.