How To Learn From Your Shopping Mistakes With A Closet Purge

NEW shopping mistakes

how to make a closet purge a learning tool

a closet purge isn't always easy

“How long have you had this?”


“I’ve never seen you wear it. Have you ever worn it?”


“We are getting rid of it.”

But it still has the tags on it!!!!!!

“Well it’s ugly.” And with that she tossed it into the ever-growing mound of discards. By that point I was just hoping to have something left to wear the next day.

No, I wasn’t having a Gollum/Smeagol episode with myself. Everyone needs that friend who will come over and tell them their clothes are ugly and need to go. I have a friend like that (love you!), and she won’t let me lie to myself about what is in my closet and why. Or about how my butt looks (terrible) in those pants.

I take mistakes as a personal failure. I feel them deeply. Each one is significant to me, even if it’s small to everyone else, and my cheeks burn with shame over the smallest missteps. I especially hate making shopping mistakes because I hate waste. Buying something I ultimately end up not liking or wearing is a waste of money, and in the past I’ve held onto those mistake purchases because if I got rid of them, I would be admitting my mistake. But by giving them a home/grave in my closet where they never see the light of day, my mistake is hidden from view among all the other mistakes. For a long time my closet was the island of misfit clothes.  And they were all still wearing their tags.


how i use my shopping mistakes to become a better shopper

Instead of beating myself up for buying the wrong things, I’ve decided to focus on what I can learn from the items I purge from my closet. There is a theme in the items I’ve pulled out, and now I know what to look for so I avoid purchasing things with those same qualities. I’m in a refining stage of my wardrobe and style, and it’s the little details that make the difference now.

I realized that I go through stages of fixating on things and buying multiples of the same item. I shop Nordstrom like it’s Costco. “Does this come in a multi-color ten-pack? No? Just black? Fine, I’ll take 10 of those then.” Last winter my fixation was windowpane plaid rayon button up shirts. I wanted ALL THE COLORS because I found a black and white one that I loved. The next obvious step was to buy a rainbow assortment, right? I only ended up with 3, thankfully, but only for lack of opportunity.

What once seemed like a great idea, I now realize was me liking how something looked on someone else, but it wasn’t right for me. I’ve gotten pretty good at distinguishing that, but I still fall prey and need the occasional reality check. I am prone to style envy, but I know what looks and feels best on me, and I stick to it. Pinterest, I’m becoming immune to your adorable outfit collages!

By releasing things that I don’t love, that don’t love me, that are in sad shape, or make me feel bad, I’m left only with the items I LOVE, the items I wear, the items that make me look and feel my very best. My goal with each purge is to be left with a wardrobe I love, and that loves me back by flattering my body and my skin tone. I’m left with a wardrobe that tells a true story about who I am, how I expect to be treated, and what you can expect from me. I’m left with clothes that make me feel confident, secure, and put together.

My closet is curated and cohesive, making getting dressed incredibly easy and fast. I can get ready in 20 minutes or less because my wardrobe isn’t full of a mishmash of random things that don’t go together. It all goes together. Instead of failures, these items were successes because they taught me something! Through them I’ve been able to refine and define my style even more! As I whittle it down, it becomes a more powerful tool in defining myself. Now when I shop I know even more about what I do and don’t want to wear.

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how to do this in your closet

As you pull things out be honest about:

a. whether or not you actually wear it.

b. how you feel about the item.

If it’s something you put on and take off every time, or never put on at all, it’s not right for you. What emotions come up when you think about wearing it? A few years ago I had a large collection of flared skirts. They were soooo cuuuute on the girls on Pinterest, so naturally I had 15. Not one time did I wear one outside of my closet. I’d put it on, take it off and pick a pencil skirt. Why? Because in my head they felt like Scarlett O’Hara’s ball gown. I could see them out of my peripheral vision. I felt like a Christmas ornament. I kept trying to smooth and flatten them, and when that didn’t work, I took them off and changed clothes. Now I know not to buy that style of skirt. Ever. No matter how cute it is on Pinterest.

Anything that requires me to adjust it once I’m wearing it makes me anxious. I get actual anxiety about it. It becomes the front and center thing in my brain for the entire time it’s on my body. Now I know not to buy anything that won’t stay put.

After you pull things out, do you notice a trend of things you purged? Were they all itchy? Too small? High waisted? Too short in the sleeves? Too busy? ALL PURCHASED ONLY BECAUSE THEY WERE ON SALE AND IT WOULD BE DUMB TO PASS UP SUCH A GOOD DEAL EVEN ON SOMETHING YOU DON’T LIKE OR DOESN’T FIT (YET)? I only ask because I’ve never done that, but I’ve heard that some people do….*shifts uncomfortably and looks sideways*.

What are patterns you’ve noticed? What do you buy and not wear? WHY? If you can answer those questions, you will know what your shopping mistake is and your mistake will be a success!

In the first two videos of my closet purge, you’ll see a trend. I was surprised when I was editing the videos that everything I got rid of had a theme, and I’ve officially learned my lesson. I WILL NOT BUY THOSE THINGS EVER AGAIN. (No matter how good the sale is. Pinky promise).

In this closet purge video series you will see what I got rid of and why. I broke each category into its own video so they aren’t too long, and so you can watch the ones that interest you most or watch them one at a time as you have time. You’ll see 2 today, 2 next Tuesday, and 2 next Thursday, so be sure and check back!

winter closet clean out part 1 - shirts

winter closet clear out part 2 - sweaters and vests

a quick and easy make up tutorial that i wore in these videos

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase through my links I get a small commission, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

more resources for your style journey

It’s not you, it’s the pants Four tips to buy the perfect pants so you never have a muffin top again.

SS NotYou Pants


SS FBCallout
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