Do your cupboard drawers barely close after you stuff in your whole T-shirt collection, forcing you to resort to violently pushing and tugging the furniture? Do the clothes in your closet hang so closely together that it is almost impossible to pick something out of the stacks? Are your shoes slowly beginning to take over the entire floor space of your room? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a shopaholic.
There is no need to panic. As a self-proclaimed recovering shopaholic, I am here to help you before it’s too late. I realized that I had a problem when I had to purchase an additional set of drawers to fit all of my possessions in my dorm room, in addition to the three suitcases currently under my bed stuffed to the brim with clothing that I never wear anymore.
I feel incredibly guilty getting rid of my clothing. I feel like I didn’t get my money’s worth out of the pieces, and that by getting rid of them, I am wasting my money, even though I never wore them anyway. Believe it or not, I actually imagine my clothes as having feelings, and that they might be upset if I decide to get rid of them — what a blow to their self-esteem!
Obviously, this is a problem, not only because I feel like I am living surrounded by cluttered, useless items, but also because I just keep bringing more stuff in. This is not only an emotional issue for me, but a financial burden and an unsustainable way of living. I struggle between wanting to have outfit options and having different pieces for different seasons, and desiring the peace of mind that comes with a minimalist space and wardrobe that only contains the clothing you truly love.
Recently, I have been taking steps and implementing measures to mitigate my shopping addiction and clear out my living space, and I want to share my tips with you, shopaholic to shopaholic. Unfortunately, the path to recovery is not easy, and it starts with a wardrobe purge. Curing this addiction does not only require you to change your spending habits; the first step is getting rid of everything that you may not wear or use.
“Do the clothes in your closet hang so closely together that it is almost impossible to pick something out of the stacks? Are your shoes slowly beginning to take over the whole floor space in your room? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a shopaholic…”
To start this process, pick out a free day (trust me, it will take all day) to go through every single item in your wardrobe, aiming to eliminate around 30 percent of what you currently own. Seriously ask yourself: How often do I wear this? Can I see myself ever wearing this in the future? Do I have any other items that are similar to this? Once you have your heap of exiled clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry, you can separate them into three main categories: sell, upcycle and donate.
If you feel that you have spent good money on a brand new item that you have barely worn, it is probably best to consider reselling it on an online marketplace such as Depop, eBay, Poshmark or Vinted. Make sure that your item is in good condition, take aesthetically pleasing pictures of it, write up an informative description and price it fairly — otherwise it will end up living in your closet for the foreseeable future. This way, you get rid of an item that is cluttering your closet and your money back, or at least part of it.
You may be left with pieces that are not in good enough condition to sell or may not be the trending items that buyers are looking for. In this case, I try to upcycle these kinds of items. For example, I recently made a pair of long jean shorts from a pair of jeans that I had ripped a hole in. Another time I cropped a denim skirt that I never wore, which has now become a staple piece. Upcycling allows you to feel like you have just acquired a brand new item, even though you haven’t spent any additional money on it and are not adding to the piles of clothing overcrowding your closet.
Finally, if the piece is in bad condition, you don’t feel bad losing money on it or maybe you just don’t like it that much, the best that you can do is donate it to your local Goodwill, thrift store or charity.
Another tactic against shopping that I have been trying out recently is the “one in, one out” policy. Whenever I purchase a new item of clothing and bring it home, I have to pick out one item that I will get rid of in return. This allows my cleared out closet to remain restricted and not allow it to become overflowed again.
I believe in you, my fellow shopaholics! Let’s overcome this addiction and leave the clutter in the past.
Writer bio: Elizaveta (Lisa) Gorelik CM ’25 is from Moscow, Russia. She is currently obsessed with the Western/cowboy aesthetic.