The 21 Day Closet Fix

After completing my closet-clean out inspired by "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, " I didn't want to undo all the work I put into cleaning out my closet just by buying a bunch more stuff to put into it! But after checking in with my shopping bans friends (here), I knew the ultra-restrictive shopping ban was not for me. It would lead to obsessing and probably spending as much or more than I saved when it was all over and I was "free." Also, the closet clean out showed me that I really have one major problem area that I need to work on more than others. So along with my friend Skye, we've come up with something that's more like Closet Lipo than a Closet Diet...a 21 Day Closet Fix. We're 12 (successful) days into it so I'm ready to share the details for those who want to know more or might have a problem area of their own to fix.

1. Identify the Trouble Zone

Hint: This is my trouble zone (Image via Express)

The number one lesson I learned in my closet clean out is that tops are my closet trouble zone. I just buy too many! It's the easiest way to make a new outfit, and if I like something in one color I want it in all the colors (this is no surprise to my regular blog readers who have seen my Portofino and Barcelona collection habits). Plus, tops are generally cheaper than jeans or bags or shoes, so it doesn't seem like I'm spending a lot all at once to get a new look and I can buy without trying on and usually they'll fit. But still...seeing how many I got rid of in my closet clean-out yet still having a full closet left to work with made me want to work on this specific area. Skye shares the same trouble zone and we have talked about it in the past with each other, so I asked her to join me on a shopping restriction so we could keep each other accountable.

2. Do Some Math

With summer just starting, we decided to not buy any new tops until we had worn all of the summer tops we already own. We each went to our closet and counted exactly how many we had in there (this did not include multi-season tops like T-Shirts or Portofino shirts). I had 18 and she had 30, so we went in the middle and agreed not to buy any new tops for 21 days while we wear what we already have.

This might sound silly, but just this one simple step in the plan made a light bulb go on for me and helped me commit fully to the plan. Knowing I had 18 days of summer tops to wear without a single repeat made it just seem unreasonable to buy anything new prior to that. I want to make the most of the pieces I own, not just wear them once and store them in my closet for months while I collect more new stuff.

Also, just out of curiosity, I figured out that Official Summer is 93 days long. If I repeated just the same 18 tops over and over again, I'd only wear each one 5 times this summer. That's probably just enough to make me feel like I got really got good use out of my favorites without constantly wearing the same outfit all the time.

3. Incentives and Accountability

I am really glad to be doing this with a friend for some accountability, and now obviously there's public accountability since I'm sharing here! I think I need that element in order to stick to this plan. Skye and I also borrowed the incentive idea from the #JuneClosetDiet girls on Instagram (details here), and we've agreed that if one of us breaks the 21 Day Closet Fix and buys a top we have to buy the other person a Kendra Scott Rae necklace. I don't own any Kendra Scott jewelry although I've always admired it, so I'd hate to owe someone else a necklace that I want just because I bought a shirt!

4. Trickle Down Effects

I thought that putting myself on a restriction plan like this would just make me shop more in other departments, but so far it's done the opposite. For the twelve summer tops I've worn so far I already have outfit components like shorts or pants and jewelry to go with them. If I bought more shoes or accessories they would just start becoming like tops where I didn't get enough use out of what I already have. I don't even find myself feeling trapped because I know that I can already wear something different every day until it's over.

5. Results

So far it's been a very positive experience. Restrictive but not too restrictive, therefore realistic. I am considering repeating the challenge again after the 21 Days because I really like how it makes me look more logically at my closet, e.g. "I've only worn that top once this summer. It is by no means old so I don't need something new." It makes it easier for me to resist temptation in stores or when I see something I like on someone else by knowing I still have ten more tops I haven't even worn this summer (or whatever the number is). It also makes it a little easier to get dressed each day of the challenge because I'm choosing from a smaller number of unworn items each day. I'm sure everyone will have a different set point of how many tops/shoes/pants etc. gives them enough personal variety, but I think this is going to be a good way for me to find out and set some finite limits going forward so I don't go back to my old ways.

I asked Skye for a comment on how she was doing on the challenge (I thought for sure she would owe me a necklace by now!), and she is also feeling positive about it. "It makes me actually look in my closet instead of grabbing for the same things and thinking everything I own is old. It's exciting!"

Update: I wrote this post on Sunday. On Monday, Skye was texting me about a shirt she needed that was on sale for $20. (It figures that would we go on a top-buying ban right as Express has a sale on tops!!!) I told her by all means get the shirt because it will really only cost her $85 after she buys me the Kendra Scott necklace, and I am so excited about that necklace! I think some curse words came after that, but I also think she resisted the purchase. When all is said and done she might be singing a different tune about how much she liked this experiment!

* * *

Skimmer's Digest : I'm not buying any new tops for 21 Days. I already have enough tops. I'm not sure how I turned this into such a long, text-heavy post but thanks for scrolling to the end. If you want to see my parade of 18 Different Summer Tops make sure to follow me on Instagram or catch my Friday outfit recaps!

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  1. lol you do have a lot of tops, me I have a lot of everything smh. But I'm happy you found something that worked for you. :) have a safe trip.


  2. Oh my goodness! I really love all your ideas on dealing with the shopping ban. I probably have that many tops at least! I need an accountability partner, for sure. My girlfriend came over the other day with two impulse dress buys for the weekend and I wanted to just head out the door or onto my laptop to do the same. Eesh.

  3. Oh my goodness! I really love all your ideas on dealing with the shopping ban. I probably have that many tops at least! I need an accountability partner, for sure. My girlfriend came over the other day with two impulse dress buys for the weekend and I wanted to just head out the door or onto my laptop to do the same. Eesh.

  4. Oh I love the accountability part! That would get me to follow a shopping ban for real!! Haha Can't wait to see all the ways you style your tops ;)


  5. Totally with you on the problem with the tops! I agree that tops can make a whole new outfit so I always find myself buying new tops and then pairing with shorts, skirts, jeans, etc. that I already have. Good luck on completing your challenge - looks like it has been a success so far!
    Carrie and Stacy
    CS Gems

  6. You are too funny! I curse the idea of agreeing to this shopping ban and when it's all done, I'm going to buy me the Rae necklace and take many pics with all my new shirts and text them all to you. Just kidding. That is how I feel when I ban wine on weekdays. I get wino crazy! Well, I'm trying to be strong. Don't know how long this will last. I may need your home addy soon :)))) I also need a hug because I just reverted to a big arse baby over this!!!!

    1. Aww!! Hugs are free in this deal. It's only shirts that get expensive when you add in the cost of a necklace. Can we change the rules so you buy me a KS something for EVERY new top you buy??? I like her earrings too. Ha ha ha!!

  7. I love this idea! I'll have to find a friend to do it with, because I want her to crack and buy me something :) just kidding! I definitely have plenty of summer tops that I never wear, and end up wearing the same few tops over and over. I'll take them all out tonight and make sure I wear them all before I go shopping!

  8. first off, I had no idea the Kendra necklaces were so expensive. Ouch!

    The first time I did a no shopping month, I told myself no clothes, shoes etc. You know what I did? Bought like 30 books, zero exaggeration. I also bought a bunch of stuff for around the house. I basically just turned my spending elsewhere. So the second time I did it, I told myself no nothing. The books hurt most of all! But honestly, I pinned a few things that I wanted to buy at the end of the month, and when the month was over I bought... none of them. It just showed me how much of an impulse shopper I am.

    Like you said though, you don't *need* any more tops, and that's how I am with my closet right now. I wear work clothes like 80% of the time, lounge around the house / workout clothes 15% of the time, and 'fun' clothes 5% of the time (these % might not be accurate) and that includes casual fridays at work. I don't need any more work clothes, I certainly don't need any more lounge around the house clothes.. what I like to buy is fun clothes and considering I don't wear them enough, it's silly.

    When I stopped shopping in April.. I am embarrassed by how much our savings account increased! It wasn't just clothes I was buying, but random shit here and there and it adds up so fast. I don't want to be that girl!

    Anywho, I'm rambling. shocker, I know. I like your restriction plan, but because I don't have specific things I buy (I'm a bit all over the place) I'm still going to try my shopping ban for 6 months.. which starts today... wish me luck! Also, don't judge that I bought a few things yesterday ;) I was safe! haha.

    1. LOL!!! No judging! I would do the same thing! I think if you know that you are set with your wardrobe for awhile and know that you want that money for something other than clothes you are making the right choice! Your explanation of your lifestyle + clothes you already have vs. what you would buy makes total sense! I will do my very best to be supportive!

  9. I love this closet lipo!! Lol!! I have enough summer tops too so I could totally do the same!! Some of the Rae necklaces are on sale now so..... Lol!!

  10. I think this is so perfect! I think no shopping for a month would make me fall in love with the pieces I have now! Great Post!

  11. I just ordered some Kendra Scott jewelry. It came while we're gone on vacation. I can't wait to open it when we get home next week. On the the lipo- I have no doubt that you and Skye will be successful. It helps that you both have super cute tops to wear. I have way too many tops too. I think I need to do something like this but with Target. I am always in there and always end up buying crap I don't need.

  12. Fun idea! I like the idea of counting your summer tops and making sure you wear each one before buying new! PS Kendra Scott jewelry is my faveee! you need some haha!

  13. Great tips!! It's definitely easier said than done. I'm such an impulsive shopper! When it comes to anything else, I probably think things through a little too much but I can't seem to apply that to my shopping!

    The Closet by Christie

  14. This is such a great idea and so much more doable than a complete no buy. I have to admit that when I saw that top picture, for a second I really did think it was your closet. If I did do this, I think I would try to do shoes and jewelry--which is hard after you showed that picture of the Rae necklace. I hope you get it and good luck with this challenge.

  15. I'm not surprised at the TOPS issue! LOL I have too little tops...I'd be happy to take some of those Express portofinos and barcelona cam's off your hands girl!


  16. I think part of the challenge come with blogging. My blogging partner, Kacie, and I always feel like we need new fresh items to feature on the blog when in actuality, your old clothes can be just as cute when restyled as new ones. I say it's definitely a fashion blogger problem for sure. We may have to do this 21 day challenge and force ourselves to wear things we already have. Thanks for sharing your story!

    XO, Jaime

  17. I for one don't have enough top and I need to correct that. I also need to stop buying the same type of top, because right now I'm hook on the express cami and portofinos shirt....need different style. I have been good on budgeting, but I have not been good on buying thing strictly off my wish list. Need to work on that. Great post as always, I really enjoy reading this post.

    Kreyola Jounerys | Instagram

  18. #3 is the best idea ever, I would really hate the idea of buying something I wanted for someone else and just wasting that money (even if i loved them like i do my pals) haha. Great plans of action!

    Eleventh & Sixteenth

  19. I love this idea and seems more doable than a complete shopping ban. I didn't make it through the June closet diet and already shopped today. I know you will do awesome since you are almost 1/2 way through!


    Would love for you to stop by & join TBT Fashion link up.

  20. This is the best idea! I really need to do something like this because I feel like I don't have enough tops when I probably do. It's great that you are holding each other accountable and would be willing to do it again! I love Kendra Scott jewelry but hopefully you both will be able to purchase one on your own and not because you broke the rule!


  21. Now that is good advice!

    Lovely blog, I follow you now


  22. This seems like such a great idea! tops are my problem area too. Especially since they don't all match with all the bottoms I have so it becomes tricky finding something to wear, and so to solve the problem I just go buy more...haha. I do have a gap in my wardrobe for some plain, block colour tops. However I need to get rid of some of the printed ones I own to make room for those I think! :)

    My challenge to myself is to wear things I buy twice in the month after I've bought them. After not managing to do that with all my tops in May's purchases, I knew that in June I'd have to return all the tops I bought (And I did). They were just never going to get worn!

    Away From The Blue

  23. I love this idea! I can't wait to count my tops and give this a try!! P.s. If you are ever in need of fresh accessories, I'd love to be your Stella & Dot stylist - bit.ly/stylist_hrh

  24. I love this idea!! I have a top obsession too for the same reasons. I may have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing. xo ~ Megan The Fashionista Momma

  25. My prayers are with you girl, just stopped by to show you some love! Take care xoxo



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