How I Stopped Shopping

I used to have a problem with purses.

I still absolutely love them and imagine that I always will, but at my worst, I was acquiring a new purse every month, feeling overwhelmed and guilty, and when I wasn’t spending every minute checking the delivery status of my online order, I was researching my next purchase. Suffice it to say, it was a giant waste of time, energy and money and I’m going to share with you what helped me break that cycle. Maybe this information will help you and although this information is specific to purses, I’m hoping that it can apply to other types of over-consumption of material goods.

1. Identify the why behind the action

This was the most challenging but most crucial step to overcoming my shopping addiction and it is vital that you take the time necessary to uncover and understand your own why. I knew that every addiction had a psychological compulsion to it and if I wanted any chance of changing my behavior, I had to figure out why I felt compelled to continually be in the cycle of obsessing and acquiring purses.

For about a week I didn’t focus on changing my behavior, but instead simply checked in with my emotions before I was engaging in the behavior I wanted to remove and wrote it down in a journal with the date and time.

I found that for the overwhelming majority of the time my primary emotion prior to engaging in the cycle was boredom. And evidently I was bored a lot of the time and purse shopping was my automatic reaction to snapping me out of that uncomfortable state.

2. Make it hard

After I understood that this was an easy distraction that I was getting sucked into, I made it not so easy by blocking all of the sites that I was stalking on my phone and laptop, unsubscribing from marketing emails, unsubscribing and unfollowing people on social media who promoted the type of lifestyle I was trying to eschew, and removing apps such as eBay from my phone. This forced me to get up and find something else to do when boredom hit.

3. Yield temptation

Everyone has certain things they like and that’s what makes us different and interesting. I love purses and I’ve come to accept that. I wasn’t attempting to completely remove them from my life and come out of this a one bag lady. I simply needed to find a more satisfying and sane way to engage with them.

There’s a quote by Oscar Wilde from “The Picture of Dorian Grey” that applies directly to this step, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.”


If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll know that I am all about allowing oneself the pleasure of what delights you and curating a life of elegance and style. Resisting and denying are very uncomfortable and exhausting states of mind that can only lead to  buckling under the burden and ultimately engaging with what you’ve attempted to resist in a way that is unpleasant and vulgar.

This is why I’ve allowed myself any bag purchase (in cash!) once a year. For me it was important that I give myself full reign to consider any bag I wanted because once I started putting limitations, I could start to feel the temptation beginning to pull me into make a decision that I may later regret. I can’t tell you how many times I would fall in lust with a bag because it was “exclusive” according to someone, purchase it and then turn around and sell it in the space of a couple of months. Giving myself the time to consider my purchase and make the right decision for me and not what is trendy was going to allow me to enjoy my purchase with only joy and excitement.

It’s so freeing to be able to see a beautiful bag and not feel that twinge of temptation gnawing at me. I can feel that admiration and love and then simply let it go either because I know I can eventually have it if I really want it (once a year!) or because I know that just because it’s beautiful doesn’t mean it’s for me. Now, when I purchase a handbag the experience is completely rewarding and fulfilling in a way that hundreds of my previous purses never could be. I hope that if you are struggling with a similar issue that some of these tips will help you see yourself out of that.

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Purse Rehab: Balenciaga Work Bag

There’s very few things in the world I love more than purses.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a full obsession with them. Despite my insatiable love for them, I don’t love the prices that come from buying them at retail. It is always much more satisfying to have a designer purse without the designer price. Not only is it more economical, but purchasing pre-loved goods is also environmentally friendly since you’re essentially recycling existing products.

Some of the best deals to get are ones that require a little more patience and elbow grease. I’m going to share my most recent purse rehab with you today: a black Balenciaga Work bag. I’ll show you what the damage was, how I fixed it and a before and after comparison.

The Damage

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Good leather but could use some conditioning and a fresh dye

 

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All 4 corners had the black rubbed off from normal wear
Resin was rubbed off from both handles
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More resin removed

 

The Materials

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Tarrago Black Leather Dye was used to touch up the corners and to dye the entire bag

I followed the instructions on the box and dyed the corners and the entire bag black. The good thing about repairing a black bag is that the dye is very easy to match. I dyed the bag in the evening and let it sit overnight to make sure it dried. The dye was not overly messy — it seemed to dry within a few minutes of the application, but I left it just to be safe.

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Fiebing’s Black Edge Kote was used to repair the resin

While the bag was drying from the dye I started touching up the handles. Again I followed the instructions on the box and let this dry overnight as well. This was probably the most time-consuming part of the process. The consistency is between glue and water so it would set into the crack where the leather met in the handle and I would have to apply more coats on top of it. I used a thin paintbrush to apply the Edge Kote and I lost count of how many coats I applied to get the right thickness, maybe 20 or so coats.

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Leather Honey was used to condition the leather as a final step

The next day once the Edge Kote and dye were dry I finished the job by applying Leather Honey to the entire bag. It really made a difference in the condition of the leather. It because much more supple and brought richness and depth to the color of the bag. I used a foam brush to apply the thick conditioner. Unlike others I’ve used that are very watery, this conditioner is truly the consistency of honey. Despite the thickness of the conditioner, my bag soaked it right up within a few minutes so I applied three coats all over and let it dry overnight.

The Final Product

The picture on the left is the after and the right is before. The pictures don’t show it very well, but the leather is more supple and moisturized and the color is richer and more pigmented.

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A larger after picture

Below is a picture that shows the difference better; I did not condition or dye the leather patch that is inside of the front pocket. Compared to the rest of the bag, the leather patch looks drier and faded.

The Edge Kote completely replaced the missing resin. Now the handles are properly protected from any further damage.

The dye worked perfectly on the corners.

The leather tassels often become bent and scraggly with time. I simply conditioned the tassels with the Leather Honey, let them dry overnight and then ironed them straight on the medium setting while protecting them between a hand towel. Worked like a charm!

And that’s it! I paid $275 on this pre-loved Balenciaga and invested about $25 into the leather dye, conditioner and Edge Kote to bring it back to great condition once again. For $300 I found myself a beautiful designer purse, saving a bundle and helping the environment by reusing what was already there. I hope this helped you see how these products work and maybe will encourage you to purchase a purse that you think is far too damaged but just simply needs a little repairing.

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Minimalist Maintenance: Jewelry

The second part of this series is dedicated to cleaning out my jewelry and keeping only those pieces that I love to wear. I was determined to give away anything that I didn’t wear or had lukewarm feeling about, so I actually ended up donating about 80% of my necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Now my pieces are displayed in a pleasing manner that lets me truly enjoy and appreciate their beauty.

Take a look at the before and after:

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Not very appealing, is it?

Previously, I kept the bulk of my jewelry in this box. Everything from bracelets, anklets, necklaces, watches and earrings were tangled together which made it a headache to try and find what I wanted to wear. About 90% of everything here ended up being donated.

 

I found a lot of pieces that I hadn’t worn in about two or more years, so those definitely ended up going. The rest of them were no longer my style but were in perfect condition so I knew that someone else would get use out of them.

Now all of my jewelry is in my closet and put on display as if they are in a store. It’s so easy for me to see everything all at once and choosing my pieces for the day are so much more enjoyable!

 

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All of my jewelry in one spot and one glance!

 

This might have been the one of the more gratifying reorganizations that I completed. I just love how everything is easy to access, beautifully placed and of course, including the Hermes orange boxes and bags are a fun way to make use of them. One of these days I would like to upgrade the metal shelves to white wooden ones, but for the most part, I’m happy with my work. Now, getting ready in the morning is like going on a trip to the jewelry store and the best part is everything is already mine!

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Minimalist Maintenance: Nail Polish

For some people minimalism comes naturally. They easily remember to remove what is not needed, used or loved and their space is always organized in a way that thoughtfully showcases only their most precious possessions. They also don’t keep bringing clutter into the house.

*Le sigh*

I wish I was like that!

Last December I did a clean sweep of my entire house, room by room, and posted about it on my blog here. But here I am six months later and I’m beginning to feel that I may need some “Minimalist Maintenance”!

I’ll be posting weekly the different areas that I am pruning down, and this week is a small project: Nail Polish.

To be fair, I think a large part of the reason why I feel I could use some maintenance is not because I’ve brought in a whole bunch of things, but because what I realized when I spent the large part of this Saturday cleaning out my room was that I was ready to part with things that I wasn’t ready to part with six months ago. Suddenly I was ready to throw away, donate or sell jewelry, clothes, makeup and other cosmetics. I had absolutely no plans on doing this; I started with my nail polish and from there it kept going.

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Twenty-two nail polishes total to start with

I didn’t have a ton of nail polish but the way they were thrown into a big makeup bag made it a pain to see the colors clearly and quickly. Plus, it was obvious that I needed to organize them because I found this:

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Oops

Two clear polishes from the same company. I remember buying the second one a couple of months ago because I couldn’t find the other one even though I was sure that I still had some left.

After some humming and hawing, I separated what I was going to keep and what I was giving away. All of the ones that didn’t suit me, never used, or didn’t like the formula got the boot:

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So long!

And now I am left with a small variety of polishes that all fit snugly inside of a small makeup bag that was previously not being used:

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In the end there were thirteen, including 2 clear polishes 🙂

Now I can see exactly what I have so that I don’t have a repeat of purchasing anything twice and I’m excited to use some colors that I haven’t in a while. I also was able to use the bigger makeup bag for my actual makeup storage, which really needed it more than my nail polish did.

This small project was a great way to motivate me to tackle other areas that would require more thought and care like my clothes and jewelry. Next week, I’ll post my jewelry maintenance. I’m very proud and excited about the new way I’ve organized it all!

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Minimalist Challenge: Finale

I love my closet.

I’ve organized my clothes from light to dark, my purses are very prettily arranged along the wall and my jewelry is placed at eye level where I can easily see all of it.

To be honest, I don’t have many articles of clothing. I’ve found a good number of different outfits that I rotate and subtly change with accessories. I found a couple of dresses that I choose to donate because I didn’t absolutely love how they looked on me and so I barely wore them. I also don’t own a lot of jewelry. I choose simple pieces that I can wear with almost anything so I was happy with everything in my collection.

But my purses are a different story. Anyone who knows me knows that one of my most favorite things in the world is a fabulous handbag. So, my collection has more than just a few! This was where I knew I had an opportunity to sell down my collection.

There were models that I loved and had two colors of and I really couldn’t justify having two different colors of the same bag. For example, I had 2 Jerome Dreyfuss Billy bags (one in black and one in cognac), 2 Goyard St. Louis totes (black and blue), and 2 Gerard Darel 24 hr purses (beige and dark chocolate). I had to make a decision to get rid of both or at least one. I ended up selling the black Jerome Dreyfuss, the blue Goyard, and the beige Gerard Darel, along with a crochet Gerard Darel, a grey Gerard Darel Besace purse, a black Ralph Lauren purse I just never used, and my YSL muse bag. Selling all of these put a tidy sum back into my pocket and while I still have more purses than the average lady, I truly love each and every one of them.

With my closet cleaned out, that concludes the “Minimalism Challenge” for my house. I made a goal to finish this before the end of the year so that I can start off 2017 already streamlined and I feel so good that I did it. Now that I’ve got all of my material things under control I can focus on improving other areas of my life.

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Minimalism Challenge: 3rd Update

The storage room. The room that I was dreading the most to clean out. Partly because its full of things that I don’t want to sort though but mostly because its in a dark and drafty part of the house that I’m afraid of being in alone.

We moved into our house this summer and since then we’ve acquired all sorts of odds and ends that go into maintaining a house. We’re also using the room as a holding place for anything that we don’t know where to put or aren’t sure of what to do. It’s actually started to overflow outside of the room itself, so this purge is definitely needed.

My goal at the end of this is to know what is actually in that room, throw away the things we won’t use, and bring some organization to the area.

Stepping into the room I see the work before me. There are boxes of things I’ve forgotten, spare blankets and comforters, plastic bins of electronics, paint cans and paint brushes, roller blades, and so many other things.

First thing I do is get rid of the empty boxes that I thought I would use one day but probably never will, which frees up a lot of space. The bins of tools and painting equipment are set against on side of the room. Since I’m not quite sure what tools we will or will not be using in the future, I decide to keep them all since they are already organized into a plastic bin and don’t take up much space. I examine the plastic bin full of electronics and wires and I’m glad to see that I can actually discard most of them. The bins are mainly filled with random computer cables and headphones which I know we don’t use. The comforters and blankets I will keep. They were given to me by my grandmother and now that I have 2 spare bedrooms they will be used once the rooms are set up. The paint and equipment I will keep because we are actively painting and touching up various areas. The suitcases I will keep as well, since they will be used in the future.

…and with that, the storage room is done. Surprisingly, there wasn’t that much that I could get rid of. Maybe because I avoid going into this room, I don’t really put that much in it. I mainly reorganized what was inside and at least I now know what there is if I need it.

The last area that is left to purge is my closet. This is where I keep my clothes, my shoes and my beloved purses. It’s my favorite part of the whole house and its going to be tough to part with my purses, but I just have to keep asking myself if it is something that I use, value or love and all that remains will be a space that I adore even more.

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Minimalism Challenge: 2nd Update

Continuing in my office, I headed straight for the boxes of craft paper, office supplies, and notebooks.

I threw away any notebooks that I knew I would not use because they were used up, torn or otherwise in pretty bad shape. I kept the rest since I knew that either my husband or I would use them eventually out of necessity. In the same pile, I got rid of a whole host of plastic accordion file folders, paper folders and binders. I like buying different types of organizational tools if their style or patterns catch my eye, but you can only go through so many of those before they start to add up.

I also had a box of pens, pencils, pencil cases, paperclips, erasers, binder clips, stickers, and different types of post notes. It was hard for me to choose what to get rid of with the pens and pencils because there were quite a few that I had spent a tidy sum of money on because I only buy and use rollerball pens, but only the .5 millimeter size — so all the .7 millimeter sizes could go. I ended up giving them to my husband because he is not as particular as I am with pens. I now only have office supplies consolidated in a box and only those supplies that I know I love and will use.

I’m a planner junkie, but there’s only so many planners you can use at one time. Lately, I’ve been trying out using my iphone as my planner (it’s okay but I still prefer writing things down and will switch back at the start of the new year) so I had a spare arc system notebook with all of the inserts, a personal filofax with all of the inserts, two 2016 week on 2 pages planners and midori traveler’s notebook in both sizes. I tend to acquire a new planner whenever I get bored with life and want a lift in my routine. I threw away the two 2016 planners since they were half used and listed the filofax and the arc system on eBay since they were barely used and decided to keep the midori notebooks. I’d had them for a over 5 years and they had a lot of sentimental value to me although I don’t use them at the present.

A while back I got caught up in the whole planner decorating kick, but it has long since fizzled out. I just don’t have the time or desire to do it and my tastes run more simple than that. However, I had purchased a laminator, a paper cutter and a set of Martha Stewart decorative paper punchers that I used perhaps twice, so those went on eBay too.

With that, my office is done. I now have my makeup items in one corner, a box of all of the notebooks and office supplies that I decided to keep in storage, and my desk with just the right amount of supplies in it. It feels good to get rid of what I don’t use and to know that I love what I have so that I can make smarter purchases in the future.

Next up is the storage room. I can’t even remember what’s in there at this point, but I have a feeling I won’t have trouble remembering once I’m done!

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