LESSONS LEARNED WHILE PAYING OFF OUR HOUSE

Less is More | We Made it HomeI really like clothes. I love colors and textures and patterns and coordinating things so I pretty much think clothes are awesome. I even designed* for a major fashion retailer and lifestyle brand. This was the worst place to have to go every day while on a budget. You were most certainly judged on your appearance. It was everyone’s job to know what was relevant and trending and to look the part.  There was even an executive at one point who was rumored to have a shoe budget larger than my starting salary. When I first started I felt a lot of pressure to keep up, but quickly realized that it was a race I could not win.

I at least knew that I couldn’t afford the clothes that everyone was wearing, but I still felt like I had to do something. I would buy things on sale and stuff my closet with cheap clothes. I thought that I was being responsible by not buying really expensive things, but it turns out that buying a ton of inexpensive things was just as irresponsible. One day while I was cleaning out my closet bagging up things that I never wore for goodwill I was grumbling at how overwhelming the process was. Jason calmly looked at me and said very matter of factly, “well if you didn’t buy so many things then you wouldn’t have to give so many things away”. It was so simple and so rational and shined this huge spotlight on this gaping blind spot in my thinking. So it was then that I decided to go through my closet, keep only the things that I wore on a regular basis and start to be more intentional about my purchases.

Here are some things I learned through this process:

  • When you give away the things that are cluttering up your life then everything that’s left is the stuff that you love. Imagine if you loved everything when you flipped through your closet. When you see everything that you love it makes you more aware of everything that you have. It makes you happier. This means that getting dressed was no longer stressful. I wear fewer things more often and this has resulted in me wearing out clothes that I love so much. I never used to wear things enough to wear them out. I now get so much more use out of them.
  • I rarely buy new things now because I am so content with the things that I love. When I do buy new things it’s not simply because they are on the sale rack. It’s because I’ve worn something out and need to replace it, or because I know that it will be something that I would want to wear everyday.
  • Another thing that I had to remember is that good taste can not be bought. Even if you spend thousands of dollars on clothes you can still look ridiculous. If you have good taste you can shop at thrift stores and look like a million bucks.
  • I also noticed that the people who stood out to me as the most fashionable people kept their style astonishingly simple. They never looked like they were trying too hard.
  • I’m also always on the lookout for inspiring ways to wear staple items and keep track of them here when I need some inspiration.
  • And lucky for me looking like a hobo is pretty fashionable right now.

*Just realized I should clarify in saying that I designed HOME products for a fashion brand. I wasn’t a fashion designer :)

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4 thoughts on “LESSONS LEARNED WHILE PAYING OFF OUR HOUSE

  1. melody

    Thanks Haley for posting about this! Clothes shopping is one of my big issues. I try to shop at goodwill or thift stores, but find i am still buying too much stuff and don’t wear half of it. I know a big portion of my spending is on clothes. I always feel as if I need the newest things or need to keep up. When you were sticking to your budget, did you have a clothing allowance? You know for essentials or no buying at all? thanks again

    Reply
  2. Haley Post author

    Hi Melody,

    Jason and I each had a tiny portion of money set aside called blow money that we could use on whatever we wanted like coffee or lunches. I really ended up buying close to nothing over the past 3 years. Starting with a closet of simple wearable everyday items really made me realize that I already had enough. I know that that sounds totally insane but it’s true! Also realizing that all of our money was tied to our goal of paying off the house made it easier to say no. I wanted the paid off house way more than I wanted a new dress.

    I hope that helps!

    -Haley

    Reply
  3. Jenny

    Haley, this is so inspiring! I’m always thinking of ways to live more simply, and clothing is where I keep failing big time. I totally stuff my closet with inexpensive (and some not-so-inexpensive) things that I never wear, and I always feel guilty about it! I think this has given me the courage to tackle my closet problem once and for all. And I love the word “intentional.” Would make a good shopping mantra from now on. Keep posting, lady! :)

    Reply
  4. Ashley S

    And, Haley, I always thought you look so cute when I see you! Goes to show you don’t need to buy more clothes to look classy or stylish.

    Reply

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