22 September, 2010

Precision Shopping - No Detours

I have, to put it politely, a shopping problem. I love buying things. In general, I love things (I'll have to write more on that another time). 

I like going through the store and touching things and trying things on and matching up clothes in outfits or putting together sets of dishes. I really enjoy it, and I do genuinely feel better after. I shop to make myself feel better, and that's not really a bad thing.

However, buying things I don't need or buying things that don't fulfill a specific want is a problem. I get distracted by things I wish I could want - or convince myself that I need something that isn't really a need. Or, I just go overboard.

It's a common problem (especially with people who have bipolar disorder). But, again, I REALLY love shopping and I REALLY love things, so I am trying to teach myself to shop responsibly. 

A few lessons I've learned:

  • Do pick up and try on anything, and as many things, as I want.
  • Don't buy everything that fits.
  • Do PRE-shop. This is only possible with stores that have an online face, but that's most these days. I go online, look at what they have let myself take it all in, and shop around a little for specific items.*
  • Don't give into "it'll do"'s. Just because it's good enough doesn't mean that it's what I should get.
  • Do set a time limit. If I'm just me shopping for as long as I want, I still make a limit now. Go home, take care of the pets, pick up something, meet someone for lunch.
  • Don't last minute shop. If I have an event coming up, I have to plan as far in advance as I can. The key here is to make sure I pick something to wear that I won't feel like it's a hassle to wear the night of the event.
  • Do learn your sizing and color options. I look completely terrible in pastel pink. I don't fit in petites, anything below a generous size 12 or above a small 16. I cannot wear mediums or smalls. If I take something into the dressing room that I look at and I'm like "if I wiggle this way...", it's not the correct choice.
  • Don't buy one-wear items. Unless it's something for less than $10 (emergency nylons or something), don't do it. It's bad. It's expensive. It'll screw ya.
  • Do try on everything possible. Sometimes, try it on twice. If I go through and I'm not 100% sure, I try it on again, and if I'm still not sure, I can't buy it.
  • Don't forget accessories. Sometimes, standalone pieces are great. Other times, though, I need to buy basics. I love jewelry and such, but can't wear it when my shirt overpowers everything.
  • Do learn how to wash stuff better. I am still working on this one! I shrink things, the colors get washed or I stain things. It's awful. I also avoid dry cleaning like the plague.
  • Don't buy fabrics that easily wrinkle. I won't iron things. I should seriously stop thinking I will. 

Any special shopping rules you have? I have had to really try hard to remind myself of these.

*This one is kind of new. I've started doing it so I don't get so overwhelmed by everything in stores, plus I can pinpoint what I want to try on and find the best prices for items that are very similar. I can also check reviews (for bad quality or strange sizing issues), and I've even started just putting things on future wishlists. It's nice!

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