I don’t know where I came up with the idea of evaluating my wardrobe in this way, but once I had the idea, I knew it would likely bring me information. Either way, I knew I had to do it.
At the end of December, I went through each piece of clothing I owned, gave it a number, evaluated its condition and other variables, and recorded the information.
I had three main questions:
1. How much money have I spent on clothing?
2. What percentage of my clothes were purchased through a second-hand outlet?
3. How many pieces of clothing could I part with?
WHAT I DID
To start, I brought out all of my clothes and designated space for three piles: unprocessed, processed, and for donation or sale. All items began in the unprocessed pile and after being evaluated and documented, they either landed in the processed pile or the for donation or sale pile.
One by one, I went through each piece of clothing I have and documented the relevant information into my Excel spreadsheet. The information I was collecting was: amount spent on item, item type, item brand, item condition, length of item ownership, method of obtainment, and frequency of wear.
It took me between three-and-a-half and four hours to go through each piece of clothing and document the information.
Below are charts highlighting some results:
One of the main questions I had was: What percentage of my clothes came from a second-hand outlet? First is knowing haw many pieces of clothing I have. Answer: 132 items. 68.93% were obtained used, 17.42% were purchased new, and 13.63% were gifts.
The most interesting method of obtainment was a dress I got for free from the trading post on Toronto Island. This dress was later tailored to fit better, which I did myself. You can read about this here.
While doing this study, I marked clothes for sale or donation, which has since led to the elimination of 37 items from my closet. 132 items before, 95 after.
Another consideration for me was how long had I owned the item.
Because I was living in a remote location for four months consecutively this year, I made < 3 Months consider all of the clothing purchases I have made since returning from that trip. 3-12 Months considers any clothing purchases made between January and September 2018. 12-24 Months considers all clothing purchases from 2017. 25-48 Months considers purchases from 2015 and 2016 and >48 Months considers any clothing purchases from before 2015.
When I worked at Value Village (Savers) as a Grader, I learned how to evaluate and assess clothing quickly. To assess clothing brand, I simply used the same considerations used at Value Village with the addition of the “Unknown” category. “A” brands refer to top name brands, “B” brands are good brands, and “C” brands are ones known for low-quality and mass-produces brands. “Unknown” refers to items without evident branding tags or logos.
Again, as a Grader at Value Village (Savers), I learned how to evaluate and assess clothing quickly. To assess clothing condition, I simply used the same considerations used at Value Village (Savers). I evaluated the clothes in their current state, not their condition at time of purchase. Top condition refers to items in a Like-New or Excellent-Used condition. Med Condition refers to items in good condition. Low Condition refers to items in poor condition with issues such as evident shrinking, pilling, or holes and stains.
How much had I paid for my wardrobe?
Overall, this equated to $11.82 per item. On new items, I spent an average of $41.91 compared to $6.55 per items purchased used.
It is important to consider the limitations for this portion of my study.
- For instance, I often remember how much was on the price tag for items, however, I tend not to consider the inclusion of taxes.
- There were items I couldn’t remember how much I had spent (exactly). In instances I could not recall how much money I had spent, I gave an estimate.
The cheapest item was a winter hat purchased used for $0.07. The most expensive item was a pair of leggings purchased new for $128.00.