Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Recovering Omniomaniac

Good Evening Lovely Readers

Today I learnt a new word - "omniomania" .......... it means compulsive shopping.

Regular readers will know that not so very long ago I had a clothes clear-out (as well as a clear-out of almost every other type). So, sane people would assume that I now have a clutter-free wardrobe. Unfortunately, that is not the case and having followed recent programmes on British television showing a variety of people and their obsessive collecting/hoarding/spending, I realise that I have an issue. 

Okay we don't actually have to crawl  through small tunnels burrowed through clutter and most of the house is pretty reasonable, but I have hoards! The garage and the attic are stacked to the rafters and it was getting impossible to get anything in or out of my wardrobe(s). So in true AA style - here's my confession ...... my name is Mrs Thrifty and I am a compulsive shopper. 

Now before you ask me what I am doing when I am claiming to be thrifty and frugal, I have only bought 2 new t-shirts (Deben**** sale) and a cardigan off ebay since January, all of which were needed and have been worn to death. In fact, it is the very hoard of assorted clutter that has motivated my frugalia (I think I just made up a word!).  I rarely buy clothes at full price, but if they are reduced I buy them ... or used to!  I have often wondered why I am addicted to shopping (and food while we are on the subject - might as well go the whole hog - but I don't do drink, or drugs, or cigarettes). A quick look on the internet gave the following information....

"There are several characteristics that shopping addiction shares with other addictions. As with other addictions, shopping addicts become preoccupied with spending, and devote significant time and money to the activity. Actual spending is important to the process of shopping addiction; window shopping does not constitute an addiction, and the addictive pattern is actually driven by the process of spending money.

As with other addictions, shopping addiction is highly ritualized and follows a typically addictive pattern of thoughts about shopping, planning shopping trips, and the shopping act itself, often described as pleasurable, ecstatic even, and as providing relief from negative feelings. Finally, the shopper crashes, with feelings of disappointment, particularly with the him/herself.

Compulsive shoppers use shopping as a way of escaping negative feelings, such as depression, anxiety, boredom, self-critical thoughts, and anger. Unfortunately, the escape is short-lived. The purchases are often simply hoarded unused, and compulsive shoppers will then begin to plan the next spending spree. Most shop alone, although some shop with others who enjoy it. Generally, it will lead to embarrassment to shop with people who don’t share this type of enthusiasm for shopping."

I guess it is all linked to low self-esteem - I need to shift some weight and hate the way I look, so I buy clothes because I think that they might just hide the excess weight - so who am I kidding?

Well, all I can say is "Oh dear" and I know what you are waiting for .... you want the evidence don't you? I thought so. Okay, so here is my next attempt at my wardrobe which happened last weekend..... it is a work in progress:

So, now you believe me..... and guess what? 

There's more!

What you can see is just my winter clothes. As well as this lot there are 6 plastic boxes on top of the wardrobes. In the attic are my summer clothes - I am guessing there are around 8 boxes of clothes up there. On top of what you see, there was a huge pile of clothing on the landing waiting to go to the charity shop. Last summer I gave 18 bin bags of clothes to charity - yes, that's right, 18!!!!!

I read a blog the other day and the writer (a woman) said you only need about 7 everyday outfits ... I think I have more than 70; actually that is probably a conservative estimate! I would actually really love the freedom that would come from only having 7 outfits.

So, come on lovely readers, if these were your clothes, where would you start? Do you suffer from omniomania? Or do you shop for other things that you don't really need? The wonderful Sue over at Our New Life in the Country is living this week on £1 a day  -      So, while she is doing that I feel even guiltier about my hoard and all I can say is that I have stopped buying ... I am  just finding it hard to get rid of everything. But before you ask, I am back on the weight watchers programme!

Love Mrs Thrifty


  1. Have you checked out Project 333 or the blog 365 Things? One focuses on creating a small wardrobe the other on getting rid of one thing a day until you reach the right amount for you - however long it may take and that includes everything not just clothes. People who have participated in both say they have lost interest in shopping as a result. Brave of you to put this out there!

  2. Hello:
    We are somewhat surprised to read this, Mrs. Thrifty, as we had rather assumed, wrongly as it would appear, that your thrift would have applied to your wardrobe, as to other things, and that you would, in the cause of thrift, have few, rather than more, carefully chosen items of clothing which would have been selected with great care for their versatility and suitability to all manner of occasions. Clearly, judging from the pictures which you show, this is not so. But we are not here either to judge or criticise but rather to hope that wherever and for whatever your shopping takes you, you have great fun and enjoyment.

  3. I so definitely do have Omniomania!! Haha, at last a label I can put on my need to buy, not clothes but craft supplies.

    I feel better just for having defined the problem. Hopefully you do too!

    Arwedd xx

  4. I do believe that every human is addicted to SOMETHING!

    Take comfort that yours is not hurting anyone! Not even your bank balance if you get special deals.

    Turn this into a positive. You can get the pleasure of donating to charity. You can get the satisfaction of making money from ebaying. You can see more space appear for family and fun!

    See it as a challenge and get busy doing it.

    But don't put it off! As it's draining your positive energy.

    Good luck!

    Sft x

    P.S. Saw a lovely report about a Cockadoodle hearing dog on The One Show tonight.

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  6. Bloomin' eck Mrs T!

    I had a well worded response to your post but Sft beat me to it and far more eloquently to boot!

    As Sft says, we all have something we like to collect/hoard. Mine changes but is currently pine furniture that I'm intending to relove and recyle ( when there are 25 hours in the day!)

    Get what you don't wear/like on eBay and get one of Sft's progress bars to chart your sales! There must be something nice you want to treat yourself to? And this would be a great way :-)

  7. Half the battle, as they say, is admitting to the problem, so on a positive note you are 1/2 way there ! xxx If I could have 1/2 my hubby's time, maybe we could get at the crazy yechy rooms in the basement, shed & barn ...oh my, I do believe my hubby is a hoarder or something ! LOL Not going to happen with his new business just starting, however I try to get rid of something every week.

  8. Thanks Juhli - I have found both of those blogs and find them very useful x
    Jane and Lance - I am a flawed human being and probably do wear only a few carefully chosen outfits - the rest is 'clutter' and the results of years of unhappiness. As I mentioned, I have only bought 3 items this year and on a shopping fast (long term) - thank you for your support x
    Arwedd - a tough post to write, but felt it timely - thanks for your comments x
    SFT - positive as always - thank you - and yes, got a letter the other day from the local cancer shop where I donate saying they had raised well over £100 from my donations - a new thing they have to do because of the Tax Man is write to donors - felt quite pleased with myself xx
    MabelandMaisy - am on to it - thank you - have made around £300 so far this year through ebay - I must do the bar thing - good advice xx
    Cindy - thank you and good luck with the hubby xx

  9. PS Should I have written that I am a recovering omniomaniac? I don't "do" shopping now xx

  10. Gosh , you could really make some money by selling your 'extras'.
    Jane x

  11. Mrs. Thrifty, Alas I am not a shopper, well I do have a weakness for books, but I am learning to temper it a little with frequent visits to the library. But after finishing I want to add it to my permanent library.... I understand the cycle. I love wonderful clothes, but would prefer someone else to do the shopping. I think if it brings you joy and doesn't get you in trouble.....have fun! Bonnie

  12. I am not much of a shopper, never really have been, however... I can get into all kinds of trouble at the fabric store and bookstore!! Good luck on your decluttering of the closet, you are well on your way down the new path!!!

  13. Wow Mrs Thrifty!

    My mum was & probably still is a compulsive shopper & I'm the complete opposite! I hate having to buy anything, it just reminds me of my childhood - being dragged from shop to shop... All my clothes fit into 3 drawers - we don't have any wardrobes. I do have a love of scarves... But have more than enough & they were all gifts.

    Sime is a bit of a squirrel though & hoards all sorts of junk, just stuff he finds or is given. We both love books, but have chosen not to buy anything unless essential this year.

    If I was you, I'd probably sell anything in really good condition & the rest I'd take to a charity shop.

    Well done for stopping - we have a customer, who we've helped with getting rid of stuff. She said it was a great feeling & she's getting better at not buying so much. May be a friend would be helpful to keep you focused & just share the load with you.

    Kay :)

  14. Honestly? I would love to be able to shop more often then I do. I have very little in the way of extra clothes and most of it are the scrub uniforms I have to wear for work. I have for street clothes, 3 pairs of pants, 6 t-shirts and 2 dresses/skirts/blouses!

    So you ca survive with a lot less then what you have aquired :) But we do live in a place too that has very limited space so storage is an issue. If you have no room for storage, you tend not to keep buying stuff.

  15. First of all, congratulations on owning up to your addiction. That is half the battle in dealing with it! I too have a summer and winter wardrobe, never used to. I hate shopping for clothes and only buy out of necessity.

    Perhaps you should try the William Morris technique which we do in our whole house every few years. I can't remember the exact saying but basically here it is "if you have not used it for a year, if it is not a thing of beauty/heirloom etc, then get rid".

    It is amazing how much of the things you own fall into such a category. Give it a try.

  16. I've been itching to get on and comment and my bl**dy computer has been having 'issues'. Actually we all seem to have!!

    Thanks for the mention....and now to tell you a secret....I used to have LOTS of clothes too.

    What I did when I realised that 'enough was enough' was to wait for a good day (not a 'fat' day or a 'bad hair' day) and then emptied my wardrobes and cases onto the bed. EVERYTHING was then tried on, if it looked good on me it was re-hung in the wardobe, if it looked even slightly 'iffy' it went on the floor. (I wore jeans while I tried all the 'tops' on and a basic white t shirt while I tried all the 'bottoms' on.)

    If it didn't fit it was rejected straight away, no waiting to lose weight until I could fit into it.....if you manage to lose weight you DESERVE a new wardrobe by selling off your old one!!

    Once I had done this I bagged up the rejects into two sections, things worth selling and things for donating. Everything else was then hung in colour co-ordinating sections.

    I rewarded my efforts with a glass of wine....or two!

    The next day I re-tried things on with a view to making up outfits, casual, smart and 'occasion'. Anything that was a loner was re-assessed, was it worth buying a cardi or pair of trousers to match it, was it a favourite, a much loved thing, or could it go. A few more things went and some were hung at one side.

    Once I had sold all the excess I went SHOPPING with the money, but I took a list, I bought the few things that I needed to complete my wardrobe and that is how it has stayed.

    Of course I do make an odd exception and buy a couple of pretty T shirts to refresh my summer clothes each year or a cosy cardi in Winter, but I make sure that I WEAR them all, over and over.

    Every year I check the contents of the wardrobe again, usually at the start of car boot season and jettison some more. I am now pretty colour co-ordinated in that lots of my clothes are green, shades of lavender or blue and EVERYTHING matches my jeans which I live in, day in day out.

    I hope this has helped a little......


    Sue xx
    Our New Life in the Country

  17. I really enjoyed reading your post - but goodness me I can totally relate to the part where you said that the garage and attic are stacked to the rafters - SNAP! My weakness is charity shops and the like where I just cannot resist something if it's a bargain. At the moment I'm really trying to de-clutter as it has become a problem in our house, and have given myself the rule that if I buy one thing - then i must get rid of TWO things in return! It's working so far! xx

  18. I really enjoyed reading your post - but goodness me I can totally relate to the part where you said that the garage and attic are stacked to the rafters - SNAP! My weakness is charity shops and the like where I just cannot resist something if it's a bargain. At the moment I'm really trying to de-clutter as it has become a problem in our house, and have given myself the rule that if I buy one thing - then i must get rid of TWO things in return! It's working so far! xx

  19. Hello, just found you... under a pile of clothes perhaps :) I just think you did well to put it all away so neatly, I can do the bit where I have clothes all over the bed (and floor), but then tend to feel a bit overwhelmed!
    I too have the shopping weakness and I know our little house would look so much tidier without my 'stuff' everywhere... but whatcha gonna do... lol! My weakness is mainly for crafty bits and pieces, but I do strive to be more thrifty - well done you xx

  20. A great post. I have never had masses of clothes but struggled to make the ones I did have work for me. A few years ago I treated myself to a personal shopper session to buy a capsule wardrobe (for a trip in a GT racing car to Le Mans). I needed travelling clothes, racing circuit clothes and posh clothes for an evening meal in one very small bag. I learnt loads of stuff about making a capsule wardrobe work and it completely changed my approach to buying things. It really helped me to make sense of 'my look' as well and was great fun. Jx

  21. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments - I am going to take Sue's advice and as soon as I have a free day I shall plonk it all on the bed and then sort.......... I shall sell on ebay and give to charity and will keep you informed of my progress - I feel another progress bar coming on! Sue, I haven't even shown you the 'library' yet xxx

  22. This is the year for me to de-clutter our life too. I really try to stay away from clothing stores because I always find something I "need/cheap". I just got a huge bag of clothes ready for a Church cloth swap, and I'm not bringing anything back with me! This month we are tacking our garage! Good luck to you on this journey too!


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