Tag Archives: smart shopping

The Power of Tracking

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How often do you wear your clothes?  Do you have any idea?  Most of us think we wear the items in our closet far more often than we actually do.  It can be a useful practice to track what you’re wearing and how often.  This article highlights an easy way to do that, as well as my personal experience with tracking and how it’s helped me become a smarter shopper.

A Simple Tracking Method

I started tracking how often I wear my clothes at the beginning of 2011.  I decided to do this because I had an overly full closet, was shopping on a regular basis, and still found myself making purchasing mistakes.  I reasoned that if I learned what I was wearing most often, I could them buy more of those types of pieces and fewer of the items which languished in my closet.

My clever engineer husband devised a simple tracking method.  We purchased a box of tags on strings and hung a tag on each hanger in my closet.  For those items that are not stored on hangers, such as jeans and shoes, I created a tracking spreadsheet that I kept on a clipboard in my closet:

Clothing Tracking Spreadsheet

Wardrobe “All-Stars” and “Benchwarmers”

Clothing Tracking Hanger TagEach time I wore any item, I would mark an “X” either on the item’s hanging tag or on my spreadsheet.  I also used the “hanger trick” that I wrote about in a previous article.   My tracking only took a few seconds each day, but provided me with valuable data as the months went by.  I was able to see that I was wearing my jackets, cardigans, and jeans frequently and my tops, dress pants, and dresses less often.

At the end of the year, I took inventory of my wardrobe “all-stars” and “benchwarmers.”  All-stars were defined as clothes worn four or more times, but I actually wore a lot of them many more times than that.  My biggest “all-star” was a casual jacket that I wore an amazing 116 times in 2011!   Wardrobe “benchwarmers” were designated as things not worn at all or only worn one to two times over the course of the year.  Sadly, I had quite a few of those…

I learned I had far more tops than I needed.  All in all, only thirteen of my tops achieved all-star status!  I had also accumulated a number of shoes that were so uncomfortable, I only wanted to wear them to walk in and out of a restaurant.  Not surprisingly, such shoes aren’t very versatile and receive little wear.

Better Decisions & a More Manageable Closet

My shopping decisions have definitely improved since I started using my tracking system.  I now buy more jackets and fewer tops, as one example.  In combination with the regular closet purging I do (more on that on future articles…), my closet has become more manageable and a lot less cluttered.

I’m continuing to use my tracking system in 2012 and I have no plans of stopping this activity.  It is so quick and easy to do and it’s extremely beneficial.  Why don’t you try it for at least a few months to see how it works for you?