Not buying it – a winter coat

If I had been in need of a winter coat there are some fantastic bargains out there. Not in the sales but in my local charity shops.

Last week I spotted what appeared to be a brand new beautiful camel wool and cashmere Mark and Spencers coat at £15 and an Eastex coat, probably last season, for a tenner. Both of these coats would retail at well over £100 if not more.  I nearly faint at the price of clothes when I go into Birmingham as it has been such a long time that I have bought anything new or not on sale. I cannot understand how people can afford to buy a new winter coat every year or why they would need to.

If I were not, not buying it I would have been tempted by the camel coat as it was such a bargain. But I don’t need one. I have plenty of coats. One for every imaginable occasion.

And for unimaginable ones too. A cyclone in Fiji? No problem, I have my trusty £5 bargain kag in a bag. The most useful item of clothing on my world trip. More about this here.IMG_7742

And I already have one camel coat I never wear as I am afraid it will get dirty. That was my TK Maxx bargain 6 years ago and based on a cost per wear ratio the most expensive at £50. It is a good coat for interviews though, I feel very grown up and sensible in it.

My oldest coat is 21 years old, and is now showing signs of wear. I call it my Scottish Widow coat as it is black wool and cashmere, almost ankle length and has a big hood. I was a pram pusher with another child at primary school when I bought it so needed a coat that would keep me warm and dry as we walked to school. It has now been relegated to being worn only in extreme weather conditions, yet this may be its last year (especially if I move to a warmer country). On the cost per wear ratios a bargain at £30, less than a quid a year.

I inherited a Gloverall Duffle Coat. Warm, practical, and who knew, Duffle Coats are back in fashion this year. Thanks mom, your overspending on and hoarding of high quality clothes will benefit me this winter. However the four Burberry Macs you left me are destined for another home via Vestaire.

I have the more glamourous Chamonix faux fur evening coat, for when I attend red carpet events or a spring lunch in the snow. (The second one has happened last March). This was also a charity shop bargain, £30, for a coat that retails at about £300. Cost per wear ratio not brilliant but it has been loaned out to friends and family. I may also be destined for Vestaire.

For days at antique markets I have the wool Cotswold Collection jacket, again from a charity shop. £10. DSCF1408

I also have one ski type jacket that I bought in a discount store in Cornwall as we were camping and it was raining. And a Jaeger dog-tooth coat, charity shop, not worn for over 8 years, maybe it needs to go?

I make that 7 coats and jackets. Is that too many? I would love to know what you think and share the secrets of your coat closet? And, have I, like mom, got the hoarding habit?

I really this not buying it year will be good for me, my purse and my wardrobe. What are you not buying this year?

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Declutter please, for your kids!

An empty attic. Paperwork in order. And a decluttered wardrobe.

And remember what William Morris said.

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

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This is nearly all the contents of my moms wardrobe. 5 bags of shoes. 2 Gloverall duffle coats. 3 Burberry macs, another 3 overcoats. I have bagged up 50 pairs of trousers and 40 tops and cardigans and maybe 50 dresses. There are bags inside bags, postcards from the 40’s sent by strangers. There are 80 years of photographs to go through.

I have to wash the clothes then decide what to do with them. In the meantime they are filling the floor of my dining room.

This is my promise to my children.

I will walk around the house and look at what we have in the home. I will open cupboards, go through my wardrobe, count how many shoes I have and recall the last time I wore them. I will then imagine what it will be like for my lovely children to do this when they are in mouning . I will consider what will they do with all this stuff, and think of the hard decisions they will have to make. The ones I am having to make now.Then I will ask myself  three questions. Do I really need this? Do I love it? Do I use it?

I will share and enjoy what money I have now.

I will declutter.

I will donate or sell the clothes I don’t wear.

I will make a memory box with special photos and letters, and then be truly ruthless with everything else.

I will take books I have read to a charity shop, give some to friends and have some fun and become a Book Crosser.

I will start doing this now. Today. After I have sorted my moms stuff. Just found 4 Vyella jackets and some more silk tops. The mountain is growing and my house is looking like a reality tv show where you have to move bags to walk across the room.

When mom died there was (and still is) so much to do and none of it is a pleasant task. Yet truly, the paperwork, the solicitors, insensitive bank staff and arranging the funeral was easier than the task I have ahead of me.