The Best of Recovering Shopaholic 2016

It’s almost the end of 2016, so it’s time to wrap up my year in blogging.  I have been writing “Recovering Shopaholic” for four years and have now published 401 posts on the topics of wardrobe management, personal style, shopping behavior and psychology, accountability, living a fuller life, and various other topics.  I’ve grown and changed tremendously since the start of the blog on January 2, 2013, as I summarized this past summer and will be revisiting again soon.  I appreciate all of the support and encouragement I have received along the way from readers and I’m grateful to all those who have accompanied me on my journey.

At the close of each of the previous three years, I compiled “best of” posts (2013 | 2014 | 2015) in which I reflected upon the top posts from that year, and today’s post will further that tradition.  During 2016, 77 new posts went live and thousands of comments were made by dedicated readers.  Additionally, the “End Closet Chaos” private Facebook group that I created in August 2015 has continued to grow and now has close to 1200 members!

Best posts of 2016

Below, I share the most popular articles of 2016, as well as my personal favorite posts.  I also highlight the most visited outgoing links from the blog last year.   Those who are new to “Recovering Shopaholic” will get a chance to check out the highlights of 2016, and longtime readers will have an opportunity to revisit posts they either enjoyed or missed the first time around.  If you’re looking for additional information and inspiration, I invite you to visit my “Start Here” and “Recovery Tips” pages.   Now let’s move on with the best of 2016…

The 12 Most Popular Posts

The 12 posts below received the most traffic out of all of the articles I published during 2016.   The most popular topics were wardrobe management, accountability, and shopping behavior/psychology, but my posts on the “KonMari Method” and my gray hair transition were also viewed by many people.  The posts are listed in order of the traffic received, with the first one being the most popular (which was a big surprise to me!).

  1. On the Precipice of 50: Gray Hair, Vanity, and Breaking Free  (May 13) – Three months before my 50th birthday, I wrote about my vanity and insecurity and how these issues hold me back in life.  To start the process of breaking free, I pondered stopping coloring my hair and how that might manifest.
  2. Do You Wear Your Clothes 30 or More Times (October 21) – There’s a sustainable fashion initiative that recommends counteracting “fast fashion” by committing to wear all new pieces at least 30 times before discarding them.  I looked in my own closet to see what has and hasn’t been worn that many times – and why or why not.
  3. What Are Your Favorite 100 Wardrobe Items? (April 22) – Earlier this year, I read about an exercise that recommends selecting the top 100 items in our closets with the premise that identifying favorites can help us let go of lesser loved pieces.  I shared the 100 items that I selected and what I learned from the process.
  4. “Love It, Wear It” Challenge Debrief & Year-End Inventory: The Clothes  (January 29) – After a year of focusing on only wearing the pieces I loved in my closet, I recapped what I learned and how many items were left in the end. This challenge was one of the best things I’ve done to help me cultivate a workable wardrobe and I highly recommend it!
  5. Wardrobe and Shopping Goals for 2016 (February 10) – As 2016 got underway, I shared my goals for the year in terms of my budget, item limit, frequency of wear, and shopping focus areas. I set very specific objectives for each area and will soon recap how I did in meeting my goals.
  6. Gray Hair Transition – Three Months and Counting… (August 5) – In the first post mentioned above, I pondered the decision of transitioning to gray hair.  In this article, I confirmed that I had made that decision and gave an update on how it was going at the three month mark, complete with progress photos and tools for better managing the process.
  7. KonMari in the Bathroom: Paring Down Cosmetics and Toiletries  (May 5) – After already having used the “KonMari Method” with my books, CDs, closet, and jewelry box, I turned to my bathroom and tackled my cosmetics and toiletry items.  I found a lot of things I didn’t know I had, as well as many areas of redundancy.  While I was able to get rid of a lot that day, I have continued to pare down and probably have only about half as many bathroom items today.
  8. Shopaholic Signs, Reasons, and Recovery (February 12) – I am often interviewed by journalists and students for articles and research projects, but they generally only use a small fraction of my responses in their pieces. Since I was quite happy with my written responses for an article earlier this year, I opted to share them on the blog and ended up with this comprehensive and popular post.
  9. KonMari in the Closet: July 2016 Edition  (July 14) – A little over a year after my initial “KonMari” closet purging session, I decided to revisit that process.  I recapped my reasons for doing so, summarized how I did it, and shared my overall results and why I got rid of some select pieces.
  10. August 2016 Wardrobe and Shopping Goals Update (August 25) – Almost two-thirds of the way through the year, I did a long overdue update on my progress with my wardrobe and shopping goals.  This recap included photos of my new pieces, most worn items, and potential “benchwarmers,” as well as my budget, item, and frequency of wear numbers.
  11. The “KonMari Method” in the Jewelry Box (April 12) – After doing a wardrobe memory exercise (see below) in which I was only able to remember three-quarters of my jewelry pieces, I decided that another purging session was in order.  I proceeded to use the “KonMari Method” with each jewelry category, which enabled me to release more unloved items.  I closed the post with an updated jewelry inventory and compared it to my initial count back in early 2014.
  12. Gray Hair Transition – Rounding the Seven Month Mark (November 18) – While my gray hair transition has been much more challenging than I had anticipated – and I knew it would be hard, I continue to stay the course (over eight months now…).  At the seven month mark, I shared an update complete with photos and my thoughts on the emotional adjustment I’ve had to make along the way toward hair freedom.  I’m still not happy with the way my hair looks and I know I probably won’t be for quite some time, but I plan to give it at least a year and will hopefully see it through to the end.

Most Popular Guest Posts

In addition to the many posts I wrote last year, I was also pleased to share the writing of fellow bloggers and readers who had valuable information to share with this community.  Some of these posts have been extremely popular.  Here are the top three, all of which were “stories of recovery” written by active members of the “End Closet Chaos” private Facebook group:

  1. A Pragmatic, Multi-Phased Approach to a Workable Wardrobe (January 15) – This inspiring story came from Barb, who was able to reduce the size of her wardrobe by 65% over a period of 2.5 years using a multi-phased approach of her own creation.  She summarizes her process and shares photos of how her style has evolved, as well as the epiphanies she’s learned along the way.
  2. How a “Rolling Capsule Wardrobe” Can Help with Both Closet Chaos and Personal Style (April 1) – Capsule wardrobes are all the rage at the moment, but some people find them too limiting in terms of choices and variety. Dianne decided that she liked the idea of dressing using capsules, but didn’t want to agonize over selecting the “right” pieces.  So she came up with the innovative idea of letting her capsule evolve over time by means of a “rolling capsule.”  In this post, she explains this concept, answers a few questions, and makes some recommendations to help things go more smoothly.
  3. How I Found Closet Serenity (a.k.a. My Project 333 Experiment) (August 15) – After her recent retirement, Sybil decided to address her problems of shopping too much and having an overly large wardrobe.  One way in which she challenged herself was through doing a modified Project 333 exercise (she didn’t count accessories).   This allowed her to reach a turning point with her wardrobe, which she highlights in this post, along with her process and some photos of her capsule items and ensembles.

My 12 Favorite Posts

While some of the most popular articles on the blog are also among my favorites, I was also happy with a number of other posts over the course of the year. My reasons for selecting these particular posts as my favorites vary – some were about experiences I enjoyed, others reflected the progress I’ve made, and still others were those I was especially proud of.  Here are my 12 favorite posts from 2016, listed in order from oldest to most recent:

  1. Finding Balance in the Closet and All Areas of Life (January 8) – For quite some time, I have selected a guiding word or theme to aid my personal growth and progress each year. My word for 2016 was “balance” and in this post, I shared why I selected it and my milestones for success.  It turned out the balance was the perfect word for me this year and I continue to evolve as a result of this touchstone.  I will give an update on my progress and share my 2017 word shortly.
  2. Shopaholic Recovery: Past, Present, and Future  (February 25) – Prior to my appearance on “The Today Show” (which you can see HERE), I reflected on where I am in my recovery from compulsive shopping. I looked back at the way things used to be, how I’ve grown through writing this blog, and what lies ahead for me as I work to trade my full closet for a full life.
  3. What It Means to Be a Recovering Shopaholic (March 2) – Shortly after the last post, I shared some of the “behind the scenes” of my Today Show appearance (as well as a picture with the crew) and summarized what recovery looks like for me.  I also offer some insights from the “End Closet Chaos” group on what it means to be “recovered” in terms of both behavior and feelings.
  4. Photography Interlude – Beach Birds (March 7) – The photography practice I adopted in early 2015 has meant a lot to me and I’ve enjoyed sharing some of my photos in my periodic “photography interlude” posts. I selected this one as a favorite because of my strong affinity for birds, especially the ones I see on my beach walks. While the Great Blue Heron will always be closest to my heart, I love all of the local birds I encounter and enjoy photographing them.
  5. Can You Remember Everything in Your Closet? (April 8) – Back at the start of this blog, I never would have been able to write down everything in my closet without looking.  Yet, I as able to remember 91% of my clothing items this past April, which is a testament to the downsizing I’ve done over the years, as well as the fact that I wear most of what I own these days.  It was a fun exercise to do and it taught me a lot about my wardrobe.  In this post, I recapped the results of the exercise, the lessons I learned, and what’s next in terms of my wardrobe curation.
  6. Lessons From My Outfit Journal: 2016 Style Shifts and Goals  (May 24) – I have been keeping an outfit journal for over two years now, in which I capture my feelings about my ensembles and how I can potentially improve upon them.  As a result, my style has evolved considerably.  In fact, my outfit journal has been the most important tool in my style evolution process. This post encapsulates the ways in which my style has shifted by means of journaling my outfits, complete with many photos of my favorite looks.
  7. Top Tips and Tools for Cultivating a Workable Wardrobe (June 22) – In this post, I share the top three tools that have helped me to cultivate a more workable wardrobe and also offer feedback on this topic from members of the “End Closet Chaos” group.  Some of the suggestions given include identifying a color palette, style definition, wardrobe tracking, and shopping rules.
  8. Travel Packing Debrief – July 2016 Texas Trip (August 3) – I included this post in the mix because I have such fond memories of my trip to Texas this past summer for the first ever “End Closet Chaos” meetup.  Not only did I love spending time with the wonderful women I had previously only known online, I was also happy with all of the outfits I wore during the trip.  I share what I packed, the outfits I wore, lessons I learned, and some photos from my time in Texas.
  9. Hypothetical Summer 2016 Project 333 Capsule Wardrobe (September 30) – Prior to attending Courtney Carver’s Tiny Wardrobe Tour (which I will finally reflect upon in an upcoming post), I decided that it would be fun to create a hypothetical Project 333 wardrobe capsule.  What surprised me was that I was able to do this fairly effortlessly and in roughly 15 minutes!  This was in sharp contrast to the many days it took me to make the selections for my first Project 333 stint back in 2013.   I was so impressed with the easy selections I made, I decided to dress using my capsule for the month of October (warm weather usually lasts into November where I live).
  10. Revisiting Project 333 and the “Love It, Wear It” Wardrobe Challenge (December 2) – This is basically a follow-on post to #9 above.  I recap how my abbreviated Project 333 experiment went, what I learned from it, and how it led me into doing another stint of the “Love It, Wear It” challenge (LIWI).  Both Project 333 and LIWI have been instrumental in the progress I’ve made and are both tools that I will continue to use as needed.  I’m still doing LIWI and it has helped me to further pare down my wardrobe and better identify the pieces that work best for my current body, lifestyle, and personal style aesthetic.
  11. Compulsive Shopping Tips & Resources “Cheat Sheet” (December 10) – A few weeks ago, I was the presenter at a meeting of the San Diego Minimalists Group, at which I shared my compulsive shopping story and offered tips on how to shop more consciously and better manage our wardrobes.  After the meeting, I put together a handout to post online for group members. This article is an expanded version of that handout and I like how it’s so comprehensive and links back to some of my best posts.
  12. Normal-Sized Wardrobe Revisited… (December 16) – By far, the most popular post on this blog is an early one titled, “What is a Normal-Sized Wardrobe?” Since that article gets so many hits and I’ve learned a great deal since I wrote it back in February 2013, I decided to write a revised version earlier this month.  I present an exercise and formula to help you determine the best wardrobe size and composition for your current lifestyle, climate, and clothing preferences and illustrate the process using my wardrobe and life as an example.

Words of Wisdom from the “End Closet Chaos” Group

I periodically compile words of wisdom from some of the best threads posted in the “End Closet Chaos” private Facebook group into summary posts on the blog.  I do this because I feel the information is just too good to disappear in the chasm that is the never-ending Facebook feed – and also because I know some readers don’t use Facebook.  Here are my three favorites of those types of posts:

  1. What Caused Your Compulsive Shopping Problem? (March 23) – I’ve written a number of posts on the reasons why people shop too much and have also explored my own personal motivations for overshopping.  But when this topic came up in the group, I was so impressed by the depth and diversity of the responses that I thought it would be helpful for blog readers to be exposed to these insights, too.
  2. On Body Image, Shopping, and Style (July 6) – Poor body image has long been one of the primary drivers of my compulsive shopping problem, and my recent weight fluctuations as a result of health challenges and hormonal changes have been difficult to deal with.  Since I knew I couldn’t be alone in my struggles, I asked for some feedback from the group.  The responses show resonance with my issues from many, as well as inspiring words of wisdom on how to make peace with our bodies and accept and love ourselves as we are (even if we’re working to change).   You may also want to check out tips from the group on how to dress for weight fluctuations.
  3. Why Tracking Purchases is Important & How to Do It (August 19) – I have long been a proponent of wardrobe tracking, but I haven’t always done as well with tracking my purchases, at least not in a timely fashion.  I believe that regular tracking is important in controlling our spending, so I asked for tips from the group on how to easily track what we buy.  This post is chock full of great ideas you’re bound to find a few useful suggestions to help keep you apprised of what you’re purchasing and keep your shopping in check.

Most Popular Links from 2016

Below are the 20 most popular outgoing links from “Recovering Shopaholic” in 2016.  It’s interesting to note that 6 of these links were also included on the 2015 list, one was also on the 2014 list, and three were among the most popular outgoing links in 2013.  The repeated links are noted with an asterisk (*) after them and those that were repeated twice are followed by two asterisks.

If you haven’t checked out this useful information previously, you may want to take a look now.   It has been my pleasure to share helpful content written by other bloggers, and these articles are some of the best of the best.  I will probably re-visit many of them myself!

  1. Finding the Perfect Nude Lip Color… Leads to Knowing What Your True Color Palette Is  * (Tiny Sparkly Things)
  2. Seasonal Color Analysis: Analyze Yourself!  * (The Chic Fashionista)
  3. Which are the Easy Alterations?  ** (Inside Out Style)
  4. Shopping for Quality and Longevity  * (Already Pretty)
  5. Take Charge of Your Closet: Less Shopping, More Style  (Wardrobe Oxygen)
  6. The Power of Alterations  * (Debbie Roes – from a previous blog)
  7. Your Most Flattering Neckline  (The Style Glossy)
  8. A New Plan – Every Other Week Purchase  (MOderate Wardrobe)
  9. Loving Style vs. Minimalism  (Grechen’s Closet)
  10. My Best Shopping Tip: The Deal-Breaker Question That Can Save You Money  (Brenda Kinsel)
  11. What’s Your Body Shape?  * (Shop Your Shape)
  12. Five Secrets of a Well-Dressed Woman  (Bridgette Raes)
  13. Marie Kondo’s 10-Step Guide to Making Smarter Shopping Choices  (Who What Wear)
  14. Style and Focus  (Mejorar)
  15. 7 Types of Clothing You Should Get Rid of Immediately  (Red)
  16. 30 Fascinating Facts About Fashion Psychology  (HuffPost Lifestyle)
  17. The Power of Tracking  (Debbie Roes – from a previous blog)
  18. My Marriage Survived the KonMari Method of Tidying  (Scary Mommy)
  19. Wardrobe From Scratch, Part 3b: Alterations and Tailoring 101  ** (Putting Me Together)
  20. Illustrated Kibbe Quiz and Spreadsheet with Kibbe Style Guidelines  * (Seasonal Color)

Happy New Year!

This is my last post of 2016, so I want to take a moment to wish all of you a very Happy New Year!  Thank you so much for reading “Recovering Shopaholic” this year.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of you over the past four years.  Although I appreciate the wonderful comments and emails I receive, please know that I’m grateful for each and every one of you regardless of whether or not I ever hear from you individually.

Here’s to less packed closets and fuller lives in 2017!


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Comments

  1. Debbie, thank you for the three years of outstanding writing you have put forth on this blog.
    I deeply appreciate your efforts and insights and have enjoyed our friendship in the process.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate your kind words, Terra, and I also value your friendship. One of the best things about writing this blog is that it has connected me with so many wonderful women, including you! It’s actually FOUR years now that I’ve been writing “Recovering Shopaholic,” but they have certainly gone by fast!

  2. Di Collins says:

    Thank you so much for having such a positive impact on my wardrobe and life. There is so much wisdom and reflection as well as personal growth in those blog posts. Thank you for your blog. Putting yourself out there and the amount of time and work to to so is much appreciated and has been the catalyst for a positive change in my life. I can’t thank you enough.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I’m very grateful for the wonderful praise you have given me, Di, and I’m also so happy to have met you through this endeavor. I’m happy the blog has touched you and others. It really has exceeded my wildest dreams in terms of the number of people it’s been able to reach. I had hoped to find an audience and I’m so glad I did! I now have friends all around the world 🙂

  3. Happy 2017, dear Debbie! Sorry for my absence, things have gone downhill again here on the health front. Just wanted you to know how lovely it’s been to connect with you and to acknowledge all the amazing things you’ve done here. you’re a special soul. hugs

    • Debbie Roes says:

      So happy to hear from you, Claire, and no apologies are necessary. I know you have a lot of difficult issues you’re dealing with. I’m sorry to learn that things have gone downhill for you and I sincerely hope 2017 will be a better year for you. You’re such a dear and wonderful person and I value the connection we have made. Hugs and prayers to you!

  4. Happy 2017! Thank you for your honest and thought provoking posts, I find this web site to be very supportive and encouraging. I am looking forward to hearing about your goals for this year, and also to following your progress updates.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Happy 2017 to you, too, Alice! I’m so happy you have enjoyed my posts and that this site has been supportive for you. I will share some wrap-up posts on 2016 soon and let you know what my new theme is for the coming year.

  5. Has it already been three years? Thank you so much for your efforts on this blog. I have really enjoyed your writing and look forward to seeing your continued growth and happiness in your journey. Happy 2017!

    • whoops i meant 4 years. wow how time flies.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Yes, four years, Jane! Time DOES fly… I very much appreciate your kind words and all of the insightful comments you have given on my posts. Happy New Year to you, too!

  6. You have helped people far and wide with your blog Debbie, even as far as here in New Zealand. I have been reading your blog for about 2 years now and it has helped me immeasurably in many ways. Thank you.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your comment, JaneN. I really appreciate what you had to say and I’m very happy my blog has helped you so much. You live in one of my favorite places in the world! My husband and I went to New Zealand for our honeymoon in February 2002 (we got married in July 2001 but waited to go to NZ when it was summer there) and spent a month there. I have many happy memories of your beautiful country and I hope to make it back there one day. Happy New Year to you!

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