January 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

I hope you all enjoyed the excellent guest post from Chau Le earlier this week.  I know I found her story inspiring, especially the way she let go of 60% of her wardrobe in just one hour!   I love reading about others’ journeys to break free from closet overload and excessive shopping.   If you’d like to share your story of recovery with your fellow readers (you don’t need to have a blog and you can remain anonymous if you wish), please contact me.

Well, we’ve reached the end of the first month of 2015!   I have finished with my 2014 wrap-up posts and will soon delve into goals for this year, my January accountability, and an update on the first month of my “Love It, Wear It” Challenge.   But since this is the last post of the month, it’s time for another installment of “useful links” on a variety of subjects.

Winter wonderland

Included below are links to articles I think you’ll enjoy on the topics of shopping and shopping psychology, wardrobe management, style, and personal development.  I’m also sharing a few early “Recovering Shopaholic” posts that you may have missed the first time around (or may choose to revisit now).

Yes, there are a lot of links in these posts, but I don’t expect you to click on all of them! Just explore the ones that most intrigue you.   You can always go back to this post later via my Archives page if desired.   While you’re on the site, you might also want to check out my Recovery Tips and Resources pages, as well as learn about my two books.  Also, if you’re new to “Recovering Shopaholic,” I invite you to visit my Start Here page, which contains useful information about the blog, as well as links to some of my most compelling and helpful posts.  Okay, here are the links:

On Shopping and Shopping Psychology

  • The Guise of Variety – Many of us buy a lot of new clothes, shoes, and accessories because we feel the need to have a lot of variety in what we wear. But what if the subtle things that we see as variety within our own closets are not readily apparent to others? MOderate Wardrobe explores this phenomenon and explains why she developed her “rule of three.”
  • Don’t Let Purchases Haunt You – We many think we are shopping for new clothes, but often we’re really shopping for a new self. But clothing is really only the book jacket to our life novels.  It’s often much easier to throw money into our closet than to work on improving who are inside.   Read more thoughts on this topic from Wardrobe Oxygen in this short but powerful post.
  • Two Simple Steps to Prevent Wardrobe Orphans – As many of us know all too well, many of the purchases we thought we’d love and wear end up collecting dust inside our closets. But Angie of You Look Fab has developed what she called the “wardrobe orphan prevention test.”  In this post, she outlines the process and includes a helpful example to drive her points home.

On Wardrobe Management

  • Wardrobe Purging: Why  You Will Have More to Wear When You Own Less – I used to believe that the more clothes I had in my closet, the better dressed I’d be.   More was more, but was it really?   This excellent article from Bridgette Raes explains the paradox of choice and how to know when we have too many things to choose from in our wardrobes.
  • You Have Paid Enough – One popular argument for holding on to clothing and other stuff is, “I paid so much for that.” But holding on to something just because you paid for it once will only ensure that you keep on paying.  Learn why paying once is enough in this insightful post from Project 333.
  • 9 Simple Truths about Working Wardrobes – I often write about my goal of cultivating a workable wardrobe, which is probably an objective for all of us. Another blogger who has thought a lot about this topic is Jill Chivers, who shares some of her musings about what constitutes a workable wardrobe, why many of our wardrobes aren’t working for us, and how we can begin to turn that around.

On Style

  • 10 Steps to Ignite Your Style in 2015 – The beginning of a New Year is often a time when we think about our personal style and how we’d like to improve it moving forward. 40+ Style shares some concrete steps that we can take to start making positive changes.  If you’d like more help in this regard, check out her live style course which starts on Monday!
  • How to Choose a Versatile Color Palette – Over the past year, I’ve really refined the color palette for my wardrobe and it’s helped me to pare things down and make shopping much easier. If you need some help in defining your personal color palette, I highly recommend this post from Into Mind.  Not only does she outline how to select your main colors, neutrals, and accent shades, she also provide 36 sample color palettes as food for thought.
  • The Aftermath – There aren’t too many other bloggers out there who are writing about their journeys to overcome compulsive shopping, but there are a few who I cherish. One such writer is Cristina from Unshopping… and Unraveling.  She doesn’t post very often, but when she does, I often find such resonance in her words.  In this open and honest reflection, Cristina shares how she’s simplified her personal style by being true to herself, even if that means her clothes may come across as boring or uninspired to others.

On Personal Development

  • The Empty Container – Many of us feel overwhelmed with all of the commitments and busyness of our lives. We wonder how we can prevent things from becoming so complicated.  Zen Habits challenges us to look at our lives as a blank slate and ponder what we would add in if we were starting from scratch.   I’ve done this exercise several times over the years and can attest to its value, and I intend to do it again now to see what I might want to dial back.
  • The Answer is Less – Courtney Carver of Be More with Less receives a lot of questions from readers who are dealing with frustrating life situations. Her answer to these questions, whether they be about health, relationships, money, or other things, is always the same.   In what I feel is one of her best posts, she presents a number of examples of how “less” can help to set us free.
  • Weight Loss with a Twist – Many people set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, and Colleen Timmons also added that goal to her list for 2015. However, the weight that Colleen wants to lose cannot be measured on a scale.   Her type of weight loss won’t require calorie counting or exercise, but it will still be hard work – and if you take it on, you just might feel lighter and happier this year.

From the Archives

  • Why Track Your Wardrobe? – I often write about wardrobe tracking and recently shared my 2014 numbers in my wardrobe all-stars and benchwarmer updates.  I know that some of you feel that wardrobe tracking is a lot of work and just too tedious to take on.  In this early post, I share three powerful reasons why I feel it plays an important role in streamlining our wardrobes and shopping more wisely.
  • Neglected Wardrobe Areas – Some of us buy many, many new clothing items each year, but we often neglect key areas of our wardrobes. After a few months of writing this blog, I realized that I was focusing far too much of my “out and about” clothes and not enough on my workout wear and at home wardrobe.  Sound familiar?  Yes, I needed to revisit this early post and thought that perhaps it might benefit some of you as well.
  • Boring Wardrobe – or Boring Life? – For years, I believed that if I could just find the right clothes and dress well enough, I would finally be happy with my life. But what if my wardrobe wasn’t really the problem?   Trying to cure life dissatisfaction issues through shopping is akin to taking an antacid to cure a headache.  The prescription doesn’t fit the problem it’s attempting to solve.  This was a very raw and revealing post and reading it reminded me that I need to give more attention to my “Full Life Project” this year!


I hope you enjoyed this installment of useful links.  Feel free to comment on any of the topics from this post and/or share links to articles that you’ve enjoyed recently.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I’ll be back next week with more posts related to wardrobe management, shopping, personal style, and other related topics.   If you have a suggestion for a future post, please share it in the comments section or contact me via email or social media.

17 thoughts on “January 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

  1. You’ve got a roundup here of pretty much all of my favorite strong pieces on thinking for yourself and looking to yourself for what best suits you.

    • I’m glad you like these links, Vildy! I save lots of articles and then go through them and pick the ones that “call” me when it’s time to write the post. We must be on a similar wavelength 🙂

  2. Will really enjoy digging in to some of these. I feel I’m more in control of my wardrobe than ever before, but like you, the full life is still a struggle. My career changes continue and continue to both challenge me and move me out of my comfort zone. I’m in a very transitional phase and sometimes literally don’t know what to do with my day when I awake until I start work at 5pm.
    I really want to focus on a balanced life. Praying that an interview in a different field earlier this week pans out. I want to move away from the sometimes hectic environment of restaurant work, and the later hours. Anyway, all that to say I want to make some changes that affect the very structure of my day. Right now I feel as if my whole day is on hold, waiting to work, and then after work there is no day left. I feel upside down. That is NOT balanced!

    • I remember what it was like to work in the evenings, Mo. I often used to feel like I basically wasted my time until it was time to go to work. It didn’t feel good, so I understand what you’re going through. Even now, I feel like I waste a lot of time, mostly because I usually don’t have to be somewhere at any particular time. There is something to be said about structure. I hope you will be able to find a job in another field soon, as it seems you are ready for a change. I admire your openness to change, as a lot of people in our age group tend to just stick with what they’ve always done. I’ve been quite the opposite and have changed jobs/careers many, many times (too many). Now I feel kind of stuck, for multiple reasons. I definitely need to focus more of the full life part of the equation last year, especially since I’m doing a lot better with my wardrobe and shopping. Still some work to do there, but not nearly as much as in the rest of my life! I hope we can both achieve more balance soon.

  3. Many thanks for the links, the ‘personal development’ ones were particularly helpful. I’m by no means at the end of my personal wardrobe challenge but am beginning to realise that I will need ultimately need to re-establish some wider personal goals (ones that I really commit to, not just targets that are listed and then promptly forgotten). So I look forward to your new project this year!

    • I’m glad you found the links helpful, Alice. I like to include personal development articles, as I feel that we can all benefit from reading such material, especially since we can get out of balance when we focus too intensely on our wardrobes and shopping. I’m feeling more and more drawn toward minimalism, which I know sounds strange because I still have a pretty large wardrobe. But I’m feeling a need for “less” in certain areas of my life so that I can have more of the things that matter most. I’m not even sure what those things are just yet, but I have a pretty good idea of what they aren’t. About goals, I think it’s common for people to set them and then forget about them. I think we often set the bar too high or we just don’t go back and revisit goals after we set them. I will be writing about the topic of goals and intentions next week, so stay tuned…

  4. Debbie, I went through every one of the links. Even though I saw some of the posts the first time around, the messages were worth re-reading. I look forward to your next post!

    • Thank you, Maddie. I’m glad you liked this link round-up! I also enjoyed re-reading these articles as I was preparing the post. Sometimes I get even more out of things the second time around…

  5. Very useful articles. I use the techniques outlined in the “Orphan” piece all the time. I decide in the store what I will wear with the garment I am considering and then, when I get it home, I immediately try it on with whatever I plan to wear with it — and I also experiment with other stuff too. “You Have Paid Enough” also reflects my own thinking about stuff that’s not working — I can’t afford to give them house room (space, A/C, heat, insurance, mortgage payment, container or garment bag, mothballs, etc. ) to hold on to stuff I don’t/won’t wear. The article on color palettes should be required reading before any one can graduate from high school (just kidding). Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t wear the most flattery colors and/or don’t know how to mix or harmonize colors. Great job pulling all these “must reads” together, Debbie.

    • I’m glad you liked the articles, Dottie. I remember that you offered very similar advice about trying new items on immediately after shopping. That’s what I’m going to do from now on! “You Have Paid Enough” convinced me to let go of some “dead weight” in my closet and reading it a second time has me ready to release more. I really loved all of the articles I shared! Sometimes it’s really difficult to choose because I read so many great things, but this time I didn’t agonize over it at all. I just went with my gut feeling and it seemed to pay off 🙂

  6. I look forward to each of these month-end Grab Bags of Useful Links. Though you give us “permission” to not open each link, I find your intros so intriguing that I spend several days looking at all the links. Your blog-friends must appreciate you! Thank you, Debbie!

    • Thanks so much for sharing that you like my intros, Charlene! A lot of people post link round-ups, but I like to add my personal touch by sharing my thoughts. It takes longer to do it that way, but knowing that others appreciate the effort made makes it worthwhile. Yes, my fellow bloggers appreciate the shares, but they often share what I write, too, so it’s a win-win!

  7. I ran across your ‘neglected’ post a few weeks ago and it sent me into my closet with a different perspective. I work in two different offices with two different levels of formality. I also raise a pack of young children, attend church every week and workout every night. I use most of the categories I own. The most neglected area I found was my special occasion wear. Why am I keeping my beautiful black ‘interview’ suit zipped in plastic, slowly going out of style? So I pulled it out and found several ways to dress it down with t shirts, loafers etc. I also pulled out a strapless LBD that I layered over a turtleneck with tights and boots. I am rooting around in my warm weather wardrobe now for use as layering pieces. Turns out, my Hawaiian shirt looks cute and ironic worn with a wool sweater and boots. What I am saying is why not mix some of the fancier pieces you love with the comfy loungewear you wear every day? What are you saving it for? Why not wear what you love every day, even if you are the only one who sees it?

    • Wow, you really have a full and varied life, Misty! I’m glad that my neglected areas post got you thinking and I like the perspective you took on it. I think it’s great that you are finding ways to integrate your formal wear into your day to day life. It sounds like you came up with some creative and interesting combinations. I have started to wear more of my “regular” clothes at home, but not necessarily the more formal pieces. You’ve given me some food for thought, for sure! Congrats on being able to wear more of your wardrobe.

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