February 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

It’s not quite the end of the month, but I decided to share my February installment of useful links a bit early this time.   My mom has been visiting and I only see her a few times per year, so I’ve wanted to minimize my time on blogging and other activities so I can spend more time with her.   I’m constantly compiling interesting and useful articles to share with you (as I’ve said, I read a lot).  In fact, I could probably share useful links far more often and still not run out of excellent content for you to enjoy.   But monthly is just often enough to offer information without information overload!

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, the area where my mom is visiting from. 

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).


I certainly do not expect you to click on all of the links in these posts.  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

  • Buy What You Love? – While there are a lot of bloggers I love out there, I think the one with whom I resonate the most is Grechen from Grechen’s Closet. I especially love her “minimal closet” series, which includes this post.   We’re often told to buy what we love, but there are other important criteria to keep in mind.   Grechen shares the multi-step process she uses to make decisions about what to buy.
  • The 100-Dollar Dilemma: What It Is and How it is Ruining Your Financial Health – We often hesitate to spend money on “big ticket items,” yet we think nothing of dropping ten or fifteen dollars here and there.   Yet all those little purchases really add up and can make a big dent in our finances.   This post from The Financial Diet elaborates on this phenomenon and offers some helpful advice (which includes my word for 2015).
  • How to Stop Buying Junk Clothes – One of my worst shopping habits for many years was prioritizing quantity over quality. Hence, I ended up with a lot of substandard clothes in my closet.   If you’d like to break your “crap clothes” habit, check out this post from My Year Without Clothes Shopping.  Included are ten strategies for creating a healthy, nourishing wardrobe.  I’m especially working on strategy number ten now…

On Wardrobe Management

  • Top 5 Reasons We Keep Stuff in Our Closet that We Don’t Like, Want, or Need – I saw this excellent article from Thrift Me Pretty in one of the “lovely links” round-ups from Already Pretty. I could see myself in all five of the reasons why people hang on to clothes that no longer serve them, but what I loved the most was this statement:   “Holding on to who you were will only distract you from fully embracing who you are today.”  Amen to that!
  • Are You Holding On to Your Past Through Your Wardrobe?– Continuing the theme of why we hold on to clothes we don’t wear is this very thought-provoking post from Bespoke Image. It often has more to do with what those clothes represent than the clothes themselves.   Reading this post just may help you to let go of some items you’ve been holding on to for years.
  • 4 Ways to Get Creative with a Tiny Wardrobe – Many of us are intrigued by the idea of capsule wardrobes but aren’t sure if they would work in our lives. This guest post on Project 333 offers some useful tips on how to make a minimalist wardrobe work in our lives. Be sure to check out the video at the top of the post to see how the author built her winter capsule wardrobe!

On Style

  • Easy Ways to Fabulously Style an Outfit – If you struggle to put outfits together each day, you’ll love this article from Bridgette Raes. Bridgette walks us through her thought process of styling five different ensembles, including how she implements her base, accent, pop formula.   If you’re a fan of Bridgette’s, you might also want to check out the new Style Forum on her website, where you can chat about all topics related to personal style.
  • A Clothing Diary – Since my outfit journal has been such a wonderful tool for me over the past six months, I was delighted to see that Janice from The Vivienne Files is doing something similar. Janice’s clothing diary is different from mine, but I can see how it’s helping her figure out what she most likes to wear.   I love how she highlights her constraints as well as alternate outfit options for her given activities.
  • Two Easy Steps to Finding Your Style Statement – I’ve been working a lot on refining my style over the past year, so I always like to see articles like this one from Not Dead Yet Style. I’m sure I’ll be sharing my experience with this two-step process very soon on the blog.   Just taking a half hour or so to jot down some targeted notes can help to increase our awareness, which in turn can positively impact our personal style.

On Other Topics

  • Three Vital Steps to Conquer Information Overload– Now that my shopping is under much better control, I’m more acutely aware of some of the other problems in my life, including information overload. Since I’m actively working to reduce the impact of this issue on my life, I love to see posts like this one from Be More with Less.  The steps outlined are simple but not easy, but I can definitely see how they could make a big difference in my life (and yours, too).
  • The Fear of Missing Out and How it Crushes Your Productivity – I’ve written about “FOMO” (fear of missing out) at least a few times on the blog (including here). This excellent essay from No Sidebar sheds some light on the reasons why FOMO is so insidious and how it adversely impacts our productivity and our self-confidence.  I enjoyed this article, but I found it interesting that it linked to so many other articles, as I actually experienced some FOMO myself while reading it (I thought I should click on all of the links!).   I resisted the temptation and just enjoyed a great post for what it was, which was good practice for me…
  • Jerry Seinfeld Stand-Up Routine about Stuff (video) – My husband and I are big fans for both Jerry Seinfeld and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. So we were very excited to watch our favorite comedian do stand-up on one of our favorite shows.  And Jerry did not disappoint!   We loved his take on “stuff” and its role in our lives.  This is a video to bookmark and watch periodically for a good reality check, especially for aspiring minimalists.

From the Archives

  • Resisting the Allure of a Sale – At this time of year (or pretty much any time of year these days), there seems to be a “big sale” everywhere we look.   In this post from May 2013, I share my plans to resist a favorite sale during my month-long shopping hiatus.   I was able to succeed by taking on a different perspective and reminding myself of seven key facts.
  • The Pros and Cons of Resale Shopping – Resale shopping is a popular way to acquire new (to you) clothes at a much lower price point than retail. While there are lots of benefits to this type of shopping, there are also a number of pitfalls about which we need to be aware.   This post from June 2013 outlines both the pros and the cons to help you make up your own mind about buying second-hand items.
  • Tips for Successful Resale Shopping – Shortly after publishing the post above, I wrote a follow-up article with lots of helpful advice on navigating the resale shopping landscape. If you like to shop at thrift and consignment stores, this post may help you to improve your track record.   I’m not doing much resale shopping these days, but if I venture back into that realm, I’ll be sure to take my own good advice. Sometimes we know what to do but don’t always do it!

Conclusion                                        

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.

I’ll be back later this week with some more entries from my outfit journal (see the first installment of that series here).   If you have a suggestion for a future post, please share it in the comments section or contact me via email or social media.

19 thoughts on “February 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

  1. So excited that you posted this while I’m off for our second “ice day” in a row. As usual, I found many of these helpful, but my favorites were Grechen’s “Buy What You Love” and “How to Stop Buying Junk Clothes.” The piece on “FOMO” really resonated with me, as well. Having been stuck in the house for a couple of days, I have done way too much on-line shopping, mostly inspired by the friendly emails that fill my in-box every morning and trigger the worst sort of FOMO: “Last day for 25% off!” “You left an item in your shopping bag!” “Flash Sale – get a sneak peak at spring’s must haves!” etc. I am getting better about deleting these messages unopened, unless I am waiting for a sale at a particular store to get a particular item on my pre-approved shopping list.

    In related news, I suddenly have the “good problem” of having met a man who seems a good candidate for a serious relationship. This has triggered the worst urge to shop I’ve had in a long time, because obviously I need an entirely new wardrobe to dazzle this new suitor, right? Something radical occurred to me today as I was cruising Pinterest for “date outfits for over 40.” This gentleman has stated several times that he finds me very attractive (a new concept for me but one I will enjoy getting used to!) so he is likely to think I look great in just about anything. Here’s the epiphany I had: ALL my clothes are new to him! Having never seen me in anything other than my carefully chosen first-date outfit, he has no idea of the depths of my closet, so for literally months, I can probably turn up in clothing that is completely new to him. He’s mentioned that he lives a debt-free lifestyle, which is a goal of mine, so I hope he doesn’t ask too many questions about how my wardrobe grew so large on my salary. It’s unlikely he will propose any sort of activity for which I don’t already own something suitable, unless he wants to take me scuba diving. All those years that I was buying clothes for the life I wished I had, I think now I’m about to finally get to use them! Hope that this idea may help anyone else who feels that her current wardrobe is not “date ready,” or is in any other situation involving new people who haven’t seen your clothes already. This site continues to be my best resource for dealing with these issues, so thanks to Debbie and to all who take the time to comment!

    • Congratulations TexasAggieMom! You are right, everything you wear will be new to him, but I might make a suggestion. I once dated a man who had a debt-free lifestyle, which I admired because at that time I was aspiring to that as well. My friend was a great companion, but being of modest tastes himself, he was suspicious of women who had too many clothes or were too “done up”. He mentioned once that he was quite shaken when he learned that a previous girlfriend had so many pairs of shoes, and it made him question their values. He was also suspicious of women who wore too much makeup or had obvious manicures. I could see his point–he was worried about getting involved with a shopaholic.

      Since I was a shopaholic at the time, I used to conceal my purchases from him.

      My advice to you on the outfits is this: if you show up in too many completely different outfits he may get skittish and wonder if you are too high maintenance. To avoid this perception, I suggest you repeat components of outfits from one date to the next in such a way that while you are still expressing variety-it is not too much variety in a short span of time.

      • I second what Deby has said. Spot on, Deby! Also, from experience, back in the years when I overshopped, and was way too focused on having a variety of outfits to wear, now that I have stopped this pattern, I’ve learned that most people do not care all that much about whether or not we have lots of variety. Other people won’t even notice, and as Deby explains oftentimes the attention we do attract might not be the kind of attention we were hoping for. And now that I’ve toned it down with a smaller, simpler wardrobe I’m finding that I attract and fit in with people who share my down to earth values. Whereas before my image gave off the impression that I was kind of shallow, and showy, which I was back then. I don’t mean to imply that everyone who is ruled by clothes is shallow, but I was. I’m including the link to an excellent article about a women who wore the same outfit for a year, and discovered that most people didn’t even notice. http://helloimnadia.com/post/61605892456/why-i-wore-the-same-outfit-every-day-for-a-year

      • Tera,thanks for your comments, and the link! I loved the article and have actually experimented with something similar recently due to extremely cold weather here. I don’t have many cold weather outfits, so I ended up wearing the same pair of black jeans three days in a row. I styled them completely differently, and I don’t think anyone ever realized it, even my secretary who is my favorite fashion critic. Thinking of new ways to wear one piece now gives me the same sort of thrill I used to get from shopping, and I hope to become even better at it as I continue to narrow down my wardrobe to the “10’s” identified through the LIWI exercise. Thanks again for your thoughts!

      • Deby, thanks for your words of wisdom! I completely agree, and since I’m still in the process of identifying the “10’s” in my wardrobe, I know I will be able to build multiple looks from the pieces I’m choosing to keep. I do feel I have earned the right to spend my hard-earned money on whatever I choose, but obviously I wouldn’t be on this site if that hadn’t become a problem somewhere along the way. Hoping I can hit a middle ground of achieving a sensible-sized wardrobe, without deceiving this guy about my interest in clothes. I have already shared with him that it is very important to me to be dressed appropriately for any event and that I may have lots of questions prior to an occasion so that I will fit in. He and I have in common that we grew up in challenging financial circumstances, so he seemed to understand why that would be important to me as an adult. Perhaps that will serve as a foundation for future discussions about my spending habits, although I’m working really hard to turn them around and hope to have much less to “confess” this year. I will never again be in a relationship where I have to hide my spending, or get “permission” to shop, so if I find myself doing that with him, I’ll know the relationship is not a healthy one. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share your experience with me!

      • As a person who is more like your new man (I take financial responsibility very seriously and live a debt-free lifestyle) I can tell you that I would never dream of hitching up with someone who overspends or is in debt (except mortgage). I mention this because I do so hope you don’t accidentally lose this nice-sounding man due to not quite realising how very very important this issue might be to him. To avoid this, you might want to totally stop spending and/or get out of debt ASAP (my husband and I once worked 7 days a week and spent nothing other than paying bills and buying food and household supplies (and no eating out either!) to pay down a scarily large unexpected tax bill — we simply did not want to be in that position of owing money) so that there is honestly nothing to confess to. Because confessing might make your man feel that you have pulled the wool over his eyes and that you are therefore not trustworthy. Better to correct any issues now.

        Of course I don’t know your new man from Adam, and he might not be as bothered as I would be, but I would definitely not stay with someone if they turned out to be financially untrustworthy (and overspending counts as that to me) so, well, I just hope you realise how important this might be to him, to avoid disappointment.

        Enjoy your new man!

    • Congrats on meeting a wonderful new man, TexasAggieMom! You have already gotten such wonderful advice here that I really don’t have anything to add. I just want to commend you for your commitment to being open and honest in all future relationships. My dishonesty toward my husband in regards to my shopping really became a problem in our relationship and I’m so glad that I don’t keep things from him anymore. It was actually very stressful for me to keep so many secrets and I didn’t feel very good about myself, either. I wish you the very best of luck with the new man and I hope you will keep us posted on how everything goes!

      I’m glad you enjoyed my February links and that they came at a good time for you. I usually post them right before a weekend, but I switched this post with the outfit journal post so I could spend more time with my mom (she left Wednesday night). I know what you mean about the sales and the emails. I have removed myself from all such mailing lists because the temptation can be too high. I’m now willing to spend more if necessary because I want to be deliberate (there’s that word again…) about what I buy. I used to get really tempted by things that were nice but weren’t what I needed most. Then I’d spend too much money on the sale items and not be able to buy my most needed pieces. I still struggle with sale shopping at times, but it’s easier not to have so much temptation in my email box or Facebook feed (although I have little control over what OTHERS post!).

    • I love “Into Mind,” Wendy, and have linked to many of her posts in my links round-ups. I will likely include the one you referenced next month 🙂 I actually got the workbook you mentioned but haven’t worked through it yet. I do think it would be a great resource for those who really want to do that type of in-depth analysis. I am fond of such things, but I need to carve out the time to do it (and possibly blog about it). It’s just one of the resources I have that I want to dive into at some point.

  2. Hi Debbie!
    I like your new experiments with guest posts, grab bag of links, etc. I especially like it because you have more time to spend doing things like visit with your mom. Enjoy her stay!

    • Thanks, Amy! I like to mix it up a bit. Posting the guest post last week and the links post earlier this week really helped me to have more time to be with my mom. I only see her two or three times a year and she’s now in her 70’s. We had a nice visit and she left on Wednesday evening (she came into town on Friday morning). Now I’m trying to catch up on a bunch of stuff!

    • Thanks so much for posting that link, Vildy! The writer was supposed to let me know when the article went live, but I heard it first from you. I always say yes when people contact me regarding articles or guest posts and I’m honored that my opinions are valued. What a fun feature! I’m happy to be a part of it.

    • Thanks, Lisa! I’m glad you enjoy these posts. I had a very nice visit with my mom (she left Wednesday night).

    • I loved it, too, Paula, and I was happy to share it. Yes, it is both funny and sadly true, but I’m glad we are all able to see the humor in it.

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