May 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

May is almost over, so it’s time for me to share my latest “grab bag” of useful links (see previous editions here).   Included below are links to articles I think you’ll enjoy on the subjects 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).

Shelter Island, San Diego, CA

Twilight on a cloudy night on Shelter Island – May 27, 2015

Yes, the photo above is one of mine (but it wasn’t taken with my cell phone this time).  I previously used stock images for these posts, but I will now include my own photos in these useful links round-ups, as well as in select other articles.  I will also periodically feature some of my photos in stand-alone posts, the next of which (see the first one here) will be published very soon.   Lots of beach and bay images to choose from, so we’ll see what I end up sharing…

As a reminder, 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 (it’s hard to believe it, but my first book, “UnShopping,” was released a year ago!).  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

  • On Perfection” – I haven’t featured a post from The Nife en L’Air in a while, which is surprising because her posts are always so good. This one on the topic of perfection is definitely worth a read.  When people work to cultivate more minimal wardrobes, they often feel compelled to have every single item in them be perfect.  This can lead to spending more energy on clothing and shopping than desired.   A shift in focus from perfect to adequate may be all we need to be more satisfied with what we have and spend less time and money on our clothing and accessories.
  • Shopping with Ethics: A 5-Step Guide” – After learning about the human rights violations and downright disasters in the garment industry, many of us want to start making more ethically conscious choices.  However, it’s not always easy to know the appropriate things to do.  Well, this guide from The Tiny Twig can help, as it includes many useful tips and links to help us get onto the right path.
  • The Shopping Buffet” – Most of us have eaten at buffets and have left feeling overly full and uncomfortable. That’s what can happen when we give in to the temptation of having some of everything.   Well, that same thing can happen with shopping, as this post from My Year Without Clothes Shopping points out.  When we’re presented with too many choices, we often end up consuming more than we need or even want.   Learn more about this phenomenon and get a few ideas for how to break the cycle.

On Wardrobe Management

  • What’s Wrong with Capsule Wardrobes?” – Capsule wardrobes are all the rage these days, from Project 333 to the 5-Item French Wardrobe and beyond. But are capsule wardrobes for everyone?  This thought-provoking post from Grechen’s Closet looks at some of the potential pitfalls with capsule wardrobes and what has worked for her instead.  She also offers some tips for how to effectively work with a capsule wardrobe if you’d like to give it a try.
  • 3 Reasons Your Wardrobe is a Kitchen” – I never would have thought to compare my closet to a kitchen, but this post from Inside Out Style makes perfect sense. Both our kitchens and our closets should function to meet our needs, and our clothes should have “use by” dates just like our food does.   This is a short post, but it really made me think and will probably do the same for you.
  • Wardrobe Statistics” – Some of you have marveled at the level of detail to which I track my wardrobe. Well, Mette of The Yogastic Shopping Planner actually puts me to shame.   In this post, she shares what she tracks, how she does it, and how long that tracking actually takes her to do.  And at the end of the post, she highlights some of her key numbers.   I feel like what I do is “tracking lite” compared Mette’s tracking!

On Style

  • 5 Ways to Style a Skirt” – A lot of us fall into ruts in which we wear our clothes the same ways all the time. That’s why “how to style” posts like this one from Inside Out Style can be so helpful and fun. Imogen’s graphics are stellar and really convey how we can take one simple skirt and create five totally different looks with it.
  • Does it Fit vs. Does it Work” – Sometimes clothes can fit us well and even elicit compliments from others, but they may not truly work for us for some reason. Using the example of two outfits that looked quite nice to me, Sally of Already Pretty explains why sometimes decent – or even good – fit isn’t enough to make an item or ensemble work for our wardrobes and our lives.  I could identify with what Sally wrote, as I’ve had a number of garments that I loved in theory but not in practice.
  • Multiple Ways to Accessorize a Summer Dress” – During the summer months, I almost exclusively wear dresses and skirts, and I’ve been leaning more and more toward dresses recently. If you’re also a fan of summer dresses but sometimes feel stymied by how to style them, this post from Bridgette Raes can help.  Bridgette shows 5 different types of summer dresses and how you can use them to create stylish and cohesive outfits.

On Other Topics

  • Maybe Variety Isn’t the Spice of Life” – We are taught to believe that more choices are a good thing, but having to make too many decisions can actually paralyze us and decrease our happiness. This article from Be More with Less offers concrete suggestions for eliminating meaningless decisions from your life so you have more time and energy for what you really want to do.
  • How to Avoid the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” – Someone close to me is very sick and may be dying, so I recently took some time to revisit this 2014 post from Always Well Within. When I look at the list of the top 5 regrets, I realize that most of them would be true for me if I learned I was dying today.  That’s really an eye-opener and a sign that I need to make some changes. One of the best things about this article is that it includes 10 simple guidelines for a meaningful life.   I think I need to print that list out and look at it at least once each day!
  • The Naked Now” – This article from Geneen Roth really resonated with me and I thought many of you might also enjoy it. For many years, I was always waiting for the next big thing to happen in my life so that I could finally be happy, be it the right job, the right relationship, the right number on the scale, or the right clothes in my closet.  But as I continually kept my eye on what’s next, I lost sight of the present moment. Geneen has some wonderful insights on this topic and shares how she has learned to live more in the now.

From the Archives

Each month, I share a few early “Recovering Shopaholic” posts (you can see all of them on the Archives page) that I think you might enjoy reading.  All of the posts below were published last May. If you resonate with these posts, I’d love to get your thoughts.   I wish I could leave comments open on all of my previous posts, but due to spam issues I’ve had to close things out after two weeks. Please feel free to share any comments you have about the archived posts here instead.

  • Packing for Travel: Reader Tips and Useful Links” – The last trip I took was a year ago this month!  That’s hard to believe because I used to travel far more often. Before I took that trip, I rounded up some helpful advice from readers and fellow bloggers on how to pack successfully.  If you’re planning to take a trip soon, you may want to check out this post for some tips to make getting ready to go much easier.
  • Packing for May 2014 Travel – The Debrief” – For the first-time ever, I actually tracked how what I packed worked (or didn’t work) for me during a trip. In this post, I share photos of what I packed for my trip to Tahoe last year, as well as some of the outfits I wore while I was away.   I also highlight what I wish I’d taken with me and what should have been left at home.   I definitely plan to re-read this post before my next trip, which hopefully won’t be too long from now.
  • How Many Basics Do We Really Need?” – In this post, I challenge the conventional wisdom that we should stock up on lots of “basics” for our closets. In my efforts to shop my closet more than the stores last year, I learned that I had too many basic pieces.  That led me to feel very bored with my wardrobe.   If you check out this post, be sure to read the comments, as there was a lot of discussion on what “basics” are and what represents a good percentage of basics in one’s closet.


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.  If you have questions for me or suggestions for future posts, please share them in the comments section or contact me directly via email or social media.

I’ll be back soon with my May accountability post and an update on my “Love It, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI – see previous posts here), as well at least one follow-up post on wardrobe turnover inspired by reader comments.  I feel blessed to have such insightful readers who share such great feedback and challenge me with highly thought-provoking questions.  I learn so much from you all the time.  Have a wonderful weekend!

23 thoughts on “May 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

  1. What a great grab bag of links, Debbie! I’ve read several of them and feel inspired this morning :-). Thanks for including my wardrobe statistics link – I’ve done so much more with my spreadsheet now it’s crazy. Oh and I wish I could have talked for more than an hour this Saturday – we have so many things to talk about!

    Best of weekends to you, Mike, Sprite and Coco 🙂

    • It was my pleasure to include your article, Mette! I’d love to see this full spreadsheet, as I know it would give me ideas. But I’m sure it’s in Danish and I wouldn’t be able to read it! Yes, we could talk for hours… I hope you have a great weekend, too!

  2. Living in the present is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Staying focused on the here and now can help reduce the “chatter” in one’s life. I no longer am on a quest for …. whatever it was that I thought I needed. I’ve had to make some lifestyle changes along the way, and I am MUCH happier with a somewhat simpler life. Friends and family are more precious, a perfect day is more precious, my current wardrobe is more precious, etc. I wish I had embraced living in the present a bit earlier in life but I regret hardly anything. I have no fear of missing out — whatever it is I am not supposed to be missing. The present is a calm and restful place, the past is a pleasant (if fading) memory, and the future is something I hope I wake up to each day.

    • You’ve inspired me today Dottie 🙂
      Did you come to this yourself or can you recommend some reading material?

      • I would recommend The Power of Now or A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Both are excellent introductions to living in the present moment, the only moment we have. I personally have benefitted from Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. His mindfulness based yoga meditation is a wonderful way to reduce stress, relax and live in the present. My life is so much better when I do that meditation. It involves simple movements which really appeal to me since sitting still to meditate is very painful. Hope these resources help.

    • You inspired me, too, Dottie. Your comment is so right on… I am not exactly young, but I’m hoping that I can start embracing living in the present, too. Living in the future – or the past – does not bring happiness or fulfillment. I currently have regrets, but I hope to get to the place where I do not have any.

  3. What a gorgeous photo Debbie! Congratulations on your progress, the closet numbers are just wonderful, I truly hope to get there one day. I just did another purge. I seem to be doing one every 3 months, letting go of about 20 items at a time. I have had some good luck consigning. I am still horrified by my numbers (around 350) and i feel stupid that I was apparently blind to the amount I had while I was doing it! The pursuit of a good deal was kinda more important than the actual wearing I guess. I feel silly and wasteful but hey I am awake now and thank goodness for you. I pounce on your new postings before anything else in my email!

    • Slow and steady is how I decreased the size of my wardrobe, Shelley. You are on the right track. If you keep going as you have been, you will definitely get there. It’s taken me 2.5 years (and more really, as I was working on my shopping and wardrobe before I started the blog) to get to where I am. Everyone proceeds at her own rate and there is no right pace of absolute right size wardrobe. Even our individual numbers and preferences will change over time. I’m glad you are finding my blog helpful on your journey. Please check back in and let me know how you’re doing.

  4. Excellent resources here, thanks Debbie, I particularly enjoyed the ‘other topics’ section. Have a lovely weekend x

    • Glad you liked this month’s links, Saltbox. I really liked the “other topics” articles, too… I hope you have a lovely weekend, too!

  5. Thanks for reminding me of The Nife en L’Air, I love her common sense approach. In the rest of life I embrace adequate wholeheartedly, but in my wardrobe get obsessed with attaining a perfection that logically I know does not exist. Her blogs on simplicity and minimalism, and culling tips are so sensible.

    • Yes, her blog is really wonderful, Lynn. I always enjoy her insightful articles. I do better with “adequate” in other areas of my life, too, but am still working on it with my wardrobe. The article on perfection was a good reminder for me and hopefully for others reading this blog, too.

  6. Debbie, lovely photo taken with Mike’s camera. Knowing that you chose the time of day and the setting, and with a little bit of instruction from Mike you captured a perfect moment in time. I can use the word perfect because nature and a natural setting “is” always perfect. You are on your way to becoming a photography student who has the ability to surpass your teachers. I love stormy skies/ocean twilight. Also, great combination of links you have provided. I also feel that good wardrobe links work best when combined with links to great full life articles, because that’s what it is really all about– having a wardrobe of clothes we love to best support us while we are leading a good and rich life. There was a time when I thought a full life needed to be large (the same as I once thought a good wardrobe needed to be large) yet I have since discovered that some of the best lives lived can also be small, and are equally as full-circle as big lives.

    • Thank you for your kind words on my photo, Terra, and I’m glad you liked the links, too. I agree that wardrobe links combine well with full life articles. You are so right that our wardrobes should really be about supporting us in living full lives. Clothes and shopping shouldn’t BE our lives. I also agree with you that a full life doesn’t need to be large (nor does a good wardrobe). I don’t really want a large life anymore, just a full and happy one.

  7. Lovely photo! You have added another must to my upcoming San Diego trip! Thank you for the thought-provoking links… I highly recommend the Barry Schwatrz book discussed in the Maybe Variety Isn’t the Spice of Life post. I have read, reread, and read again, The Paradox of Choice, and the science is stunning. This book changed the way I look at so many different aspects of life. More choice is not necessarily better; we have to find the sweet spot before the diminishing returns!

    • I really need to read that book, Liz! It’s been on my “to read” list for a while, but it keeps coming up and should probably move to the TOP of the list now. I totally agree that more choices aren’t necessarily better. I’ve had to learn that the hard way!

  8. Nice spinoff on the five regrets of the dying … everyone knows where they don’t want to end up, but few know how to actively avoid these regrets!

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