August 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

Before I dive into the topic of today’s post, I want to thank regular reader Margaret for her excellent post on how to successfully shop for clothes on eBay.  Usually when people write guest posts, they do so at least partially to drive traffic to their own blogs, but a few readers of “Recovering Shopaholic” have written articles solely out of a desire to share their knowledge with others.  Margaret is one of these people and her post was very informative and comprehensive! To see all of the previous guest posts on the blog, click here.  If you have a topic you’d like to share with this community, please contact me to tell me about it and find out if it would be a good fit for a future post.

torrey pines beach

A hazy August day overlooking Torrey Pines Beach in La Jolla, California.

With all that said, let’s move on to today’s post. It’s coming up on the end of August, 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 usually also share a few previous “Recovering Shopaholic” posts that you may have missed the first time around, but since I just opened the archives last week on the topic of compulsive shopping, I’m skipping that section this month and including some extra articles in the other categories instead.

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 (both of which will be updated soon), 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 this month’s links:

On Shopping and Shopping Psychology

  • 5 Ways to Beat Your Shopping Addiction” – This article from CBS Moneywatch was shared by a reader during the heated discussion we had last week about the recovery process from compulsive shopping. Not only does the author share some powerful ways to address a shopping problem, he also outlines what doesn’t work, namely shame and logic. Well worth a read…
  • Understanding the Diderot Effect (and How to Overcome It)” – You may have never heard the term “Diderot Effect” before (I know I hadn’t…), but I’m sure you’ve experienced it. It’s what happens when we buy one new thing and find ourselves wanting to buy more.  This article from Becoming Minimalist explains this phenomenon further and offers five tips on how to resist unnecessary consumerism.
  • Fear & Eileen Fisher Slouchy Pants” – I’ve posted quite a few articles from Grechen’s Closet’s “Minimal Closet” series before and they are all well worth reading (even a second or third time). But recently, Grechen found herself doing a lot of shopping following a period of closet downsizing, less buying, and being happy with what she had. Her reason for doing so strongly resonated with me – because it’s easier to focus on our wardrobes than on the deep unknown of other areas in our lives.  I really saw myself in what Grechen wrote and I suspect many of you will, too.  This post served as a powerful reminder that I need to focus more on the rest of my life, no matter how scary it may be…
  • Clothing Budget Q & A” – The topic of clothing budgets and how much we should spend on our wardrobes is one that is rarely discussed by style bloggers. That’s why I really appreciated this recent Q & A post from Putting Me Together. Audrey openly shares how much she spends on her clothes and why, and offers some useful tips on budgeting and how to determine the value of what we’re considering buying.

On Wardrobe Management

  • How to Purge Your Closet When You Love Everything in It” – This is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read on the subject of wardrobe downsizing. I love pretty much anything that Bridgette Raes writes, but this is probably my favorite post of hers.   If you’ve ever struggled with letting go of items in your closet, I highly encourage you to read this article.   Topics covered include the problem with sales, “splitting your wears,” shopping bans, and why we need to stop shaming ourselves.  Be sure to click on some of the links within the post and check out some of Bridgette’s other “greatest hits.”
  • Numbers – How Often Can I Wear What I Have?” – You all know how much I love numbers and analysis, so it’s no surprise that this post from MOderate Wardrobe sparked my interest. We often think about how large we want our wardrobes to be, but what considerations go into those figures?   What we really need to look at is how often we will really wear what we have.  This involves considering what we own, the climate in which we live, and our lifestyle.  Mo shares her process of analysis, as well as her own numbers, and it’s quite thought-provoking!
  • Traveling Light and Packing for Travel” – Terra Trevor of Pacific Beachlife is another previous guest poster – and frequent commenter – on “Recovering Shopaholic” (see her posts HERE and HERE). Like many of us, Terra used to struggle with packing when going on a trip.  However, over the years, she has learned the art of travelling light. She shares some of her best packing tips, as well as a list of what she brought with her on a recent six-day trip to St. Louis.

On Style

  • Eleven Facts and Tips about Bras and Bra Fitting” – What we wear under our clothes is just as important as the garments that other people see! This post from You Look Fab was an interesting read and I learned at least a few new things from it, including why bras are so expensive and why you shouldn’t get a bra fitting at Victoria’s Secret.
  • Do You Have a Process for Deciding What to Wear?(video) – I like to include at least one video in these monthly link round-ups. Every once in a while, Imogen Lamport from Inside Out Style teams up with Jill Chivers of Shop Your Wardrobe to make videos on a variety of topics related to clothing and shopping.  One of their recent collaborations is a lively discussion of the factors that go into their daily outfit selection.   The banter between them is fun and they raise some thought-provoking points.
  • How to Mix and Match Jewelry” – As longtime readers know, I have a lot of jewelry. I love jewelry, but I often struggle with which pieces to wear with my outfits and how to determine if jewelry items pair well together or clash.  This article from Bridgette Raes (yes, I have included two links from her today) includes five great tips on jewelry mixing and matching, complete with pictures for how to apply them.  The tip that helped me the most is to separate your focal points, i.e. don’t wear statement earrings and a statement necklace at the same time (despite what you may see in catalogs!).

On Other Topics

  • A Quest for Meaning” – Sometimes we keep ourselves so busy that we don’t have time to think about what we want the meaning of our lives to be. But when we simplify our lives through a conscious effort at minimalism, we have more time to think about deeper topics beyond shopping and consumerism.  This excellent article from The Nife en L’Air explores the subjects of happiness and meaning and includes some food for thought from two recent pieces that the author found meaningful.
  • The Innovation of Loneliness(video) – You get two videos this month! This video was shared by a reader in response to one of my recent posts.  Drawing upon the content of a TED talk from Sherry Turkle (which is also well worth watching), Shimi Cohen ponders the connection between social networks and being lonely.  Just how fulfilling are our online connections? Are “friends” really the same as friends?  Many of us are sacrificing conversation for mere connection and that comes with a price.
  • How to Avoid a Near-Life Experience” – Do you feel overwhelmed by the pace of your life and unable to relax? Do you feel distracted and have difficulty focusing?  Many people today feel like something is missing in their lives despite how relentlessly busy they are. Chris Kresser is known for being a health expert, but his tips in this article for living a richer, more fulfilling, and happier life are right on.  I especially need to follow suggestions #5 and #6.
  • Apples to Elephants” – No one on the internet is living the life you think they are, says Paul Jarvis. Although we pick and choose which bits and bytes we share on social media, we tend to believe that everyone else is smarter, more successful, more interesting and happier than we are. If we compare our entire lives to the highlight reels we see on other people’s feeds, we’re not comparing apples to apples. It’s more like apples to elephants.  That’s the gist of this post, but I encourage you to read it anyway, as Paul has a way of saying things that really drives the point home in a powerful way.


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 some reflections on entering the last year of my 40’s, an update on my “Love It, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI – see previous posts here), and my August accountability update.   Stay tuned for those posts and more articles on building a workable wardrobe and cultivating a meaningful life outside of shopping.

20 thoughts on “August 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

  1. I read “5 Ways To Beat Your Shopping Addiction” The article is a spot on summary of the points I made a few days ago…..but I was roundly bashed because I spoke with a passion born from personal experience…. as a child of a compulsive shopper.
    I cannot apologize for my passion, my sense of urgency. A dollar here, a dollar there…would have made such a difference in my life and that of my three siblings.

    • Gloria N., what I have learned is that people sometimes act and speak in a manner that is not kind when they are hurting. I’m guessing that you are in pain from the harmful way your mother raised you. I am deeply sorry for your loss. What you were forced to endure was desperate and no child deserves such treatment. Yet now as an adult the only person you can save is yourself. You are correct that the article is a summary of the points you were attempting to make, or that you know in your heart and wanted to make, but the tone of delivery in the article makes it readable because it is not directed at anyone in particular. Have you considered writing an article of your own? As the child of a mother with a shopping addiction, if you have recovered from your pain enough to have the sensitivity required, your voice will be powerful and much needed. Meanwhile, please understand that not everyone who reads this blog is struggling with addiction. This blog is about much more than just over shopping and over spending, and we are cheering Debbie on, knowing that in time she will begin to place more focus on the rest of her life and less attention on the shopping. Let’s give her a bit more time and let’s not judge her. We can either continue to read here, be kind in our public comments, or not comment at all, or decide that this blog is not for us and move on. I respect your journey and I wish you much success.

      • I think 99% of readers would agree with you. Thank you for putting into words what I’m sure a lot of readers are thinking.

        Gloria, this is not your fight. It is not your responsibility to save Debbie. Your antagonistic stance of shaming is more likely to see her taking solace in shopping so my polite advice is to stop picking this particular scab and move on.

        My heartfelt advice to Debbie is to not engage. Just because someone puts gloves on doesn’t mean we have to fight. Frankly I’m disappointed in myself that I have even responded to this so I’ll bid you adieu Gloria.

      • I beg to disagree with the last two commenters.
        As long time silent follower, the lively discussions of the last few days captured my attention and prompted me to get involved for the first time. As I read back, I can see multiple commenters stating that they are commenting for the first time. Debbie received more comments and re-clicks in the last few days than she normally gets. The discussions had some teeth and were thought provoking. After all, is this blog not about being a recovering shopaholic, and all of it’s aspects? Should the discussions be limited to a brief mention of how well we think we’re all doing with this, and then we must return to sleeve lengths and fabric quality ?
        My issues with compulsive shopping are complex, and I appreciated new perspectives being brought into a discussion that has become somewhat predictable, comfortable, and self-soothing. Do I feel scolded or shamed by a passionate tone? No. I’m a big girl. If anything, I felt woken up.
        I also want to stress that I do not see Gloria N’s comments as an attack on Debbie herself. I thought she was complimentary toward Debbie’s talents as a writer and communicator, and simply wished to push the dialogue into some of the more serious ramifications of compulsive shopping. I truly welcome a more open discussion. I find it exciting and thought- provoking. I hope. if there are others out there with compelling stories they are longing to give voice to, will feel welcome to participate. I notice that there seems to be a small group of commenters who do not want an expanded dialogue,something like a clique, who want to adhere firmly to the status -quo . I think this is more of a disservice to Debbie , her talent, and this blog than any new-comer with a new viewpoint. I plan to hang in there, and I hope Gloria N. will too. After all, it is Debbie, herself, who decides what comments she will post, or not.
        Thank you

      • Maybe padding on each other’s back and congratulating each other is what the writer and the commentators consciously or subconsciously want? I think and behave in similar manner. Whenever my husband points out that I shop too much, I always respond–but I am doing so much better than before, can you not see? Yet my closet is filled to capacity and I have to buy new hangers.

        I have not found my solution yet, although the speed of my shopping slowed down. I sure root for Debbie as I root for myself to succeed from shopping addiction, I know in my heart that keeping buying is not progress, non linear or not.

      • Hey, I don’t feel scolded. I’m not offended by a strong tone . I’m a big girl and I think we’re all big girls. I welcome strong opinions. I’m here to learn, about others and myself. My issues are painful to me and I don’t mind acknowledging and accepting the pain of others. Shame? A little shame is good ! Without it, I would really go off the rails. Having a conscience can be a good thing! Peace, sisters and brothers…..don’t exclude anyone. Don’t SHAME people into silence.


    • Thank you all for your input here. I very, very rarely censor the comments on this blog. Seriously, I can count on my hands the number of comments I have deleted. I don’t as a rule moderate comments or commenters. But I do want to keep the discourse here kind and respectful. Some of you may not have been bothered by some of the interchange last week, but I know as a fact that many people were, including me. And since this is my blog, I respectfully requested that the tone be kept on more of a kind and loving level.

      Anyone who has read the comments for a long time knows that many people do question and challenge me on a regular basis, and I have not shied away from that. As I have mentioned many times before, I learn a great deal from my readers and the questions and challenges I receive have helped me to grow and become a better person. It can often be a fine line between “tough love” and “shaming and bashing” and we may not all agree on what that line is. I strongly prefer not to have to censor anyone, and the comments on this blog remain open. I have to close them after two weeks on my posts due to an excessive spam problem (those people are really the worst). I wish I didn’t have to do that, but it became unmanageable. Most comments are done after about a week anyway, as we all move on to new posts and topics, but as new people find the blog regularly, I wish it were possible for them to comment on ANY post they find. Sadly, the spammers ruin things for us in that respect…

      I wanted to comment on what Lynn wrote about how keeping buying is not progress. I think it’s a matter of degree. I don’t think any of us expect to NEVER shop again. It’s simply not practical. We will all need to purchase replacement items and refresh our wardrobes from time to time. However, it’s true that most of us know in our hearts when it’s too much. In my case, it is still too much and I don’t think I’ve ever denied that. If I have, then I am here today to say that yes, I am still shopping too much and it’s a problem. While I didn’t relish a lot of last week’s exchange that occurred, it did make me think. Although I was already aware that I was overshopping and had experienced a relapse, part of why I decided to take the modified break that I wrote about yesterday was as a result of my thought process after what happened last week.

      I think it can be helpful for any of us to take a step or two back from time to time to re-evaluate things in our lives. Perhaps my doing so will encourage others to do the same. I will still be putting up some posts, so those who wish to converse in the comments section here may still do so. I won’t necessarily respond to everything, but I understand that some people don’t want to join the Facebook group but still want to discuss the types of topics we engage about on the blog. I have never scolded people for going off-topic from a given post and I’m not going to do so now. But I do have standards for my blog and those will govern the comments section as well. However, I have no desire to police people, so my hope is that we can keep things on a respectful level, as has almost universally been the case here. I believe that will continue to be the case and I honor and thank all of you for your participation and willingness to share.

  2. Great links as always Debbie, I was particularly interested in the Diderot effect. That happens to me more than I realised! I love being reminded of your older posts too, great reading for the weekend. Thank you 🙂

    • Thank you, Saltbox! I loved that post on the Diderot effect, too. It happens to me quite a bit as well, which may be why I tend to overshop during and after the NAS. That may be a topic of a future post, actually… I’m glad you enjoyed the links in this post and that they helped to enhance your weekend.

  3. Hi Debbie, I’ve been reading you for some time but haven’t commented yet since I am not that much into clothes (I was interested in you wardrobe management articles at some point because I had been given way too many clothes by my family). Just wanted you to know I agree with Babs and others about your talents as a writer — and as a photographer. Perhaps you also need to know you look good in *all* the outfits you have posted, even the ones you now dislike. I have to agree with Gloria that clothes are not what matters most. Your blog makes them quite interesting, yet I look forward to your posting more about other topics as well.

    • Thank you for your comment, Sam, and for your kind words on my talents (and about my outfits). I agree with both you and Gloria that clothes are not what matters most. Not by a long shot, but I haven’t always known that and have been very out of balance with my priorities in life. I have a very strong interest in writing on other topics and that has been on my mind a lot lately, long before it was mentioned last week. I do sometimes worry if there are many readers who ONLY want to read about wardrobe-related subjects, though, so I have been pondering whether I should perhaps start a second blog. But I might just mix up the topics here more. I’m going to post more of my photographs here this month, so if you like those, then you’re in luck. As for everything else, I will continue to give it deep thought and will hopefully decide soon what I want to do. I appreciate your input.

  4. We all have become so obsessed with the FB page! Did you realize it was going to be such a big hit? I love the immediacy of FB.

    • Deby, I’m enjoying it too. At first I was skeptical because I thought the conversations would be an extension of this blog, no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead it is a wide variety of topics posted by a wide variety of people and it’s perfect for those times when I want a lighthearted break from the serious work I do and the literary world I love and spend the majority of my time reading.

      Also, good links Debbie. In my opinion a few of these articles nail it, and offer concrete suggestions for anyone who is serious about ending unnecessary heavy shopping whether they are an addict, a recovering addict, or merely a person who needs to learn how to gain skills necessary to build a normal sized functioning wardrobe, without over shopping. And your photography is lovely. It adds great personal depth and offers a glimpse into the beginnings of the fuller life you are reaching for.

    • Deby and Terra, I’m so glad you are enjoying the Facebook group. I am, too! And no, I had no idea that it would be such a big hit. I was actually worried that I would have to facilitate it a lot, which is part of why I held off from starting it for so long (I also didn’t know how easy it would be to get it going). I love the wide variety of topics there and how much people share and support each others. It really is much better than I could have dreamed it would be!

      I’m glad you like the links, Terra. I try to include some good variety, as I know that we have readers with diverse interests. My goal is for there to be at least two or three articles that most people will want to click on and read. I’m so happy that my photography has been so well-received. I really am still a beginner with a lot to learn, but I am pleased with how it’s going thus far. I look forward to published a few theme-based photography posts during my September modified break. It will be fun to select the photos I wish to feature and to have more of my work out in the world.

  5. My story.
    The best thing about getting control of my shopping is watching my finances improve .In just a short time, I see my debt going down down down, and it feels so good ! Now, I can make carefully considered purchases without guilt, buy better quality, and have the blessing and enthusiasm of my spouse. He sees that the bottom line is healthy and improving…so no more sneaking and deception. He’s glad for me when I buy something that pleases me instead of fretting about what he might have seen as a lack of consideration on my part.

    How did I do this? It was easy! I decided to buy nothing new for as long as it took to see and feel a difference in the pressure my constant shopping put on our finances. I would say I felt results around the 8 week mark. During this time I “shopped my closet” and had fun doing it. It was a way of helping me see what I already had . I actually put into practice many of the things I had read about such as determining my core colors and making sure most things would work together. After that, the most important thing was to direct my thoughts in other directions for a bit, not thinking about shopping for clothes. It was summer and easier to focus on family fun and taking it easy. That isn’t to say I couldn’t shop,because I did! Only during these weeks it was for picnic supplies and water toys. Regular life was never the issue, my clothes obsession was.
    The weeks flew by, and it was easy for me, because I had put up this mental wall I was not going to cross. Inside, I wanted to see how strong I could be. It felt really Good!
    The very best part was that the money I would usually spend went towards those credit card balances IN ADDITION to the payments we would usually make. Now, I look at the credit cards in a different way. They are assurances that if my family has a need, like new shoes or a coat, or I have to buy an unexpected gift. I can do this without worries.

    • I really appreciate your sharing your story with all of us, Gabby. I know that I was very inspired reading about your success and I congratulate you on how far you’ve come in such a short period of time! It sounds like you had a wonderful simmer with your family. Not only did you save money and pay off debts, you also probably have a lot of wonderful memories of those picnics and water fun. Good for you!

    • Gabby, Would you be willing to let me share your story as part of my “Stories of Recovery” series? I tried to email you about this, but the email bounced 😦 I could certainly publish it anonymously anyway, but I prefer to ask permission. If you see this comment and are open to this, please let me know. I think you story could inspire a lot of people and would have a much greater reach as a post than here in the comments section. Thank you!

  6. Sorry to be so long, but I want to end this by saying that after this time passed I visited everyone.s favorite store, the big “N”It was if a spell had been broken. I looked at everything so differently. I saw bad fabric and poor sewing in the departments I usually shopped in and I knew I could and should do better for myself. That is where the planning come in now, I plan to buy better quality, make better decisions, and in the end I will look and feel better.
    During these summer weeks I still had fun. I did get a pedi every couple of weeks (took daughter with was fun!) and took no time at all to do little things, a starbucks here and there a book on Kindle. Because I tried to stay active with my kids, I managed to lose 12 lbs, which was also part of my summer plan. Whew! Not browsing the clothing stores was the easy part. the weight loss. not so much.
    I just feel anyone can reduce compulsive shopping if they really want to, even if by just a little bit,and every little bit can help. Most importantly, it feels so good to be in control . It.s such a good thing and everyone benefits.

    Thanks for reading my story.


    • No apologies necessary, Gabby! I really enjoyed reading about your progress and I’m sure that I’m not alone in that sentiment. How wonderful that the spell was broken for you at the big “N” (maybe we should just call it that from now on – they certainly don’t need any extra publicity).

      It sounds like you had an amazing summer. Congratulations on your weight loss, too! I agree that every little bit can help when it comes to overcoming a compulsive shopping problem. I think it’s good for us to acknowledge our successes, no matter how small they may be. But your successes are big – and amazing. You should be very proud of yourself! I appreciate your sharing so much with all of us.

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