Pressing the Pause Button

2018 UPDATE:  Please note that as of January 2018, I’m back to blogging! You can read more about it in this post, but I invite you to visit my new blog, Full Life Reflections, where I write about the journey towards happiness, peace, and fulfillment in today’s chaotic world. My new blog basically picks up where this one left off on the “full life” side of the equation… Hope to see you there! 


I’m grateful for the wonderful comments and emails I received on my last two posts, “Recapping Balance and Striving for Peace” and “The End Game of Project 333 and Capsule Wardrobes(NOTE: both of these posts have been moved over to my new blog).  I’m always happy when my writing resonates with readers and I appreciate those who took the time to let me know that what I wrote was meaningful to them.  I’m actually quite proud of these two essays, as well as much of the content I’ve published in the past four years.

The Value of the “Power Pause”

I’ve often written about the “power pause(a term borrowed from Jill Chivers of “Shop Your Wardrobe”) as a helpful technique for cutting down on mindless shopping and compulsive buying.   So many of us feel utterly convinced in the moment that we have to have a particular item of clothing, but if we push ourselves to wait for a couple of days – or even a few hours – that need often dissipates.  I use this technique as much as possible, even if it means leaving items in my online shopping cart overnight or having to backtrack to a brick-and-mortar store the next day to buy something.  More often than not, I don’t end up purchasing the item in question because the passage of time shows me that it’s just not critical to my wardrobe or my life.  I simply don’t need it as much as I thought I did, if at all.  The power pause has saved me a lot of money I might have spent on items I didn’t really need or even want.  It’s also saved me countless hours spent on making returns, as well as deep feelings of guilt regarding the sheer waste of it all.

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Normal-Sized Wardrobe Revisited…

The most popular post on “Recovering Shopaholic” – by far – is one that I wrote way back in February 2013, just one month into the blog.  Which post was it?  The title is, “What is a Normal-Sized Wardrobe?” and you can access it HERE.  In that essay, I wrote about a closet decluttering session my husband and I did and how it got me thinking about the concept of a “normal-sized” wardrobe.  My pondering led to a basic formula that used frequency of wear as a guideline in figuring out how many clothes and shoes we need.

normal-sized wardrobe

That single post has been viewed over 100,000 times!  Clearly, a lot of people are interested in the concept of wardrobe size and whether or not the number of clothing pieces they have is “normal.” I furthered the discussion of what’s a normal or ideal wardrobe size a year later with “What is Your Ideal Wardrobe Size?”  In that article, I delved a bit deeper and looked at how climate and lifestyle issues affect how many clothes a person might need or want to have.

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Hypothetical Summer 2016 Project 333 Capsule Wardrobe

Last night, my husband and I attended Courtney Carver’s “Tiny Wardrobe Tour.”  It was wonderful to finally meet Courtney (after having known her online for over four years) and to hear her speak and answer questions about fashion challenge Project 333.   Those who have been following my journey since the beginning may remember that Courtney challenged me to do Project 333 back in 2013.  Despite my fear and trepidation, I accepted her dare, blogged weekly about my experiences (beginning here, but you can read all of my Project 333 posts HERE), and reaped many benefits from taking on dressing with less for three months (I later took on the challenge a second time).

Courtney Carver and Debbie Roes

It was wonderful to finally meet Courtney Carver, the creator of Project 333. 

I will share some thoughts about and follow-on actions from Courtney’s talk in a future post, but today I want to focus on what I did prior to attending the presentation.  Anticipating what she would be talking about – “the hows and whys of starting Project 333 to bring more simplicity, love, and joy into your life,” I got to thinking about my experiences with the challenge back in 2013 and 2014 and how easy or difficult it might be for me to dress with just 33 items today. On a whim, I decided to draft a hypothetical Project 333 list for the summer season that will be drawing to a close soon (where I live, we experience hot weather through at least October). In today’s post, I highlight which items I selected and some insights I gained through doing the exercise.

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From “Fast-Fashion” Addict to Minimalism and Sparking Joy

The following is a guest post from Chau Le, who previously shared her story of recovery back in January 2015.  She has gained some new insights and tips since then that she is graciously sharing with us today. 

Chau Le of Milo Theory

Chau Le of “Milo Theory”

Chau is a globetrotter (14+ countries) and an avid Krav Maga addict. She lived abroad in Taiwan and Spain during her college years, picking up languages and a love for exotic, foreign foods. She relocated to sunny California after graduating from Portland State University and worked in the Communications and PR field. She has recently returned to school (again) to pursue nursing — perhaps the second hardest decision in her life (besides leaving Belgium after just 10 days years ago)! 

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KonMari in the Closet: July 2016 Edition

A little over a year ago, I used the “KonMari Method” to pare down my wardrobe.   At the time, I was able to purge 23 garments and 32 accessories from my closet.  Since then, I have continued to do some culling here and there, including my recent jewelry box downsizing back in April.  It’s good to periodically let pieces go when we find they aren’t working for us, but sometimes a more formal closet audit is in order, especially when we notice that the our wardrobe size is gradually increasing. So I decided to use Marie Kondo’s decluttering process once again this past weekend.

konmari your closet

The “KonMari Method” can help you downsize your closet. 

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What Are Your Favorite 100 Wardrobe Items?

A couple of weeks ago, I read about an exercise that could help us to pare down our wardrobes.  The instructions are simple:  select the top 100 items in your closet.  The idea is that once you separate out your favorite pieces, it will be easier to let go of at least some of the things that didn’t make the cut.  Since I love to do wardrobe exercises and am always up for a challenge, I decided to take this exercise on. In today’s post, I will share how it went for me, what I selected, and what I learned from the process.

top 100 items

The Number 100 Isn’t Written in Stone…

Now, 100 items may seem like too many for some of you or far too few for others.  As with Project 333 and other capsule wardrobe concepts (like this one for example), the number is not nearly as significant as the challenge itself.  If you have a small wardrobe but are intrigued by this exercise, perhaps you might want to select your top 50 or 75 items (or whatever number feels right to you).  On the flip side, if you have a very large wardrobe and find the idea of paring it down to 100 (even just “on paper”) extremely anxiety-producing, you can of course select a larger number.   The point is to stretch yourself and get to thinking about what you really need – and truly love – in your closet.

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The “KonMari Method” in the Jewelry Box

In my last post, I shared the results of a wardrobe memory exercise that I recently took on.  I tried to remember the contents of my closet and jewelry box without looking.   I found that I was able to write down 91% of my wardrobe (including shoes) but only 77% of my jewelry collection.   I came to a number of conclusions from doing the exercise, one of which was that I still own too many garments, shoes, and accessories for my lifestyle.

Since it has been almost a year since I used the “KonMari Method” in my closet (I also used the process with my books and compact discs), I have decided to take it on again, beginning with my jewelry.   This afternoon, I spent approximately an hour and a half going through my bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and other jewelry pieces to see what does and doesn’t “spark joy.”  In today’s post, I share the process and the results of this session.

Jewelry Box

My jewelry box is actually much bigger than this one!  

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