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.” 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.
So much has been going through my mind since I published my last post. Crystallizing the thoughts I shared with you earlier this month was a breakthrough for me and has created an opening for new breakthroughs. I believe that this is the year when things will finally fall more into place for me after years of feeling stuck in the mire of my anxiety and discontent. Granted, I still feel stuck in many ways, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel, a clearing for a new and better reality.
Seeing a Clearing for a New and Better Reality…
Today’s post is another one I’ve been intending to write since the beginning of the year, but I wasn’t able to slow down and take the time to pull it all together. These more introspective essays don’t necessarily take longer to write than the ones with lots of photos and numbers, but they are more difficult for me to complete. I need to have the internal clarity in order to be able to express myself in a way that makes sense. My brain has felt like a big jumble for quite a while now with so much inner noise that it’s been hard for me to relax or sleep.
Back in September, I attended the San Diego session of Courtney Carver’s “Tiny Wardrobe Tour.” As I mentioned in my post the following day, knowing that I’d be attending this talk motivated me to create a hypothetical summer Project 333 capsule wardrobe (which I later decided to dress with for the month of October). At that time, I promised to share some of the insights I gained from the Tiny Wardrobe Tour presentation, but I haven’t been able to do so until now…
Courtney Carver’s “Tiny Wardrobe Tour” – September 2016, San Diego
A lot of thoughts came up for me during Courtney’s talk and I found myself on the verge of tears several times. I started capturing my thoughts shortly after the event, but I was unable to finish the post for some reason. I came back to it a couple of times, but ended up leaving it unfinished again. It wasn’t until this week that I was able to complete it to my satisfaction and share my musings here. Sometimes we need to sit with something for a while, and perhaps what’s happened in my life over the ensuing months has helped to crystalize the lessons in my mind.
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.
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.
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).
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.
The following is a guest post from Chau Le of Milo Theory, 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 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)!
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.
The “KonMari Method” can help you downsize your closet.