Slow and Steady Wins the Race Against Overshopping and Closet Chaos

The following is a guest post from Esther, who shares how taking on two challenges over the past year has helped her to gain control of her shopping, pare down her wardrobe, improve her personal style, and feel more at peace with herself. 


Ever since I was a teenager, I have always felt “out of step” and like I never knew how to dress. I longed for a uniform so I didn’t need to stress out about what to wear. In my search for ease, I actually started buying and buying. Ironic, isn’t it? I was always attracted to minimalism but went in the opposite direction. On top of that, I picked a profession (or it picked me) where I lived in workout clothes. Remember when those “track suits” were popular? That was the closest thing to a uniform I ever found. Meanwhile, I had tons of clothes but “nothing to wear”!

Fast forward to July 2015 when I asked my daughter to help me find a style. She suggested that I use both Pinterest and Google. It was through my online searching that I found this blog. That was the first time I realized I was a shopaholic. When Debbie’s private Facebook group started, I was “home.” I became a daily contributor, even though it took me a while to do outfit of the day (OOTD) posts.

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

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 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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How I Found Closet Serenity (a.k.a. My Project 333 Experiment)

The following is a guest post from Sybil, a longtime reader of this blog.   After retiring at 60, Sybil transitioned to a self-employed consulting role, no longer going into an office every day.  That change opened her up to addressing her problem of over-shopping and she embarked on a Project 333 challenge – and she learned a lot! 

If you would like to be profiled in an upcoming installment of the “Stories of Recoveryseries (you can be anonymous if desired), please connect with me to share your thoughts.


Early in 2016, I decided to challenge myself with a modified Project 333 exercise – selecting 33 items of clothing and wearing only those pieces (accessories not included in count) for three months.  Those who know me well laughed at my plan.  I’m not exactly known for setting limits on myself.  But, remarkably, not only did I succeed, I reached a turning point in managing my wardrobe.  And, most surprising, the emotional payoff was significant.

Sybil's Project 333 Capsule Wardrobe

This was Sybil’s Project 333 capsule wardrobe earlier this year. 

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How a “Rolling Capsule Wardrobe” Can Help with Both Closet Chaos and Personal Style

The following is a guest post from Dianne, who lives in Brisbane Australia.  This is the story of Dianne’s battle with clothing chaos and how she’s conquering it through the use of an unconventional capsule wardrobe that she created herself.

If you would like to be profiled in an upcoming installment of the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), please connect with me to share your thoughts.


From Strict Budgeting to Bags Full of Clothes

I love finding bargains. After years of not having money to spend on myself as a stay-at-home mum with three children, I got a part-time job and found that I finally had some extra money to spend on me. This coincided with my losing 12 kilograms of weight. I then had a new figure, a new life, and some disposable income to spend on clothes.

After years of strict budgeting, I didn’t spend that much at first. I slowly started to cultivate my “boutique,” my own shop in my home. I began to buy more and more, and suddenly I became the person who went shopping for sales and came home with bags full of clothes. At some stage, it occurred to me that I was bringing in so much clothing that I couldn’t possibly wear it all.  However, I dismissed this thought, as I was stocking my own private store.

sale shopping

I shopped at sales and came home with bags full of clothes. 

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Shopaholic Recovery: Past, Present, and Future

I was recently interviewed for a television segment that will air next week (see the end of this post for more information) and I was asked about how far along I am in my recovery from compulsive shopping.  After pondering for a moment, I said that I am approximately 75% recovered at this point and will always have to be vigilant of my shopping behavior and the underlying feelings. In today’s post, I reflect upon the growth I’ve achieved thus far, where I am today in my recovery, and how I see the future unfolding.

Past Present And Future

The Starting Point

I started this blog in January 2013.  At that time, I had a closet stuffed full of clothes that I rarely or never wore, a wardrobe that lacked cohesion, little comprehension of my personal style aesthetic, virtually no control over my shopping behavior, and a completely unbalanced life.  Shopping was my main hobby and I shopped as a way of dealing with all types of feelings and life situations, both positive and negative.

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Debtors Anonymous is Not Just for Debtors

The following is a guest post from Susan B., who is sharing her journey as part of my “Stories of Recovery” series.  Susan is a financial sobriety evangelist. Her website, Getting Out from Going Under, provides guidance for people who are recovering from compulsive spending, shopping, and debting. Her recent book, “Getting Out from Going Under: Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders,” is filled with practical tips, inspiration, and a thought for each day to encourage and motivate you to stay on the path of recovery.

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), please connect with me to share your thoughts.

dealing with debt

Is bill paying a time of extreme stress for you?

My name is Susan B. and I’m a recovering shopaholic. More precisely, I’m recovering from an addiction to spending and buying that nearly killed me. I’m also a member of Debtors Anonymous (DA), a 12 step program (like Alcoholics Anonymous) for people who are out of control with money, with or without debt. And I haven’t had a shopping binge since April 25, 2009.

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A Pragmatic, Multi-Phased Approach to a Workable Wardrobe

The following is a guest post from Barb, who agreed to share her “story of recovery” with all of you.  Barb is an active member of my private Facebook group, where she shared her story about downsizing her wardrobe and upping her style quotient via a multi-phase system over the past two-plus years.  I thought Barb’s pragmatic approach would be both educational and inspiring for readers of “Recovering Shopaholic,” so I asked if she would be willing to share her story and some of her lovely outfit photos with us.

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.


A 65% Wardrobe Reduction in 2.5 Years!

I’m so flattered that Debbie asked me to share my story of recovering.  I say “recovering” because although I’ve made great progress, I feel as though I’m not finished yet.  The crux of my story is that I went from 478 clothing items in mid-2013 to just 164 at the end of 2015.  I feel it’s important for me to mention a few things at the outset. This significant closet downsizing didn’t happen overnight; I started paring down in 2013.  In addition, an integral part of the process was defining my style and shopping strategy.  This post describes how I handled reducing my clothing.  Shoes are a different story altogether…  Finally, I don’t have clothes in multiple sizes to address.  I have worn the same size since 2011.

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