Why Tracking Purchases is Important & How to Do It

Last weekend, I spent several hours updating my purchase list for the year. This task took such a long time because I hadn’t done it in over four months and had to hunt around a lot for the pertinent information.  Since I had put off the update for so long, it ended up being a much more surprising – and depressing – experience than it should have been.  This has highlighted the importance of updating the list regularly, at least once a month, in order to increase awareness and hopefully prevent myself from getting out of control with my purchases.

purchase tracking

Tracking your purchases can help you control your shopping. 

Even though I update QuickBooks (what my husband and I use for our accounting) every one to two weeks, I still have a tendency to keep myself “in the dark” in terms of what’s going on with my shopping. I may know the financial numbers and even be able to stick to a budget, as I’ve done for three plus years now, but I often lose sight of how many items I’m buying and how they are or aren’t working for my wardrobe and life.

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

Travel Packing Debrief – July 2016 Texas Trip

I recently returned from a five day trip to Fort Worth, Texas (sister city to Dallas).  It was my first time to that area other than the DFW airport (which doesn’t count…), so it was an adventure.  The reason I went there was to meet up with some of the wonderful ladies from the private Facebook group I started, most of whom I had never met in person but had conversed with many times online. A Fort Worth local took the reins in planning the event and thought of lots of special details that I never would have considered myself.  She even organized an early celebration for my 50th birthday, complete with tiara and Hawaiian lei (photo below).  Here are a couple of pictures of me embracing the Texas culture with a fringed boot and cowboy hat:

Debbie in Texas

While it’s true that July isn’t necessarily the ideal time to visit Texas, the heat wasn’t as extreme as I’d feared.  I mostly stayed indoors during the day and enjoyed the balmy evenings when no jacket was required.  All in all, it was a fun-filled trip and I’m so grateful I was able to make it!  I don’t get many in-person interactions in my day-to-day life, so it was so nice to be able to look into people’s eyes and share laughter and meaningful conversations face to face.  I wish I could show you the photos I took of the lovely women in attendance, but not everyone wants to splash photos of themselves across the Internet, so I’ll respect their privacy.   Suffice it to say that they are all beautiful inside and out and I’m pleased to know them.

I hadn’t traveled in almost a year (see my last travel debrief here) and I just don’t do it often enough to get good at packing.  I don’t know if I will ever be a packing minimalist, but I’ve found that reflecting back on what did and didn’t work has helped me improve in terms of making the right decisions and not over-packing so much (I have a long history of doing just that!).  In today’s post, I look at what I brought to Texas with me, whether or not my packing served me well, and what I wore during my stay.

Continue reading

July 2016 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

Thank you so much to all who commented on my last two posts, the fishing harbor photography interlude and my 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale experience. I normally like to respond to all comments, but I was away for five days and am still catching up on things after returning home as well as dealing with some ongoing personal issues. Please know that I read and appreciate all comments and learn a great deal from the wonderful insights you share, as do your fellow readers.  I plan to do a travel packing debrief (like this one) next week, as I know those types of posts are popular and well-received.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be a packing minimalist (see a post from one of those below…), but I continue to improve in terms of actually using most of what I take along with me on trips, so that’s a positive thing.

It’s almost the end of July, so it’s time for the latest installment of useful links (see previous editions here).  Included below are links to articles I hope you’ll enjoy on the subjects of shopping and shopping psychology, wardrobe management, style, and personal development.  I’m also sharing a few previous “Recovering Shopaholic” posts that you may have missed the first time around (or may choose to revisit now). 

Overlooking the beach in Del Mar, California

Overlooking the beach in Del Mar, California.

Continue reading

How I Shopped the 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

For many years, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (NAS) has been my absolute favorite sale.  I’d look forward to the sale all year and go online to check out the offerings shortly after midnight on the first day of “pre-selections” for Nordstrom cardholders.  I would usually make multiple purchases before the sale was over, both online and in the store. Over the years, I’ve spent far too much money at this sale and have often bought things that I later regretted purchasing.

2016 nordstrom anniversary sale

Do you shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale every year?

NAS Blog Posts Over the Years…

Every year since starting this blog, I’ve done a post about NAS.  The first year (2013), I opted to skip the sale entirely, which was empowering for me at the time and proved to myself that I could successfully resist shopping temptation.  The following year, I went back to the sale with good intentions, but encountered some of the same difficulties I had in the past, spending too much time, energy, and money on the process.

My NAS post last year was about FOMO and the marketing messages that Nordstrom used to trigger our fear of missing out and get us to shop more.  I shopped the sale last year, too, but ended up returning the lion’s share of what I bought.  Fortunately, however, I spent a lot less time on the experience and didn’t feel that I overdid it, even in the face of the intense marketing messages directed toward Nordstrom shoppers.

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

How to Dress for Weight Fluctuations

In my last post, I wrote about body image and how it affects both shopping and style.  I shared my thoughts on that topic, as well as some insights from members of my private Facebook group.   I’ve already received some very wise and thought-provoking comments from readers – and you’re welcome to share more, but today I’d like to move on to a related topic.

Sometimes our body image challenges arise as a result of actual weight gain, which leads us to feel less than fab about the way we look.  In other instances, we may fluctuate in weight due to health issues, changing metabolism, seasonal shifts, or other reasons.  When our weight goes up and down by a few pounds or more, or if we experience bloating from digestive distress, crazy hormones, or whatever, figuring out what to wear can become difficult.  This has been the case for me as of late for many of the reasons I mentioned above.  Again, I turned to the collective wisdom of the Facebook group for answers.  In today’s post, I share what group members had to say about how to best dress for weight fluctuations.

dressing for weight fluctuations

Bloating & weight shifts can make it challenging to get dressed. 

Continue reading