Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

As regular readers know, my theme for 2021 is “less,” which is basically an extension of my 2020 “enough” theme.” Although I experienced big wins last year related to feeling good enough and showing increased compassion for myself, I didn’t make as much progress as I’d hoped with downsizing my possessions and streamlining the way I spend time and consume information. Selecting “less” as my focus for this year seemed like a good way to increase my emphasis on those areas while also improving other facets of my life experience.

Now that almost half of 2021 is behind us (can you believe it?!), I’ve increased the attention I’m directing toward my “less” theme. Specifically, I’m examining the various areas of excess that are getting in the way of my happiness, and I’m finding ways of addressing them. Last month, I shared about my ongoing struggle with information overload, including open browser tabs, email backlog, articles to read, videos to watch, and items that I’m considering buying. After gaining clarity on those issues and the shifts I needed to make, I got to work on implementing the changes I outlined. I checked in a few weeks later with an update on the progress I’d already made, and I’m continuing to take steps toward making information overload a thing of the past.

In today’s post, I explore physical clutter and how I plan to tackle my remaining issues in that arena. My tolerance for disarray in my surroundings continues to decline as I pare away more and more of what I don’t love and don’t use. Although my husband and I played “The Minimalism Game” in January and got rid of over 500 items, we still have too much stuff! There are a few areas I’d like to address within the next month or so to help pare things down: books, framed photos, knick-knacks, and artwork.  I’ll delve into each of these topics below.

decluttering physical possessions

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My recent posts about my shoes (HERE and HERE) got me thinking about something very important when it comes to my closet (and possibly some of your closets as well). To a certain extent, it really doesn’t matter how many clothes, shoes, or whatever types of items we own. What matters are the things we’re actually wearing. The rest is simply “filler” that gives us a false sense of security that we have a sizeable wardrobe or “enough” to wear. In today’s post, I expand upon this concept, using the example of my shoes (since that’s fresh in all of our minds) to illustrate my points.

false sense of security

Do you THINK you have more viable options in your closet than you actually do?

The Number Isn’t the Real Issue

As I mentioned in my May 12th post, I currently own 28 pairs of shoes. This often feels like too many shoes given my present lifestyle, but if I were wearing all of them at least semi-regularly, I wouldn’t worry that much about the number. I’d likely put the brakes on new shoe purchases to cap the number that I own, but then I’d just wear what I have and let the overall number gradually decrease by means of attrition. As shoes wear out, or when I stop liking particular styles, I’d purge them and get my collection down to a more appropriate level for my needs and preferences.

But my primary issue isn’t that I have too many pairs of shoes in my closet. The real problem is that I have a number of shoes that I rarely or never wear. When I stare into my closet, I see what looks like a lot of footwear options, but can I really call them that if they’re never being chosen? If some of my shoes are only worn once in a great while simply because I feel guilty for having bought them, do those shoes even belong in my wardrobe?

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A few weeks ago, I revealed my ongoing struggle with information overload. In today’s post, I share how I’m doing with my efforts to pare down my information backlogs and prevent them from recurring.

overcoming information overload

My May 7th essay outlined the following areas of data excess:

  • Open browser tabs
  • My “read” and “watch” folders
  • Email backlog
  • My “considering” folder (links to items I’m thinking of buying)
  • Magazines, catalogs, and clipped articles

Included below are the steps I’ve taken to address each of the above issues, as well as what I plan to do before the month is over (just a few days left to go!). I also outline how I’m going to keep myself out of trouble in the future.

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Last week, I wrote about my shoes in the first installment of my periodic “Rule of Ten” series. I decided to split my footwear into two Rule of Ten collections: one for my summer shoes and the other for my “not summer” shoes (for the cooler months of the year). While I could have selected ten pairs of shoes for each collection, I only wanted to include the footwear that I love and wear regularly. Therefore, I chose only seven pairs of shoes each for the summer and “not summer” seasons.  I also shared my reasons for making these Rule of Ten selections and speculated on the types of footwear I might be interested in purchasing in the future.

As I mentioned in my last essay, I don’t want to make new shoe purchases while so much of my existing footwear (14 pairs!) is still “on the bubble.” I’d like to make concrete decisions about each of my “maybe” shoes so that I can do one of three things:

  • Start wearing them regularly
  • List them for sale online
  • Pass them on via donation

Today’s post kicks off that decision process. I look at the six pairs of shoes that didn’t make the cut for my “not summer” Rule of Ten collection. I explore my feelings regarding these cool weather shoes and highlight why I didn’t feel right including them among my favorites. I then let you know what I plan to do in order to make up my mind about each pair of shoes in the near future.

deciding on shoes to keep or purge

Sometimes it’s difficult to know which shoes to keep – and which to purge. 

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In May of last year, I published a two-part series (starting with this post) that I called “the state of the wardrobe.” I covered a number of topics in those essays, one of which was a new concept I termed “The Rule of Ten.” I created this rule to help me reduce my “out-and-about wardrobe” to a more manageable size – and keep it there.

The basic tenet of the Rule of Ten is that I should limit the size of each wardrobe category to ten or fewer items. At the time when I created this rule, I divided my closet into three distinct sections: at-home clothing, out-and-about clothing, and “crossover” pieces (which could be worn either at home or when I’m out).  Since out-and-about items have long been my “problem area,” in that I have too many of them for my lifestyle needs, I opted to apply the Rule of Ten only to that section of my closet.

the rule of ten

Revisiting the Rule of Ten

I didn’t do much with the Rule of Ten after its introduction, as I got swept up in the chaos going on in the world and forgot about many of my wardrobe management efforts. I’d like to revisit it now in a series of posts that I’ll publish throughout the coming months. Each post will cover one distinct area of my wardrobe, beginning today with my shoes.

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