Full Life Reflections

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

This post has been in the works for a few weeks, but I have set it aside twice because what I was writing wasn’t adequately reflecting what I wanted to express. That’s part of the reason I went so long between debriefing my recent closet KonMari in late October and introducing my fall wardrobe challenge last week. I also haven’t had as much time to dedicate to the blog since I started my educational program in June, but I definitely don’t want to let it lapse as it’s still important to me. I like having an outlet to write about various topics and I enjoy interacting with readers and gaining new insights from what you share with me.

The reason I named this blog Full Life Reflections is because it’s an extension of what I was working towards with Recovering Shopaholic, which was to trade my full closet for a full life. Over the years of writing my previous blog and this one, I’ve learned that paring down a super-sized wardrobe is actually a lot easier than cultivating a full – and fulfilling – life. That’s not to say that the wardrobe part is easy because it’s not. I’m definitely still struggling with that, as my posts over the past few months show. Writing about my wardrobe foibles can be challenging and sometimes emotional as well, but today I want to write about something that’s much more sensitive and raw for me. I hope that what I share will be meaningful to some of you and will perhaps strike a chord in relation to the struggles you’re going through or have endured in the past.

happiness and peace

A big challenge in life is finding our own place of inner calm amidst the noise and chaos.

Clothes and Shopping Aren’t the Real Problem

A lot of my issues with clothes, shopping, and wardrobe management have been distractions from my deeper life challenges. I came to understand this more fully in my third and fourth years of writing Recovering Shopaholic, and I started dipping my toe into the water of other topics at that time. But most of my readers seemed to be more interested in my wardrobe musings, so I mostly stuck to that subject since I didn’t want to disappoint people. As time went on, however, I found that I wasn’t enjoying blogging as much, so I decided to take a break, which ended up lasting almost a full year.

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I hope my American readers enjoyed a happy Thanksgiving Day holiday yesterday. As I write this, it’s Black Friday and instead of battling the crowds in search of “amazing deals,” I’m at home writing a blog post. This is a much better use of my time and energy, especially in light of some of my recent posts about “closet churn,” wardrobe analysis, and clothing pare-downs.

Focusing More on What I Have

If it does not challenge you, it doesn't change you.

I decided that I needed to turn my focus away from what’s “out there” in all of the stores and online and toward what I have in my closet, so I’m doing another wardrobe challenge! If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember that I did an “essential wardrobe” challenge back in April and May of this year.  My fall challenge is very similar to what I did earlier in the year, which is basically a hybrid of Project 333 and the “30 for 30 Remix,” with my own personal twist on things. Here’s a basic overview:

  • I will be dressing with 30-item capsules for both my “out and about” and at-home wardrobes for the months of November and December.
  • Instead of selecting my capsule items at the beginning of the challenge, I’m building them organically as I go, adding new pieces until I reach 30 items in each capsule.
  • Only clothing items are included in my capsules, but I’m also keeping track of my accessory pieces (shoes, jewelry, etc.) and how often I wear them.
  • I’m making a note of how often things are worn as well as keeping an outfit journal for my “out and about” ensembles, rating each outfit and jotting down what did and didn’t work and why.

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Since we’re fast approaching the end of the year, I’m taking a closer look at the additional ways my 2018 theme, “essential,” can impact all of the areas of my life before I select my next focus. Since my wardrobe has long been an area of concern and difficulty (see over four years of posts on Recovering Shopaholic), I’ve recently decided to shine a spotlight there once again. I’ve mused on the topic of “closet churn,” looked at what constitutes a “just right” wardrobe, and did the “plate exercise” to evaluate which pieces I would buy again today.

In the process of this introspection and evaluation, I’ve also “Konmari’ed” my closet twice, once last month and again last week. In today’s post, I’ll share what I let go of and why, as well as what I learned from doing KonMari at this juncture of my wardrobe journey. If you want to read about my previous experiences with doing KonMari in my closet, click here (you can also read about how I applied KonMari to other areas of my life HERE).

closet konmari

It’s helpful to evaluate our wardrobes from time to time and let some things go. 

Closet Creep, 2018 Edition

As this year progressed, I realized that my wardrobe had gradually expanded much like it had before I started my last blog (see my initial closet inventory here – it’s frightening!). While my closet wasn’t burgeoning as much as in early 2013, it was far more jam-packed than I wanted it to be. This became all the more evident when my husband and I moved from our small apartment to our new condo back in mid-June and I had to pack up the entire contents of my closet.

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It’s been almost six months since I last posted about my gray hair transition, but that post remains the most viewed article on this site, and my other gray hair posts are frequently accessed as well. Clearly, a lot of women are interested in this topic, and it seems that “going gray” is becoming more and more popular these days. Many women post about their gray hair transitions on Instagram and YouTube, and there are many groups on Facebook dedicated to supporting women who are going through the process.

Recently, there has been a wave of YouTube videos called “The Gray Hair Tag,” in which women who have either gone gray or are on that journey have answered ten key questions and “tagged” other YouTubers to follow suit. Since I don’t have a YouTube channel (maybe one day…), I was not tagged, but I thought it might be fun to answer the questions in a blog post, so that’s what I’m doing today.

gray hair tag intro

This isn’t me, but I hope to be this happy and peaceful about my gray hair very soon…

How old were you when you started going gray?

I’m not entirely sure when the gray hairs first began to show up, as I started dyeing my hair at a pretty young age for the sake of fun and variety, but I think it was in my early to mid-thirties. Once the gray hairs popped up, they multiplied fairly rapidly and I soon had to graduate from highlights and semi/demi permanent color to the wonderful world (she says sarcastically…) of permanent color. For a number of years, I had my roots touched up every six to eight weeks and didn’t think too much of it. It was only when I had to start doing it more and more often that it became a problem. More on that in the next question…

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In my last post, I wrote about applying the “Goldilocks Principle” to our wardrobes to help us reach the “just right” point in terms of how many clothes we have and how well they suit our lives. I suggested four exercises to facilitate that process, one of which I called the “Plate Exercise.” This exercise entails going through all of the clothes you own and asking yourself whether or not you would each one again today (add them to your “wardrobe plate”).

When I wrote about the Plate Exercise, I had not yet done it because I had just come up with it while writing the post. However, I took some time to do it this past week, so I will share the outcome today, along with my thoughts on what I learned from the process. I will also give you an update on my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (NAS) shopping back in July/August and how I feel about that sale two months later.

By the way, even though I have been writing a lot about wardrobe-related topics lately, this blog has not morphed into a virtual replica of Recovering Shopaholic. I still plan to write about lots of other topics here, as I’ve done previously (see my archives for a list of posts both chronologically and by category). However, as it’s nearing the end of the year and I’ve continued to work on my 2018 theme, essential, I’ve moved my consideration more toward my physical belongings, including my clothing. My last two posts and this one have come about because there’s a strong disconnect between my vision of an essential wardrobe and the contents of my closet. This issue has been top of mind, which is why I have been writing more about it. For those who are more interested in my other topics, I will definitely be getting back to those soon.

Doing the “Plate Exercise”

wardrobe evaluation

Would you buy the items in your wardrobe today if you had that choice? 

Since I had gone through my closet not that long ago (more on that in a future post), I opted to do a “lite version” of the plate exercise. I have photos on my computer of almost all of the clothing, shoes, and accessories I own, so instead of evaluating the physical items, I used the images I have instead. I looked at the image for each item and made a quick determination about whether or not I would purchase it today. I created two folders – one for things I would buy today and the other for pieces I would leave in the store – and copied each image into one of them. I was originally going to just evaluate the garments in my working closet, but I decided to also include what’s in my “holding zone” (the items that either don’t currently fit me or that I’m considering passing on) to help me better identify my current preferences and why certain things aren’t working for me.

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