Full Life Reflections

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

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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Last month, I wrote about applying the “Goldilocks Principle” to your life and I introduced three exercises you can use to help you determine which areas are either over-represented or under-represented in terms of your time and attention. I shared my personal lists of things I’d like to either increase (sleep, reading books, eating vegetables, etc.) or decrease (staying up late, screen time, self-criticism, etc.). My subsequent post was on the topic of wardrobe size and “closet churn” , where I asserted that addressing the amount that comes into our closets may actually be more important than working on paring things down. Today I’d like to basically “marry” these two topics and consider how the “Goldilocks Principle” of just right can be applied to our wardrobes.

Too Much Focus on Numbers

I have mentioned this many times in previous posts, but it bears repeating. There is no absolute right number of items a person should have in his or her closet. There are many variables that are included in such a determination and I won’t repeat them all here, as I have covered them in depth in posts such as this one.  Today’s essay isn’t about the numbers, but rather more about how we feel about our wardrobes. For years, I was very big into tracking and statistics, but that is less of a focus for me these days. While I still track how often I wear the items I own, my attention now centers more on determining the types of clothing pieces that will best serve me rather than on achieving an optimal cost-per-wear number or having zero wardrobe “benchwarmers.” Yes, I still care about both of those things, but my main emphasis now is on having a wardrobe that works for the body and Iife I have today.

just right wardrobe

I actually think that focusing too much on numbers can get us into trouble. While I believe that wardrobe challenges like Project 333 and the “30 for 30 Remix” can be beneficial, there is a danger in getting too wrapped up in having a “perfect” number of items or the perfect items for a given season or purpose. Those challenges were not intended to have such an outcome, but shopaholics can easily bend such experiments to our will and use them as an excuse to shop rather than on better learning how to wear and use what we already have.

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A key reason why I stopped writing my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic, was that I had gotten burned out on continuously exploring the topics of wardrobe management, shopping, and personal style. I was also tired of being a sort of “poster child” for compulsive shopping. I needed a break from the spotlight on me and my shopping behavior, plus I wanted to write about other things. Although I would periodically publish essays on alternate subjects on Recovering Shopaholic, when I decided to return to blogging, I thought a fresh start with a new site would be the best approach.

I like the fact that Full Life Reflections has a much wider scope, but after taking some space from wardrobe-related topics, I have a renewed interest in writing such posts again. I still plan to keep this blog fairly balanced in terms of subject matter, but since the goal is to explore happiness, peace, and fulfillment in today’s chaotic world, writing about managing “closet chaos” fits in quite nicely. After all, if one’s closet is bursting at the seams and they still feel like they have “nothing to wear,” that doesn’t lend itself toward feeling calm and happy, does it?

A Topic Not Often Addressed…

In today’s post, I’m going to look at wardrobe size and closet churn. When I wrote about applying the “Goldilocks Principle” to our lives last week, I mentioned that I would do a follow-on post about how this concept relates to our wardrobes. I still plan to do this and have been giving it a lot of thought, but what kept coming up for me is how one can’t really look at wardrobe size honestly and authentically without considering the degree to which “closet churn” is an issue for them. These topics are closely related, but I think there is often far too much focus on the former and not nearly enough on the latter. I have been guilty of that phenomenon myself, which is why I want to come clean today and commit to doing things differently.

closet churn

Have you pared down your closet only to have the size creep up once again? 

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