New Year’s Resolution? Not Exactly

A planned day of spending time with a grown up daughter turned into a bonding experience organizaing a messy closest. (Chris Erskine/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

New Year’s resolutions don’t work for me. Come the third week in January they’re ancient history. This is because they usually involve developing new habits to replace well-ingrained bad ones I’ve curried for years—eating less, starting a new exercise program, meditating upon waking. These and the likes take more dedication than I can muster. I miss the well intended new yoga class for the second time, and the mat goes in the garage sale.

Instead of making resolutions that are nearly sure to fall by the wayside before Groundhog Day, this month I’m taking small steps to help create the best 2016 possible. Unlike resolutions, the steps will allow me to go at my own pace. If I fall off schedule I can get back on with no guilt. In addition, taking steps instead of sticking to a resolution doesn’t rely on making quotas such as cutting calories or upping the number of daily scrunches. Finally, the steps cover a wide range of possible behaviors rather than targeting specific ones. This allows me to concentrate on various areas of my life that need a good overhaul.

There’s nothing on the list that’s new, but a new year provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate my life and shift toward life-enhancing habits.

closet-purge-1Goal 1: Clean, Sort, Purge and Use

A new year provides the perfect time to get a handle on what I’ve got in my closet and start using it better. As Jen Hatmaker points out in her book, “7,” most of us have more excess stuff in our closets and drawers than we can or will ever use. What a waste! If we’re not using something or have specific plans for it, we need to

  1. give it away if it’s usable
  2. pitch it if it’s no longer serviceable
  3. use it

In regard to the first two, getting rid of surplus helps in more ways than freeing up space. While it sounds illogical, we’re apt to use more items more fully if we have fewer from which to choose. Above a certain amount, having more increases our tendency to limit our choices to only a few. Although I have no idea how many pairs of shoes I have (therein a problem that deserves my attention), I tend to wear the same four or five pairs over and again.

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As to why some items sit in my closet unworn season after season, I have this weird habit of saving back expansive “nice” things that I buy. No doubt this is a holdover from my growing up years with Depression-era parents. We wore our “Sunday best” only for special occasions. So, I now let the best sit in the closet waiting for . . . what? I don’t know. So, by golly, this year I’m going to wear it or give it away.

Young woman holding shopping bags and boxes, mid section Original Filename: 200282976-001.jpg Gettyimages

My first assault on too much stuff: get a grip on reality. I’m constantly on line and in the shops because that’s what I do. I’m a blogger. I’m also tempted every day by what I find. And I buy. However, there’s no rule for fashion bloggers demanding that we personally keep the fashion industry afloat.

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This reality check leads to my second assault: keep my credit cards to myself. I’ve not won the battle, but I’ve managed to limit my apparel purchases to one since the middle of December. Definitely a record. Not only have I bought only one item, I patiently waited for Nordstrom’s half-yearly sale before I hit “Checkout.”  The real test of my resolve to shop prudently, however, will come when the spring fashions hit the market.

wardrobe_2723225bMy third assault: in addition to making prudent choices at the time I buy something, make a second, hard assessment of the likelihood of wearing a purchase once I get it home. Evidently, I’m not the only one who’s been guilty of shopping and shelving. WHOWHATWEAR recently passed on the 3-7-17 shopping rule about buying things you either end up not liking or probably won’t wear from costume designer Jenn Rogien (of Girls and Orange Is the New Black fame) http://www.whowhatwear.com/shopping-tip-3-7-14-rule/slide17.

  1. If you buy something and you haven’t worn it in 3 days, you’re unlikely to wear it.
  2. If you haven’t worn it in 7 days, you’ll definitely not wear it.
  3. Get it out of your life within 14 days or you’ll never return it.

Good advice.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress toward shopping sanity as I get into the year. Chances are, I’ll slip up. But the good news is that in making public my project of mindful shopping, I’m a whole lot more likely to climb back on the wagon.

Next week I’ll tell you about the second item on the list of improvements for 2016.

Happy New Year!

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