27 October 2014

On a more positive note

I feel like some of my recent posts have given the impression that I'm a rampant consumer on a non stop shopping binge, with nothing better to think about than the contents of my wardrobe. Thats because I have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on myself and to dwell on all of my perceived failings. Whilst perfectionism can be a positive personality trait, it can also have its downsides and for me that manifests in setting unrealistic goals and then getting annoyed with myself when I fall short. Usually a bit of distance helps me to look at a situation more objectively and in the last week or so I've realised that I need to be a bit kinder to myself and to focus more on what IS going right (rather that what's gone wrong).

So instead of focusing on what mistakes I've made, I thought it would be good to write about what progress I've made this year.

  • So far this year, I've bought 16 items of clothing and 3 pairs of shoes which is less than I've bought in any other year. My goal was to buy no more than 20 items in 2014 so hopefully I will come in fairly close to my goal. 
  • More important than the numbers, is that I'm really enjoying wearing the clothes I have in my wardrobe and I feel like I'm not making as many impulse buys and mistakes as I have previously.
  • I currently own 93 items of clothing/shoes/bags in total which is down from a whopping 250 items around 8 years ago! Its been a very gradual process and there was a time when I couldn't even comprehend getting below 100 items. I try not to get too fixated on the numbers and instead just enjoy wearing what I own, and letting things go when they are past their best,
  • This year I've really enjoyed the process of creating a capsule wardrobe of 30 items for 3 months (in the spirit of Project 333) and will continue this into 2015. I enjoy selecting 30 items and find that after 3 months I look forward to swapping things around and adding some of my sidelined items into my wardrobe. I find this means that I'm less likely to get bored of my clothes and takes away some of the urge to shop.
  • I think I may have finally learned my lesson when it comes to skincare and I've been forced to end my months of experimentation due to a pretty nasty skin reaction (itchy spots & eczema). Strangely it seemed to be the natural skincare that triggered this, not the months of applying acids and chemicals! My current routine is very stripped back while I try and repair some of the damage I've done, and I hope to keep it this way and resist the urge to continually try new things.

So this completes my little round up of victories this year, and I feel better for writing this. I think we're hardwired as humans to focus on the negative but if we seek out the positive and focus on our progress (humbly and without gloating) then it can change our whole mindset, 

I'd love to hear from you so please do share your thoughts on your own small (or big) victories.

V xx

7 October 2014

Feeling like a failure

A long time has passed since my last post, but I’ve been feeling hesitant about writing due to some recent shopping failures. I was hoping that I could use this blog as a tool to keep me accountable but recently I’ve found myself reverting to some bad habits and I've been reluctant to own up here. However, one of my goals for 2014 was to be kinder to myself and not beat myself up for making mistakes so in the spirit of this I’m going to accept, let go and move on! As much as I hoped that writing on this blog would help me to make better choices, I also want it to be somewhere I can write honestly about the challenges I face on a daily basis trying to a conscious consumer. So on that note, I want to write about something which has been troubling me a great deal recently and that is mental clutter.

I’ve mentioned previously that as I make progress towards my goal of shopping more mindfully and creating a minimalist wardrobe, that my obsessive tendencies have resurfaced in other areas. This is something that I've only become aware of quite recently and I'm at a loss as to how to get a handle on it. As I declutter my home and limit the amount of items I buy I realised that I still spend a great deal of time planning purchases, obsessing over the optimal way to store my jewelry/clothes/scarves etc and concocting the ‘perfect’ skincare regime. All this = what I think of as 'mental clutter'.

As my interest in minimalism and simplicity has deepened, I want to shop more consciously but I struggle with the tendency to over analyse and research every purchase. As an example, I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to use more natural skincare. This has led to countless hours researching how to make a toner, and the best oils for my skin type. Part of my has enjoyed this little research project but there is also a part of me that feels overwhelmed by the amount of information and choice out there. I can now see that by being so strict this year with my clothing purchases, I had just transferred my compulsion to shop into other areas. So I've been swapping one bad activity for another, which was never my intention! 

Like everything in life, they key is to try and find balance between shopping mindfully, but not obsessively. To enjoy each purchase rather than constantly dreaming of the next purchase. To balance my enjoyment of dressing well and crafting a minimalist capsule wardrobe with all the other stuff going on in my life. I find it frustrating that I'm still struggling with this after so long but progress is rarely a straightforward linear path and I need to accept that I'll hit stumbling blocks along the way.

V x x