Not so long ago, shopping for clothes meant going downtown or to the mall with any excuse of "needing" some clothing item, or with no excuse at all, and passing all morning or afternoon, going in and out of stores, trying on clothes. We almost always left the stores with several items, even if we had gone there looking for some particular piece.
Those were also the days when our credit cards had room for a few more purchases – not minding the ever-growing balance of debt that was accumulating. Shopping, at least according to the mass media, was supposed to be sheer pleasure. We bought a lot and our closets overflowed.
Today, things have changed for many of us. Shopping for clothes isn’t something that we look forward to. We don’t have extra money for clothes, even the cheap kind, and probably won’t for quite a while. And, now we don’t have several credit cards. We would also feel embarrassed to flaunt our exit from the stores carrying so many bags. We know that we should carry a personal, reusable shopping bag, or at the very least, leave the stores with as few disposable bags as possible.
So, if shopping for new clothes doesn't seem to be such a good idea (for now, at least), what should you be doing about your wardrobe? First, of all, you need to look carefully at what you already have in your closet and your drawers. Likely, as not, your closet is already overflowing with outfits. You might not need any new clothes at all.
If you take out all your clothes and inventory them, you'll see that you have more clothes than you thought. There are probably several changes of clothes that you used to love, but have gotten shoved to the back of the clothes rack (or to the bottom of your drawers). Also, it will be evident that you need to edit our wardrobe -- some clothes no longer fit, others are too worn, and some need zippers or buttons.
To begin your inventory, make five piles of clothes on the bed or floor.
The first pile is for “keepers”, those that fit and that you absolutely love and wear at least once a month.
The second pile is for those things that fit but require dry cleaning or some minor repair. If you plan to keep them, take care of these needs right away.
The third pile is separated out for donation, selling or giving away. It includes clothes that no longer fit, are out-dated, or those you just don’t like anymore.
Pile four is made up of torn or stained clothes that nobody is likely to want. (I never recommend throwing out clothes. You can wear them around the house or to bed, or cut them into rags (for cleaning or craft projects.)
Use pile five for seasonal clothes or exceptionally good special occasion outfits. Store them in a box or clothing bag somewhere else in the house. You’ll get them out when you need them.
Hang the "keeper" clothes back in your closet by groups of items -- such as coats, outer wear, dresses, skirts, blouses, dress pants, exercise wear -- or in some other order that makes sense to you. You may also need to sort through and edit the rest of your clothes - underwear, shoes, and accessories - before returning them to their places. Then, if you think that you still have too many "keeper" clothes, here are some further editing options.
Reduce your wardrobe. You can do this by simplifying your clothing needs, to 6, 8, or 10 well-coordinated outfits. Keep clothes that are simple in design and of the same color scheme, so you can mix and match. Think about comfort. Since you are going to have fewer items, you want to choose totally comfortable items. Get rid of the rest. You won’t have to dig deep in your closet to see if there’s stuff in there that you want to wear.
Here's another option for the bravest of wardrobe editors.
Try wearing a uniform, everyday. It should be one of your choosing that represents your personal style. Eliminate everything else. For example, there are women who always wear a suit to work. They have 4 or 5 suits that are simple in style and neutral in color. The individual pieces of the suits can be mixed and matched to create their entire professional wardrobe. Another sort of uniform, for women who are homemakers or casual-dress workers, would be 3 pairs of khaki pants (or nice jeans)and 5 blouses or shirts in similar style but varying colors. This kind of uniform can be worn year-round.
You won’t need many items at all, if you always wear similar clothing – everything is useable, by definition. You’ll reduce your need for closet space to a minimum and you won’t waste time wondering what to wear.
Regardless of your editing criteria, once you've reduced your wardrobe, don’t allow yourself to accumulate a lot of stuff again. Remember, your best wardrobe is one that is full of clothes that you love and wear often.
When you decide that you really need to shop for clothes, shop wisely. Don't let yourself be led into buying several items, when you only need one. Also, think about alternatives to going downtown or to the mall. You don’t have to buy new clothes. Used clothes can be easily found. Visit yard sales. Go to thrift shops or vintage stores. You’ll probably find something that you like at a great price.
Check your closets and drawers every few weeks to see if they are still in the best possible order. Remember the absolute wardrobe-editing rule: "One thing in, one similar thing out". I can promise you that your edited and organized wardrobe will be a long-term source of personal satisfaction and confidence.
We spend a lot of money at the grocery store and yet, many of the things that we buy are not on anyone’s list of nutritious food. We know we should be eating better quality and less processed food and hopefully saving some money along the way. Here's a challenge for all of us: include on our grocery lists, and purchase, of course, all or almost all the following foods. These foods are wholesome and have been claimed to be “miracle foods”. Let's buy as many of these nutritious foods in our shopping list as we can afford (and, of course, as can be home-cooked and eaten by us and our household members).
These are the foods that nutrition experts tell us that are our best choices, and that if eaten regularly, will help us stay disease free and achieve a correct body weight. Here's a list that I combined and adapted from a number of websites:
Apples contain antioxidants (I include apple cider vinegar in this category). Eating this fruit will help us control blood sugar and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Apples are also rich in fiber which helps lower cholesterol and lowers diabetes risk.
Avocados have antioxidants that are high in good monounsaturated fats. Avocados have a lot of vitamins and when we eat avocados with carbohydrates, can help to slow the release of sugars into the blood stream.
Beans contain fiber and phytoestrogens. They are a good protein-substitute for meat and can help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and reduce cancer risk. Soy beans help stabilize female hormone levels.
Berries, and blueberries in particular, have antioxidants and vitamin C.
These fruits help us fight infection and are considered to prevent cancer.
Broccoli is a great source of chromium, fiber, vitamin C, and calcium.
This green vegetable helps us control blood sugar and reduce diabetes and cancer risks. It also helps stabilize blood pressure.
Carrots contain beta-carotene and other vitamins. This noble root vegetable improves vision and protects against heart disease and cancer.
Coconut oil is a healthy oil with the good kind of saturated fat and lauric acid. It helps us fight infection and is great for the skin, used both as a food and externally as a beauty product. It should be virgin coconut oil for best effect.
Coffee, tea, and cocoa are all contain lots of antioxidants. These beverages appear to protect against liver and colon diseases, as well as Parkinson’s disease. Regular green tea consumption is especially healthy and can help in weight loss and helps calm the nerves. (Just be mindful to drink these beverages with moderation because too much caffeine or sugar will lead to other problems.)
Fish has good omega-3 fatty acids and is a super protein food. These good fats help protect against heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and certain cancers. Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna are particularly good for you.
Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fats, fiber and also compounds that have many of the same healthy properties of nuts and are believed to have excellent cancer preventive properties.
Garlic and onions are wonderful foods, rich in powerful sulphur compounds, chromium, beta-carotene, vitamins B and C, potassium and selenium, helping fight infection, reducing cholesterol levels and cancer risk.
Guava like other citric fruits, contains vitamin C, has high content in fiber and excellent antioxidants. Guava scored only second to blueberries and is great for our immunity and skin. Guava also contains cancer-fighting lycopene.
Kale is super high in antioxidants and has vitamin K. This green leaf is related to cabbage and broccoli. It's rich in potent cancer-fighting substances and with bone-building vitamin K. It’s also a great diet food because it really low in calories.
Nuts are high in “good” fats and vitamin E. All these edible seeds improve heart health, reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease, and cancer. Almonds are a good source of calcium.
Olive oil is high good monosaturated fats and compounds called lignans. This oil needs to be in your diet because it lowers blood sugar and is believed to reduce the risk of cancer.
Oats have a lot of soluble fiber and numerous minerals.
This whole grain helps lower blood sugar levels and may also help boost your ability to fight off infections, and reduce high blood pressure.
Oranges, like other citric fruits, are high in vitamin C.
These fruits aid in healing, boost immunity, and help lower cholesterol.
From time-to-time I write about the power of personal convictions and religious faith, and this is a part of what I consider to be ways for “Sustaining our Spirituality.” This note on remembering the Sabbath highlights one important way that we find spiritual renewal.
For most of us, there is at least one day of the week, be it Saturday or Sunday (or better yet the entire weekend), when we can rest from the usual daily activities and face the world with a different attitude. We look forward to these valuable opportunities at week’s end when we can relax and forget most of our regular responsibilities. This day or two helps us contemplate the world in a different way and rekindle our convictions. It’s those hours of quieter activities that give us the strength to face the many challenges of the following week. Of course, there are many ways to do this. For some of us, reaching out to family and friends, face-to-face or by telephone and Internet, is a good way to feel more positive about our lives. For others, it’s a personal time - taking a nap, reading a book, listening to music or watching a movie. A long walk or a leisurely bubble bath can also be a pleasant rest.
For those of us who follow a particular religious tradition, we also hope to use this day to rekindle our faith and seek a closer relationship with God. For me, there are specific activities that I do to “honor the Sabbath.” These include church in the morning and in the afternoon or evening, I read devotional material or reflect on spiritual matters. I also look forward to sharing many activities with my husband who also values this special day. And, whenever possible, my Sabbath includes reading devotional material and writing in my personal journal.
Whatever your situation, take some time from day-to-day work and other types of responsibilities, to feel rested after your weekend (or Sabbath). Look for an opportunity to lighten your mood and experience delight in your life. If your home-life doesn’t include this time of rest and renewal, discuss the situation with family members. You’ll probably find out that they are also looking for ways to recharge their batteries on the weekend and achieve greater strength for weekday activities. Hopefully, you’ll find some ways to do this together
"FROM-SCRATCH" RECIPE FOR OCTOBER
Veggie omelet supreme
Beat 6 eggs with 1/3 cup of milk and put mixture in a heavy skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil at medium-heat. Throw in 1 cup of torn spinach leaves, 1 cup of diced cooked potatoes, ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons of finely sliced green onions, ¼ cup chopped black olives (optional), along with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Cover and cook omelet mixture about 5 minutes or until spinach wilts and eggs set up and brown lightly.