Symptoms of Artifical Happiness


“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his/her happiness on major events like a great job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person is going to be unhappy much of the time. 

If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.”Andy Rooney

If you think about it, did people spend your childhood telling you how to be happy? Did those messages become even louder as you became a teenager and then entered adulthood?

It’s amazing that we’ve spent our entire lives chasing happiness, with the very real possibility that we are pursuing someone else’s happiness. Some people told me my job would bring joy. Others said that money would do it. Some said I needed to have a family to be happy. Others were convinced that a good night sleep was all it would take.

I am going to stop chasing happiness. Instead, I have decided to choose happiness. Sure, being in debt sucks and comes with a lot of risks. I will work to change that aspect of my life, but I won’t reserve happiness for the moment I have achieved that goal. Instead, I choose to be happy while making a concerted effort to change my circumstances.

Spending Fast Wins – Week 8

  • After 6 months of heroic battle with Verizon customer service, we finally received the $647 reimbursement that they owed us from a buy one get one free promotion.
  • Also reduced our Verizon bill by around $40 per month by paying off one of our devices and switching to a plan with less data. Uninstalled almost all apps on my phone that use a ton of data to ensure we don’t go over.
  • Saved at least $60 by dying and highlighting my hair myself.

Spending Fast Losses – Week 8

  • I did not have a perfect record of bringing my food to work and ended up purchasing a couple of breakfast items from the vending machine.
  • You may remember that last week my husband’s car repairs cost $1,200. This week, my car was in the shop, and the bill came to $2,300. I had a moment of irrational thought. That little voice in the back of my head that has been quiet for a while now. Well, if we’ve already spent $3,500 in 2 weeks, what’s another $70? And before I could stop myself, I had purchased a piece of art for my son’s  room off of Wayfair.

This post was inspired by today’s daily prompt: Artificial

headshotRobin Brodrick is a résumé writer, aspiring minimalist, Douglas Adams fan, and corporate recruiter in the cutthroat biotech and pharma industries. If you’re looking for a new job, or know somebody who is, Robin can help you with that, too. Visit to learn more. You can also follow Robin on Twitter or LinkedIn

Subdued, or just hungry?


It’s a little unexpected that not spending any money on unnecessary things can change the way your attitude is perceived.

Lately, people keep asking me if I’m okay. I don’t feel any different. And I don’t notice that I’m acting any different. But I must be if people keep asking me this question over and over. And maybe they’re asking it because they are perceiving positive changes.

Historically, I’ve been a little high strung. I felt like I had this constant internal battle going on and I couldn’t figure out why. I was also outspoken and loud. Very loud. I’m not a person who yells, but my voice just carries – all the way through the other end of my office building.

The last week or two people keep telling me that I seem subdued. I don’t think they mean depressed, I think they just mean that I’m more quiet than usual. That I’m choosing my words more carefully than I have in the past. Perhaps it’s just because I’m really freaking hungry. A spending fast is the best diet ever. Forgot to grab breakfast on your way out the door? Too bad. You’ll just have to wait to eat until 10:00 when you normally have your first snack. Forgot to bring the lunch you so carefully made the night before? Tough. You’ll have to settle for that can of chicken soup that’s been in your desk drawer for over  a year.

I don’t know about you, but I can be a bitch when I’m hungry so lately I’ve opted for saying nothing rather than opening my mouth and risking what could happen if I speak when I’m hangry.

Spending Fast Wins – Week 7

  • Don’t laugh. I’m 32 years old and just learned how to hard boil eggs (click here for a great video on how to make them perfectly). They are great to have on hand so that if I’m running late, I can just grab a couple and them for breakfast when I get to work.
  • Instead of going out with friends like we used to, I invited them over for tacos. They brought the wine.
  • Accidentally dyed my favorite (and only) white blouse a horrid pinkish-red in the wash and decided not to replace it. After all, I have other blouses. They’re not white, but they’re still work-appropriate.
  • Had someone repair some clothing items instead of purchasing new clothes after a few of mine got damaged while traveling last week.
  • Found an awesome free app called Grammarly that is so much better than spell check.

Spending Fast Losses – Week 7

  • We got his with a $1,200 car repair and a $1,400 dentist bill this week. Sure, both of those things are technically on the “needs” list, but it still feels like a loss when that money could be going towards a credit card. At least we didn’t have to use the credit card or dip into savings to pay for the car! I haven’t yet figured out how we’re going to pay for the dentist.
  • I did forget my lunch once this week and was so hungry I couldn’t concentrate. Instead of going to the sandwich place down the road and spending at least $12, I opted for the $4.95 chicken tikka masala out of the LeanBox in our company kitchen. It’s better than spending $12, but not as good as remembering my lunch.


This post was inspired by today’s daily prompt: Subdued

aboutRobin Brodrick is a résumé writer, aspiring minimalist, Douglas Adams fan, and corporate recruiter in the cutthroat biotech and pharma industries. If you’re looking for a new job, or know somebody who is, Robin can help you with that, too. Visit to learn more. You can also follow Robin on Twitter or LinkedIn

The First Big Misstep – Spending Fast Week 6


“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” -Frederick Keonig

This week was an epic failure in regard to the pending fast.

After getting 3 hours of sleep on Tuesday night, I left for a business trip on Wednesday morning. When I’m drunk I make poor decisions. When I’m tired I make even worse decisions. On the way from security to my gate I passed a watch that I loved and have been eyeing online for months and purchased it. I had brought one pair of shoes to wear on both days of the conference, but my feet were killing me on the second day, so I purchased a different pair of shoes for the second day, plus a different pair for the airplane because the flats I had worn on the way there haven’t been comfortable in a long time. I also spent over $100 going to bars and other “fun” things with my colleagues.

A month and a half into my spending fast, I have learned that I have to be very careful, as it is incredibly easy to fall back into my old mindset about money: I deserve to get what I want. What a horrible mindset. I will work hard to get out of debt and then I will work hard to earn money for the things I need, and I’ll make sure to have that money before I purchase the item or experience.

In the future, I will try harder to appreciate what I already have. Perhaps then I will not succumb to temptation.

Spending Fast Wins

  • Took my toddler to a birthday party. We decided not to purchase a gift and were just going to make a card. Instead, my son asked if he could give his friend one of his toys for a gift. How nice!
  • Caught myself mid-purchase on several things during the business trip, including a leather bound notebook and a cowboy hat.
  • Slashed out grocery bill by making a few small changes: Body wash is $7.99 but 3 bars of soap was on sale for $0.99. White eggs are about $1.00 less than brown eggs. Listerine is $4.99, store brand mouthwash is $1.99. And, since it’s fall and ragweed season is over, I can stop taking my allergy medicine, which costs about $15.00 every other week.

Spending Fast Losses

  • Purchased things that weren’t on my “needs” list, such as a watch, shoes, and a new computer. That’s close to $700 in purchases in less than a week.
  • Accidentally paid my credit card bill from the wrong checking account and incurred 3 overdraft fees and a returned check fee. Happily, I was able to call and get all of the fees reversed.


This post was inspired by today’s daily prompt: Careful

aboutRobin Brodrick is a résumé writer, aspiring minimalist, Douglas Adams fan, and corporate recruiter in the cutthroat biotech and pharma industries. If you’re looking for a new job, or know somebody who is, Robin can help you with that, too. Visit to learn more. You can also follow Robin on Twitter or LinkedIn

The Value of 168 Hours – Spending Fast Week 5


“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” -Winnie the Pooh

Last month my husband and I worked our butts off and put $4943.47 of saved money towards our consumer debt. It felt amazing.

Then we went on vacation.

It was a week-long vacation that we had planned months before our spending fast started and the tickets were no longer refundable, so it did not make sense to cancel it. I set what I considered to be a modest vacation budget of $500. In the end, it was little too conservative and we ended up going over budget because I forgot about the $125 in baggage fees we would need to pay and because I purchased 1 item that wasn’t on my “needs” list.

Some pretty great things happened on this vacation, though.

Spending Fast Wins

  • I learned that one of my spending triggers is emotional stress.
  • I also realized that I have become excellent at calculating opportunity cost in regards to purchases, but that I am terrible at doing it when it comes to lifestyle. Perhaps I should focus a little less on earning extra money to pay off debt and a little more on enjoying life and spending time with my family. I emphasize “a little” because eliminating debt still needs to be a priority, it just doesn’t need to be the only priority. I need to remember that each moment in life has value, and that thinking about the opportunity cost of the choices I make can help me determine the intrinsic value of an opportunity. There are only 168 hours in a week, and after all of my daily activities I’ve used 154.5 of those hours. I should choose how I spend those extra 13.5 hours very carefully!

Where Does All the Time Go?

Activity Hours Per Week Spent on Activity
Day job 40
Exercise 7
Cooking 10.5
Eating 10.5
Sleeping 56
Appearance/Hygeine 7
Finances/Bills 3.5
Commute 10
Cleaning 5
Laundry 3
Errands 2
Total hours 154.5

Spending Fast Losses

  • I purchased a winter jacket while I was on vacation, which was not on my needs list. I justified it by telling myself that I had to get rid of all my jackets 2 years ago when I found out I am allergic to down. I bought 1 down-alternative ski jacket and 1 quilted winter jacket last year, but I just wasn’t warm enough. The jacket I purchased should keep me warm and toasty all winter long, without any allergies! Easy to justify, but still not something that was on my needs list.


This post was inspired by today’s daily prompt: Value

aboutRobin Brodrick is a résumé writer, aspiring minimalist, Douglas Adams fan, and corporate recruiter in the cutthroat biotech and pharma industries. If you’re looking for a new job, or know somebody who is, Robin can help you with that, too. Visit to learn more. You can also follow Robin on Twitter or LinkedIn

Don’t Panic! -Spending Fast Week 4


It’s hard to believe this is the 4th week of the spending fast. A whole month of spending money on needs only. I am utterly taken aback at how much saved money I have been able to put towards our debt: $4,943.47!

This month was absolutely amazing in that my husband worked a ton of overtime and my résumé writing business has had its best month ever.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • $537.12 – saved money from from our regular income
  • $735.64 – my husband picking up extra shifts at work
  • $982.09 – saved money from my résumé writing business
  • $14.90 – Discover contributing 5% of my minimum payment towards my debt as part of their Paydown Credit Program
  • $2,673.72 – one-off situations that will never happen again, such as my husband closing out his “secret” bank account and putting the money towards our debt

The best lesson I learned from the first month of the spending fast? Don’t panic! This is going to require some dramatic lifestyle changes, but it is doable. Even more important is that my family and I can still be happy while we do it!

The second most important thing I learned is that we will definitely need to continue to earn as much extra money as possible in order to pay off this debt in a reasonable period of time.

Spending Fast Wins

  • Packed up and sent out my thredUp Clean Out Kit, which contained an estimated $81 worth of clothing to consign.
  • Decided that I was losing more money in interest than I was gaining by having some of my money in savings. Took $1,766.48 out of savings and put it towards the credit card with the highest interest rate. (An important note here is that I did not touch my emergency fund! I still have 3 months of mortgage payments in savings).
  • Didn’t panic when my husband asked me to add his student loans to my plan to pay off our debt, in addition to the credit card that he asked me to add to the plan last week!
  • Took the advice of a member of the Spending Fasters Facebook group and used to calculate how long it will take to pay off our debt. Panicked a little when I saw that if I put $1,500 a month towards the debt it would be paid off in 2036. Felt a little better when I saw that it if I just focus on our consumer debt, it will be paid off by 2019. Felt even better knowing that if I can come up with $2,000 a month to put towards our consumer debt, it will be paid off by 2018! Devised new plan to focus on consumer debt first, and then tackle student loans and the mortgage.

Spending Fast Losses

  • We’re going on vacation tomorrow. This trip was planned months before I began the spending fast and the tickets are non-refundable, so it doesn’t make sense not to go. We have a rafting trip scheduled, but it’s supposed to be 50° that day, so I needed to order wet suits for my husband and I. There’s a small chance that the river will be too low and the trip will be cancelled, so we’re leaving the tags on and returning them if we don’t use them.


This post was inspired by today’s daily prompt: Panic

aboutRobin Brodrick is a résumé writer, aspiring minimalist, Douglas Adams fan, and corporate recruiter in the cutthroat biotech and pharma industries. If you’re looking for a new job, or know somebody who is, Robin can help you with that, too. Visit to learn more. You can also follow Robin on Twitter or LinkedIn


Together we have $50,000 of Consumer Debt – Spending Fast Week 3


Something completely unexpected happened yesterday. My husband called his credit card company and discovered he has an interest rate of 16.24%. Then he asked me if I could add his debt to my spending fast plan and take control of our finances.

No pressure, right?

Little did I know the balance on his card is $8,066.33. That brings our joint total consumer debt to $49,164.36 and our total debt to $216,587.71.

Sh*t just got real.

Spending Fast Wins:

  • Returned another $285.00 of clothes that still had the tags on them.
  • Received my free thredUp Clean Out Kit and packed it up with clothes I don’t need. Will put the payout towards the credit card with the highest APR.
  • Extra income: My résumé writing business is having its best month ever and my husband has been picking up extra shifts at work. He also closed his secret bank account and handed over the funds to put towards our debt. Discover also lived up to their word and contributed 5% more than my minimum payment because I paid more than the minimum due. These 4 things combined are allowing us to pay another $2,854.54 to the credit card with the highest APR. That’s a total of $3,176.99 over the minimum payment this month!

Spending Fast Fails:

  • Didn’t stand up for myself when the only gluten free food vendor at Fenway Park said he wouldn’t accept my voucher, even though it clearly said it was good for any food or beverage at the park. I had $15 in vouchers and ended up paying $7.25 in cash for my gluten free hot dog.
  • Underestimated how hungry I get during the day and didn’t have enough food on Friday. Almost had to purchase a snack, but a colleague saved me with a banana at the last second.


This post was inspired by today’s daily prompt: Together

aboutRobin Brodrick is a résumé writer, aspiring minimalist, Douglas Adams fan, and corporate recruiter in the cutthroat biotech and pharma industries. If you’re looking for a new job, or know somebody who is, Robin can help you with that, too. Visit to learn more. You can also follow Robin on Twitter or LinkedIn

Recharging – Spending Fast Week 2


A strange thing happened this week: A little bit of extra time existed even though it was a crazy busy work week trying to fit 5 days worth of work into 4 days. Today my body feels well rested and recharged – probably because I wasn’t up late into the night browsing online and trying to figure out what I could justify purchasing.

It’s week 2 of the spending fast, and there is a bit of a learning curve, but it was mostly successful and I am pretty proud of the wins this week!

Spending Fast Wins:

  • Paid $307.55 more than the minimum to the credit card that has the highest APR. Also called this card to request a lower interest rate. They said no, but they will contribute an extra 5% to paying down my balance each month that I pay more than the minimum amount due
  • Returned $235.99 of clothes that still had the tags on them (thank goodness clothes from Athleta can be returned anytime, even if it has been months)
  • Brought dinner leftovers to work every day for lunch
  • Started unplugging things that are not in use (bye-bye vampire power!)
  • Created business cards for my résumé writing business on Vistaprint for a fraction of the price I paid when I was using Staples for them. Also downloaded the Chrome extension Honey, which found and applied a Vistaprint coupon code that saved me 50% on my order
  • Bartered my résumé writing and value branding services for the new headshot at the bottom of this post. Thanks AR Images!

Spending Fast Losses:

  • Realized I omitted a $4,000 personal loan when I calculated my debt (the original post has been updated to accurately reflect my debt)
  • Spent more than anticipated on groceries

Next week will pose some unique challenges, like a networking event at a Red Sox game, where we all meet at a bar before we go. It would be awkward to be the only person who doesn’t order anything at the bar. My company doesn’t normally reimburse for alcohol purchases, but perhaps I will see if they can make an exception in this situation. I also plan on trying to sell some items I’ve cleaned out of the attic and my closet and on having time to finish reading The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living.

This post was inspired by today’s daily prompt: Recharge 


aboutRobin Brodrick is a résumé writer, aspiring minimalist, Douglas Adams fan, and corporate recruiter in the cutthroat biotech and pharma industries. If you’re looking for a new job, or know somebody who is, Robin can help you with that, too. Visit to learn more. You can also follow Robin on Twitter or LinkedIn

Trimming the Fat – Spending Fast Week 1


It’s hard to stop spending on non-essentials if you don’t know what your problem areas are.

Following the suggestions in The Spender’s Guide to Debt Free Living, I sat down this week and analyzed my family’s last 6 months of spending. I was surprised to find that clothing, which – prior to my newfound fondness for minimalism – used to be my biggest problem area, now paled in comparison to some other categories. Here are some of the worst offenders:

  • Hardware stores + Ikea + Chilewich + Wayfair – $12,148 (not entirely unexpected since we just renovated an entire house, but renovations ended last month and we still spent $605 at hardware stores this month)
  • Amazon – $1,844 (yes, Amazon Prime day occurred within the last 3 months. The rest is probably because it is just so darn easy with Amazon Prime One Click – which I have just uninstalled, along with removing my saved credit card number)
  • Restaurants and LeanBox – $709 (***nom nom nom***)
  • Makeup – $188 (there is absolutely no excuse for that)
  • Blog post images – $20 (I use Canva because it’s  user-friendly for non-designers. Canva can be used for free, but I got sucked into their fancy $1 images)

In order to make life easier in the future, I’ve made a list of needs and wants to serve as a guide during those times when it is hard to remember that a true “need” can be hard to recognize. Sure, there will come a time when I make the mistake of being hungry while grocery shopping, but the hope is that this list will remind me that I don’t need cake, I just want it. And if I want a sweet, chocolatey baked good that badly, I can just make brownies when I get home, because we already own a plethora of brownie mix from that time it was on sale last year.

Needs Wants
Mortgage & condo fees Alcohol
Daycare Books
Gas Office supplies
Food Adult clothes
Water Professional haircuts
Milk Manicures, pedicures
Juice Junk food
Diapers Eyeliner, eye shadow, blush
Hair dye (boxed) Andalou Naturals Face Serum
Allergy medicine Paid blog post images
Mirabella foundation, mascara, lipstick Paid social media campaigns
Car washes & routine maintenance
Toddler clothes & shoes
House keeper domain & associated business expenses

Here’s to having an even more successful week 2!If you’re wondering how the first week of my spending fast went, the answer is: Pretty well! By eating a lot of the food that has been sitting around in the pantry, I successfully made it through a full work week without spending a dime (thanks to a great co-worker who happened to have some extra hard-boiled eggs in the office on a day that I forgot my breakfast!). The Labor Day weekend has been more challenging, as I am spending the holiday weekend with my in-laws. Luckily, they know about my spending fast and have been very supportive. Months ago my in-laws invited us to see the New York Air Show, which was already paid for, so there was no point in cancelling the trip! The day was really for my son, who loves airplanes right now. I only spent $20 this weekend, and it was on sunglasses for him. The logic was flawless. The day was for my son to watch the airplanes, and he couldn’t see the planes because of the sun. The sunglasses were $10 each, or 2 for $15. I admit to getting sucked into the 2 for $15 “deal” when I could have sufficed with 1 pair. I donated the $5 in change to a veteran’s group that is focused on teaching today’s youth about anti-bullying and about the history of the military. I have no qualms about this donation. While my “getting out of debt” cause is super important, there are more important things than that, and this was one of them.

P.S. I even used a free image for this blog post (thank you Gratisography)! What do you think of it?

This post was inspired by today’s daily prompt: Cake


Robin_BrodrickRobin Brodrick is a résumé writer, an aspiring minimalist, a Douglas Adams fan, and a corporate recruiter in the cutthroat biotech and pharma industries. Follow Robin on Twitter or LinkedIn for unique advice that will revitalize your job search. If you need to update your résumé, Robin has a few services and products that you will find helpful here.

Okay, Let’s Try This “Spending Fast” Thing

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Hi there! It’s great to see you again. Did you get a haircut? It looks fantastic.

It’s been several months since I’ve published a blog post, and in that time off I’ve been cheating on minimalism by spending, spending, and spending some more.

Due to circumstances beyond our control (lead poisoning), my family of 3 had to move out of our apartment, which had great rent. We were shocked when we found out the going rate for similar apartments, most of which were 2-3 times what we had been paying. So instead of moving into a new apartment, we purchased a home for only $46 a month more than we had been paying in rent. Of course, this also meant that it was a fixer-upper.

We knew that just fixing the necessities would still be expensive, because the necessities were appliances (the house didn’t come with any), new floors, and paint. I know paint isn’t normally a necessity, but it was in this house – trust me. Oh, and we also needed to purchase all new furniture, because it turns out that it is impossible to get lead dust out of upholstered furniture and throw rugs.

Fast Forward 3 months and we have spent a lot of money. We purchased all of the necessities, plus some non-necessities, because spending begets spending. Oh, and my car broke down and needed $1,200 in repairs.

The good news is that I absolutely love our house now. The bad news is that we are in a lot of debt because most of our purchases were made on credit cards. Since we hadn’t anticipated being in the housing market, we only had enough in savings for the downpayment, and not much else.

And so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to stop cheating on minimalism, reduce our spending, and dig us out of this debt. Now, I’ve dug out of $16,000 of debt before and out of $28,000 of debt before. But the debt we’re facing now is astronomical and I feel overwhelmed by the prospect of paying it off. And then I stumbled across The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get from Broke to Badass in Record Time. It’s written by Anna Newell Jones, who paid off over $18,000 of debt on her $33,000 a year salary, in just a little over 1 year by going on a “spending fast” and only spending money on the necessities. I have been inspired. While we certainly can’t pay off our debt in one year, we can take a good chunk out of it. I estimate we will need to do a spending fast for at least 5 years to pay off our debt. I’m going to start with a year-long spending fast and re-evaluate at the end of the year to see if continuing it is right for us.

According to Jones, being held publicly accountable will help, so I will be blogging monthly (maybe more!) about my spending fast successes and failures. In an effort to be fully transparent for anyone else out there who might be inspired by this, and as a record of my starting point, here are my current debts:

Name of Debt  Total Amount of Debt APR  Monthly minimum payment  Date
Credit Card #1  $16,365.73 19.24%  $   298.00 8/28/2016
Personal Loan #1  $5,233.12 12.82%  $   275.04 8/28/2016
Student Loans  $62,996.44 6.80%  $          – 8/28/2016
Mortgage  $104,603.12 3.50%  $   646.00 8/28/2016
Credit Card #2  $8,945.62 2.99%  $     42.00 8/28/2016
Life Insurance Loan  $ 1,302.20 Unknown  $       6.00 8/28/2016
Personal Loan #2  $4,000.00 0.00%  $          – 8/28/2016
Credit Card #3  $6,460.94 0.00%  $     66.00 8/28/2016
Total Consumer Debt  $38,307.61     8/28/2016
Total Debt  $209,907.17     8/28/2016

And there you have it. I’ve laid it out for the word to see, and I’m not ashamed of it because I’m doing something to fix it. I plan on paying down the highest APRs first and working my way down the list. Some of the APRs will change in the future because they are promotional APRs.

I’m a little nervous, but I’m also super excited about stripping my life down to the bare essentials, even though I suspect some of my friends and family might be a bit perturbed that I will be declining their invitations more frequently now.

I hope you will join me on this journey, be it by reading my blog posts or by going on a spending fast yourself!

This post was inspired by today’s daily prompt: Cheat

Robin_BrodrickRobin Brodrick is a résumé writer, an aspiring minimalist, a Douglas Adams fan, and a corporate recruiter in the cutthroat biotech and pharma industries. Follow Robin on Twitter or LinkedIn for unique advice that will revitalize your job search. If you need to update your résumé, Robin has a few services and products that you will find helpful here.

Simplify Your Closet, Simplify Your Life

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“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” -Tony Robbins

365 days. 52 weeks. 4 seasons. 26 items of clothing.

Really. I’m not kidding. 26 items of clothings gets me through the entire year.

The Why

This capsule wardrobe was created out of sheer frustration and exhaustion. My entire life had been spent trying to stuff clothes into drawers, shove them into vacuum seal bags, and cram them into storage bins. Even when I didn’t have a place to live, I still had two giant suitcases full of clothing.

A decade later, I had an apartment, a spouse, a child, and even more clothing. Weeknights and many weekends seemed to barely contain enough hours to keep up with laundry, much less have any fun.

The How

One day I had finally had enough. Out went all the clothes that I was holding on to in case I gained weight again. And out went all the clothes that I was holding on to in case I lost weight again. I was trying to save money, not spend it, so anything labeled ‘dry clean only’ also found its way into the donation bag. Next, I bagged up anything that was worn out, made me feel frumpy, or was clearly no longer age appropriate. The last thing to make its way into the donation pile was my wedding dress.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I still had a lot of clothes left, even after getting rid of what ended up to be a full car load full of clothing. There was still more work to do. The last step was to get rid of any unflattering colors. I have an incredibly pasty skin tone, so anything black, red, orange, or yellow makes me look completely washed out. Bam! Into the donation bag.

I now have 5 colors in my wardrobe: cream, gray, green, blue, and purple. With only 5 colors to mix and match, deciding what to wear in the morning is easy! And since I got rid of all the clothes that were too big or too small, everything fits comfortably. Every item can go in the wash, and most of them can go in the dryer, so laundry day is quick, easy, and usually completed in one load (if you don’t take sheets and towels into consideration).

The Results

I often get asked what is in my capsule wardrobe. Here’s how my 26 items break down:

  • 5 long sleeve blouses
  • 5 tank tops
  • 5 cardigans
  • 2 t-shirts
  • 2 woven blazers
  • 2 dresses
  • 2 skirts
  • 1 pull-over sweater
  • 1 pair of slacks
  • 1 pair of jeans

Sure, I have some outerwear not pictured here. I live in New England, where the weather changes every 5 minutes. Outerwear is a necessity! I have a winter jacket, a ski jacket (and, yes, I do ski), a leather jacket, and a trench coat. I also have a pair of exercise pants, and some socks and undergarments that are not included in this count.


The Simplified Life

It might sound like an exaggeration, but a small wardrobe will create big changes in your life. You will be less likely to suffer from decision fatigue, you will always look put together and have more confidence, and you will suddenly find that you have extra time in your mornings. You can fill this free time by sleeping in, exercising, reading, writing, thinking, or even eating a healthy breakfast instead of grabbing a bagel on your way to work.

I created my capsule wardrobe 7 months ago. Initially, my concern was that people would comment on the fact that I was basically wearing the same thing every week. Instead, I was surprised to receive a lot of compliments about my “new style”. I found this funny, since I had all of these items in my wardrobe already, but had never put them together in this particular way before. Over the last couple of months, my friends and colleagues have mentioned that they see a big difference in the way that I carry myself. I have also received a promotion and my spouse and I argue less frequently. Is this all because of a simplistic wardrobe? Probably not. But if you consider the trickle down effect, then perhaps it is. An increase in my self confidence gave me the courage to ask for the promotion and then meet the goals my boss felt I needed to achieve in order to qualify for it. The extra time I had in the morning gave me time to think, which led me to have a few frank conversations with my significant other, and have resulted in each of us appreciating the other more. While cause and effect cannot be proven, there certainly seems to be a correlation between a simplified wardrobe and a better life!

What could a capsule wardrobe change about your life? Will you be giving it a try?


Robin_BrodrickRobin Brodrick is an aspiring minimalist, Certified Professional Résumé Writer, and a Talent Acquisition Consultant at Veristat. Follow Robin on Twitter or LinkedIn for a unique mix of minimalism, job search, and recruiting advice! (To learn more about Veristat and its open positions, click here).


Daily Prompt: Closet