When Just Getting Ready in the Morning is a Challenge

Less is sometimes better, especially when getting ready in the morning. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulk/3080211705/
Less is sometimes better, especially when getting ready in the morning. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulk/3080211705/

In his book, “The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less,” psychologist Barry Schwartz discusses “the paradox that more choices may lead to a poorer decision or a failure to make a decision at all.” Anyone who has ADHD knows that having a lot of options can be very frustrating. It’s one thing if you have ample time to work out the decision, but when you only have 10 minutes to figure it out, such as when you’re dressing in the morning, too many choices about what to wear either results in bad outfits or perpetually being late.

One option is to adopt a uniform and wear the same thing every day, which doesn’t work for everyone. Another option, is to pick out your outfit the night before. I’ve tried this but always seem to run out of time before I have to sleep. I also seem to have an issue with committing to an outfit ahead of time because I always change my mind in the morning.

What works for me is to leave some element of choice in the process but reduce the options. The system I’ve devised allows for choices but prevents overload. It also prevents me from wearing the same thing twice in one week because I literally can’t remember what I’ve worn on previous days.

Suzanne’s Outfit Planning System

I use a coupon organizer and index cards. I love it because it’s small and can be hidden when guests come over. No sense sharing my insanity, although now everyone will know about it. The things I do for the greater good 😉 … Anyway, it’s also cheap and it’s quick and easy to update when I get new pieces or the season changes.

  1. I gave each piece of work clothing its own card. I didn’t do my weekend clothes because I have more time to get dressed on the weekend and not as many casual items.
  2. I organized the cards into two piles, one for pants, skirts, dresses and suits, and the other for shirts and sweaters.
  3. I put the pants etc. pile into order, mixing up the type so that I’m not wearing skirts four days in a row, followed by pants four days in a row, which would be a bit odd.
  4. I put the pants etc. pile into a section of the coupon organizer labeled “Pants, Skirts, etc.”
  5. I put the shirts etc. pile into another section of the coupon organizer labeled “Shirts and Sweaters.”
  6. Finally, I labeled another section, “Recently Worn.”

Now here’s the magic part. Every morning I see what pants etc. card is waiting for me and that’s the foundation of my outfit. No decisions about that. Then I put the card in the back of the pile so there is no chance of wearing it again for at least two weeks. Then I browse through the shirt etc. cards until I find something I like. Then that card goes into the back of the recently worn section of the organizer. Once I run out of shirt cards, I put the top 10 recently worn cards back into the shirt etc. section and start over. Again, avoiding wearing the same shirt four days in a row.

I get to make just enough decision to feel like I’m being spontaneous without wasting an hour or more picking something out. Curious to see if I’m the only one with this dilemma, I Googled outfit planner and voila! Apparently I am not alone and there are many systems to choose from. Here are a few:

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