Getting Dressed More Efficiently

Note: The following post relates to the project requirements for my Foundations in Creativity class.
Originally posted to the creativity blog on October 27, 2015.

Nothing created today so I thought I would share one of my favorite old ideas, considering that creativity is not just about artistic media but also about solving problems. Sometimes these are big problems, like those you confront at work. Others are more intimate.

Disorganization and decision paralysis are issues ADHD people have to deal with every day. When faced with too many choices we just can’t stop exploring all the options. In some ways, that is the problem I’ve had with this project. Too many options.

It’s especially hard when none of the options are really want you want to do. Take the typical work-appropriate wardrobe, for example. For someone who isn’t exactly normal, having to adopt a normal appearance is almost painful. The easiest solution would be to wear a uniform and this is an approach that many creative people take, e.g. Ralph Lauren, who wears the same basic look every day (see fashionista.com/2011/09/designer-uniforms-here-are-10-designers-who-always-wear-the-same-thing). I did actually explore this option during my pregnancy when economy forced me to limit the new clothing I could purchase to accommodate my ever-changing physique. My wardrobe was very efficient but I wasn’t happy. I need more options, which is ironically the source of stress.

Why don’t I pick my outfit out the night before, you ask? Because, without fail, I’d wake up and rebel against whatever it was that I picked out and end up changing the outfit anyway. I then created a super spreadsheet that mapped out every outfit for six months based on previous recorded outfits. This did not work either.

My compromise is this, I wrote every article of clothing down on an index card and organized by type, e.g. shirt, skirt, pants, etc. I reduced options by keeping skirts, pants, and dresses in sequential order so that no decision making is required about those. Things that go with the aforementioned items, like shirts, are flexible. Worn items go to the back of the pile. So it’s controlled options where I feel like I’m being spontaneous but don’t get overwhelmed.

This seems like nonsense but ensuring my clothing is rotated means that items wear evenly and last longer, an important requirements when you’re on a budget. This technique has also shorted the time I need to get dressed in the morning to about 10 minutes instead of 30 or more, which is a big difference. Because this isn’t overly structured I’ve been able to keep this method going for about two years now.

I have never heard of anyone else doing this, although I’ve written about it in my personal blog which is publicly available. Perhaps if I had called it, the life changing magic of index cards, it might have caught on? It certainly worked for “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (http://www.amazon.com/The-Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering/dp/1607747308).

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