Do you ever read those articles about minimalist living? With the pictures of closets with 8 inches of space between each item? And those photos of a renovated-loft-barn with square yards of open space showing off the hard wood floors, with a drink in a mason jar on the raw-beachwood counter? Yeah, me too. It’s amazing that technology these days can access an alternate dimension.
I’ll be moving out of my family home this fall, into a little studio apartment. I don’t own much furniture, but I had an unreasonable love for little nick-nacks as a kid so I need to downsize my possessions by about x10. I don’t want feel like I’m leaving behind too much junk for my parents to deal with. However, first comes Dealing with My Clothes.
My family didn’t have a lot of money while I was growing up. You might think that because of this I wouldn’t own a lot of clothes. However, there you are wrong. I own a lot of clothes. A lot, lot of clothes.
We would get our threads second-hand, usually at bag sales in the local thrift shop: $5 for a paper grocery sack of whatever you want. We also had friends and family who would give us old clothes. My family is relatively large, so even though the theory was that we would keep what fit and donate the rest, we usually just kept all of it; If it didn’t fit now, one of us would grow into it. That’s sounds great… in theory. I think it’s likely a correlation between poverty and hording-like behaviors. My grandma spent some of the foundational years of her life during the Great Depression, and back then you didn’t throw away ANYTHING. I think that sort of thing sticks with you, and can be learned. There are so many things that we have for ‘what if’ scenarios, and ‘just in case,’ to fix up ‘when we have time.’
It’s one thing to get rid of clothes that don’t fit at all; I weeded out those during my teen years. But it take a surprising amount of time to learn how clothes are supposed to fit when you’ve been wearing hand-me-downs for over a decade. And although we now have the expendable income to buy new clothes, I reached my adult height at 12 years old, and hardly grew since. Even if I don’t like something, if it truly fits I don’t feel like I can get rid of it. There’s this sort of desire to hang on to as many outfits as possible for ‘just in case.’ And then I know I own five button down blouses so I can’t justify purchasing a new one, but I never wear the ones I have.
Recent life changes have lead to me eating a better diet, and I gained about 30 pounds over the past two years (which is a story for a different post, but I’m a healthy weight). So now I just need to go through ALL of my clothes, try them on one by one, and give away what I’ve outgrown. It’s a bit daunting, but on the other hand I know it’ll be a lot of ‘does it zip? Nope? Out!’
And then, I’ll finally need to learn to let go of clothes I don’t like. Wish me luck!
P.S. I’d love to hear any advice, or stories about you or a freinds’s struggle with minimalism vs. materialism. Leave a comment or shoot me an email!