Time for a Clear Out

After 12 months of very little shopping, I was expecting to want to go a bit shopping mad in the Sales. Except I didn’t. I found not going into shops has become so ingrained that I no longer feel the inclination to wander into shops if I’m bored. In fact, it’s made me even more conscious of how much ‘stuff’ I have.

Eschewing the shops over my holidays freed up time to start decluttering my flat.

It’s a bit late to call it a Spring Clean as we’re nearly at the middle of Summer here, but I hope to finish it before Northern Hemisphere Spring starts. I’ve been finding a lot of things that I don’t need and a few that I’d forgotten about but they are really useful. And there is so much paper! Receipts, paperwork, photocopies, work stuff, knitting patterns, cards, envelopes, tissues, recipes, magazines etc, all over the place. I keep finding more and more. Giving me a good push to get my paper habit under control this year.

Mixed in with decluttering and shopping was tackling my wardrobe. I did go into one clothes shop and tried on a whole pile of things. I left very dejected as the only way things would have fitting is if I could miraculously gain about 6-8 inches in height. It took a few days but I eventually pulled everything out of my wardrobe and piled it up on my bed. There was so much stuff. Rather than just sticking it back in, it also seemed a good time to have a go at a capsule wardrobe. Excluding underwear, pyjamas, workout gear and special occasion clothes, I’ve got my wardrobe down to 40 items, which includes 7 pairs of shoes. I usually only thing about what to wear when I get up in the morning so I’m not sure if 40 items is too much/too little or if I’ve chosen the right pieces. Time will tell. This is how much stuff I packed away!

I culled 2 bags of things that don’t fit/I never wear them or they are really past being fit to wear. I even took the pinking shears to 3 M&S Heatgen tops (my go to Winter layering tops) which were almost threadbare. This was to stop me hanging on to these comfy things despite how they look.

As well as having a much cleaner wardrobe, I have a much better understanding of what I own and what I need and that I really don’t need new Summer clothes.

The plan is that this capsule should see me through to start of March (Autumn) when I’ll switch around things from the storage pile. I have adapted another trick which is to reverse the hangers until you’ve worn an item once and then then it can be hung the right way. This should let me track if anything doesn’t get worn. That’s a good sign that I won’t wear it and it should go.

This might not seem to have much to do with zero plastic, but every item of clothes I don’t buy means one less plastic tag consumed. It’s also part of an overall realisation that keeping things out of landfill has to be good. Since not everything can be recycled or repurposed, by having less things, ultimately it redues overall waste.

I’ve always maintained that I’m not a ‘shopper’ as I don’t get a buzz out of shopping but the clutter around the flat tells a different story. So in 2018 I am going to track what I buy and why I buy. Many people embark on Buy Nothing New challenges (either just for clothes or for everything) and they sound really interesting but I’m not going to follow that path. I’m interested in reducing my overall consumption, being really selective about what I buy and making sure I buy to last. I’m certainly not opposed to buying second hand but I don’t want to buy things that will break and need replaced quite quickly.

As I said in my last post, I’m aiming to balance things this year. Consciously buying doesn’t mean I’m only going to buy things I need. If I really want something (like a stainless steel food storage box) and can justify the purchase (will it last? Is it worth the price? Will I enjoy using it?), I’m not planning on deriving myself. I would like it to be a one in one out policy though – a stainless steel lunchbox equates to at least one plastic container going to recycle.

Of course, making some savings by consuming less would be good too. I can put that money towards holiday (experiences rather than things!). Potentially to places that sell petite clothing so I can replace some of the things still in my wardrobe that are nearing their end of life!

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5 thoughts on “Time for a Clear Out

  1. Have you heard about Kon Marie? Some of her thoughts are a bit out there but the overall concept is very similar to what you are describing; only buying things that spark joy and really thinking about a purchase.

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  2. I’ve started tracking all my spending this year, don’t know how long I’ll have the energy to keep it up. I’m fairly sure that most of my day to day spending is food although a lot of that is convenience food/eating out but I decided I wanted to see for definite just where my money is going.

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