Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been trying to downsize and de clutter my life. One of my first areas to tackle was my bulging wardrobe using the Project333 method. You can read more about that in this post here.
Things have certainly improved in that department, though I did fall off the wagon a bit recently. I am a self confessed shopaholic so you can imagine how much of a challenge changing this behavioural pattern has been.
After deciding that I needed some inspiration I decided to watch the Netflix documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things. You can find more information on it here. Whilst I wouldn’t say that this has been life changing or I’ve had an epiphany, I do feel I took some important lessons from it.
The documentary touched on America’s consumer led throw away culture and why this has been the norm. The ability to participate in conspicuous consumption is seen as part of fulfilling that American dream. In laymans terms this means that we have been conditioned to believe that what we consume in terms of material possessions portrays how successful and happy in life we are. Obviously I’m not an American or living in America but this rings true of most progressive countries.
This is a notion that I completely agree with. As a society we have indeed become accustomed to that misguided need to seek fulfilment from material things. The problem is that sense of fulfilment is often short lived before we are dissatisfied and looking for the next ‘must have’ item. That buzz you get from buying something new and sharing it on Instagram is what feeds the habit.
Retailers convince us that if we are having a bad day or simply feeling a bit down that some retail therapy is the answer to our problems. It’s not though! A new pair of shoes won’t change the fact that your job sucks or your boyfriend cheated on you.
I feel I have made a conscious decision to change my ways. This isn’t going to happen overnight though. I’m going to use a huge cliche now. I’m on a bit of a journey of discovery and gradually working out what things are important to me.
Since downsizing my wardrobe, back in November I have been a lot happier. Even though I have less clothes I never say to myself I have nothing to wear. Why? Well for a start every damn item in that wardrobe I love. If something doesn’t fit or make me feel special I’m not going to hold onto it.
Now I know that plays into the whole throw away fashion problem but hear me out. I am learning to be mindful about what I consume. I ask myself questions such as ‘Do I actually need this?’.
I would be lying if I said I had completely stuck to the project 333 method of managing my wardrobe. Just working in fashion retail presents temptation on a daily basis. As part of my job I am required to act as a brand ambassador and dress in the latest collections that are on sale at work. For this reason my work wardrobe is constantly changing to keep up to date.
It is much easier for me to control the basics. Recently I bought two pairs of jeans, one black and one blue. That could seem excessive but I had lost weight and the two pairs of jeans I already owned kept falling down. Instead of holding on to those jeans that didn’t fit I took them along to my local charity shop. In the past I probably would have held on to them ‘just in case’. For me being able to let go of material possessions that no longer serve a purpose to me is a big step forward.
I certainly wouldn’t describe myself as a minimalist. I enjoy shopping and collecting pretty things. One thing I picked up from the documentary is that It’s okay to have a collection if you feel it genuinely adds value to your life. That is the key thought process I have in mind now when deciding whether to give space in my life to a particular material item.
As an example I have what most people would consider a large amount of makeup and beauty products. I see trying out new products and reviewing them on my blog as a rewarding hobby.
I am making small changes in this area though. If I don’t like a product or it doesn’t work for me then realistically I’m not going to reach for it. What is the point of hoarding something if I don’t use it. It is just going to sit there untouched and getting closer and closer to its expiration date, losing any value it had. Somebody else though might love what doesn’t work for me so these are now going to be passed on.
I used to have 3 separate beauty subscription services delivered each month. Why? Well I had justified it by saying that this was a more cost effective way of trying out new products. I only have one body though so this was excessive. I couldn’t possibly use everything in one month.
At present I have just one subscription service. I tried going cold turkey but found I really did actually miss receiving my monthly beauty package. That is okay though I haven’t failed and one is a vast improvement on three.
If you have access to Netflix it is definitely worth checking the documentary on minimalist living out. I’m very aware that this type of lifestyle isn’t for everyone but it certainly helps you to see through the clutter and work out what is important in your life.
Let me know your thoughts on this.