I am in the process of thinking about a spring/summer capsule wardrobe, which got me thinking about consumption in general. The more I think on this subject the more I realize that I want to own less and consume less. I think in my fondest dreams, I would live with the bare minimum of belongings, each one precious or useful in some specific way. In reality, I am surrounded by a heap of stuff that just won’t seem to budge. I think I am in a better place than I was before but still have a long way to go. I know there are certain things I will never give up like my chef’s jacket from pastry school, or all my travel souvenirs. Still, as much as I purge, I always seem to be acquiring new things to fill the space left by what I have gotten rid of. I am starting to realize that downsizing is a two-part process involving purging and then learning not to consume in the same way as before. The second part fits in nicely with another goal I have of saving as much money as possible in the coming year. And when I do buy new things, I want it to be in a responsible fashion. Here are some strategies I will be trying to get me to my goals.
Do a large purge
This is pretty self-explanatory. I plan to do a spring purge in all categories with the goal of eliminating redundant items (read 6000 pens) and things I never use. This will get me ready for my spring/summer capsule wardrobe and I think will make my belongings seem less heavy.
Set a small monthly budget for certain items
I order to motivate myself not to shop impulsively, I am setting very low monthly budgets for things like clothing and homegoods. So far I have budgeted $40 a month for clothing and $0 for home goods. That doesn’t include things like toilet paper, but does include things like cute knick knacks at Target and random pillows. I have been using Mint to manage my money for a while, but lately I have been leaning in to this online budget software even more with my current goal of saving money. One thing that I am notorious (mostly with myself) for doing is buying a new outfit if I don’t feel like my day outfit is good enough for my night plans. Most of the stuff I buy during these sprees ends up in the donation pile, minus a few surprise gems. I think the key to avoiding this is a) not getting lazy with my outfits in the morning and b) storing a cute outfit or at least some jewelry and heels at work.
Take care of what you already have
While I sporadically do things like get my shoes reheeled and sew buttons onto coats, I want to make it more of a habit. I also want to spend time figuring out how to wear the clothing I already have in new ways so that I value each item more. One thing that I have already done is purchase two large glass cabinets to hold some of my favorite travel souvenirs and mementos. I still have overflow but it is nice have things displayed this way and makes even the silly things (ie plastic dinosaurs) seem important.
Shop second-hand as much as possible
I already shop second-hand for clothing and furniture quite a bit. The challenge will be doing so consistently and including things like gifts and appliances. It can be frustrating to shop second-hand when you are looking for a very particular thing, but I’m hoping that it can be a fun challenge. There are so many options for shopping second-hand these days, from traditional thrift stores to websites like eBay and Poshmark. It just takes a little change in mindset.
Make a list of everything that you own
This one is a doozy! After I purge, I plan to make a comprehensive list of everything I own. It sounds daunting just thinking about it but I am curious to see what benefits an exercise like this could yield. Will I feel richer and more satisfied with what I have? Will I want to purge more? Will I discover that I have things I thought I needed to buy? Will I be inspired to make new things with my huge tubs of craft supplies? These are all possibilities and I am excited to find out what happens that I can’t predict as well. I am not putting a timeline on this as I have no idea how long something like this will take. I may combine this with the purge process. They seem to go hand in hand. I will definitely keep you updated on my progress.
How about you? Would you try any of these strategies? Let me know in the comments.