I normally don’t take spring cleaning to heart. I try to keep my place as tidy as possible throughout the year so I don’t have to spend a lot of time one or two weeks in the spring playing catch-up. However, this week I must have caught a de-cluttering bug, because I have been going through all my dressers and closets, paring down on clothes and shoes I hardly ever, or never, wear. In just one night I filled one large trash bag with stuff to donate to charity, and another large pile of things to try and sell at a clothing consignment store. That doesn’t include the shoes, purses and jeans, which I plan to deal with tonight. I counted over 20 pairs of jeans of the same size. I tend to wear the same three pairs over and over again. What was I thinking?!
When all is said and done I’ll probably have three large trash bags full of still wearable and mostly still fashionable goods. It will make a considerable dent in my closets but still leave probably more than an adequate supply of clothing. I could get rid of more, but there’s always that slightly too tight shirt you think you’ll be able to fit into this summer if only you could talk yourself into working out more. Who am I kidding?!
The reason I am blogging about my spring cleaning binge has to do with consumption, or overconsumption to be more precise. It seems as if we are trained from a young age to want to buy, buy, buy and own, own, own as much stuff as possible. I can remember back to junior high when if you were seen wearing the same shirt two weeks in a row (or even twice in the same month) people made fun of you. If you weren’t wearing the newest designer labels you were marked as uncool.
Unfortunately that doesn’t end once you become an adult, although it may be a more subtle pressure. Now it’s the cars we drive and phones we hold in our hand that mark how far we’ve “made it” in life. If you have a cell phone from 2010 you are so uncool, and if it’s a “dumb” phone, well than you might as well go back to the 80s with your bag phone, loser! Keeping up with the Joneses has taken on epic proportions!
The Story of Stuff (www.storyofstuff.org) is an amazing website and I highly recommend that you check it out. It’s full of resources, videos, blogs and tweets that help people worry less about having stuff. Or, I should say, it helps people realize they don’t need quite so much stuff in their lives. It is a very valuable resource.
I do like “stuff”, I have to admit. I enjoy getting compliments on a new pair of shoes and I can’t wait to start reading books on my new Kindle Fire, but I will start paying more attention to what I have, so that I can buy less unnecessary stuff and start filling my life with more of what’s needed. Never again will I allow 20 pairs of jeans to pile up in boxes in my closet. I will make sure they go to good, new homes (certainly not to the landfill or incinerator!!) so that others can buy used “stuff” rather than buy brand new “stuff.”
Oh, and yes I am a “loser” with a “dumb” phone and proud of it! And I still love CDs, don’t own an MP3 player, have a 9-year old car and walk to work. So maybe you don’t want to take advice from me, but I’d be happy if you did!
Thanks for reading.