Due to a slightly bizarre living arrangement I don’t go into my bedroom very often, just to get dressed in the morning or to look for something to read. But whenever I do I feel slightly over whelmed by the amount of stuff in there. A lot of stuff that I don’t ever touch. Inspired by the likes of The Minimalists, which I have been sneakily reading while waiting for people to get back to me at work, I have made a resolution that I will throw one item away each day in June.
Although only on day six, what I’ve sorted to go so far has offered some insights into why we hold onto stuff we don’t necessarily need. I started with some easy ones. As people who remember me (and my bag and coat) from university will know, I collect campaign badges. I have a lot of them. Although I no longer display them on what I wear (“Look at me! I have radical political opinions”), I now keep them in a box. On 1 June I sorted through this box and threw away all the duplicates. The local oxfam shop is soon to have a large donation of e-on f-off ones, souvenirs from the days of camping outside power stations, as well as a lot of their own.
On 2 June I pulled a barely opened book by Trinny and Susannah telling me what I should be wearing off my shelf and put it in the the bag for the charity shop. The next day out went my old running shoes. I don’t wear these anymore since they’re falling apart, but the memories… I pounded the streets in these whenever an essay or exam was stressing me out throughout sixth form and university. Then last year I trained and ran 10km for Cancer Research (not very far but I was proud of myself). I tell myself that I don’t need an old pair of shoes to remind me and out they go.
Getting ready to go out on Saturday night was not my proudest moment and after numerous outfit changes and one big tantrum I threw a dress, worn on many student nights out but not something I want to be seen in again, into the ‘to go’ bag.
Sunday brought with it a dilemma. A fairly new, and certainly not cheap, pair of ankle boots. I don’t wear them much because they aren’t comfortable and I’ve gone off the style, but I feel they were a waste of money if I don’t keep them. Clearly this is ridiculous because keeping but never wearing them will not make that cost worthwhile. In the back of my mind I know I should probably try and sell them, but they’ve been listed on ebay once and not sold. And to be honest I can’t be bothered with the fuss. If only to stop feeling guilty about them, I throw them out.
Which brings us to today, and another reason why people keep clothes they don’t wear. Those outfits that are too small for you but, ‘Oh, I might lose weight’. Out goes a shirt with buttons that no longer fasten over my chest. I do like this shirt, but having it in my wardrobe brings with it a nagging voice telling me that I’m too fat. I’d much rather have a wardrobe of bigger clothes because then I’ll have to keep eating chocolate to make them fit. The alternative – a wardrobe full of small clothes that I have to deprive myself to keep wearing – is too grisly to contemplate.