A lesson in letting go of the (material) things that no longer serve us
I could credit the ‘new normal’ that 2020 thrust upon us for having more time than usual to declutter and reorganise my environment. However, I realise I have been decluttering since I was a teenager. I see that my strong desire to remove and reorder objects around me was actually a way of gaining control in one area of my life – where I felt I had lost it in another. I have never had difficulty with letting go of things (clothing, furniture, personal items, relationships) that no longer served me. You could say I was living by Marie Kondo’s philosophy well before I even discovered it.
The end of a relationship, the beginning of a new venture, or a shitty week at work, would trigger a frenzy of clearing and cleaning. For me, it’s spring cleaning for the soul. Acknowledging the things in your life that no longer ‘spark joy’, and then letting them go, is like instant therapy. The art of releasing helps me clear my mind, move forward, and stay sane. I thank Ms Kondo for cultivating a movement around this practice.
Beyond the personal and psychological benefits you experience when you declutter and detox your wardrobe and home, you are also exposed to just how much of what you buy is based on thoughtless or impulsive decision making. Diving deep into our closets and eliminating the items that we may have worn only once, twice, or never at all, forces us to consider how much of what we purchase actually gets worn or used. Ask yourself how much of what you own ignites a sense of joy, and what can you live without.
By being more aware of our purchasing habits, we buy less and get more wear out of what we already own. I encourage investing in quality garments that will have a long life in your wardrobe and that make you feel great with every wear – the aim is to reduce impulse buys that add to the mounting landfill disaster.
Author Elizabeth L. Cline of the ‘The Conscious Closet’ critiques flippant application of the Marie Kondo method, as it can exacerbate mounting textile waste. Elizabeth Cline cautions adopting an impulsive throw-away mindset and teaches that this can be just as damaging as an impulse buying mindset.
It is estimated that $50 billion worth of unworn clothing hangs in wardrobes around the world and that around $200 million worth of clothing ends up in landfill every year according to UK source Wrap.
I certainly don’t want to contribute to such extraordinary figures, especially when I know that I can be a part of the solution, rather than the problem – just by changing my mindset and habits.
The most satisfying ways of letting go of clothes you no longer wear is to donate them to local charities or resell them.
Ensure the clothing you donate is clean and free of any significant holes or flaws; this increases the likelihood of your unwanted clothing finding a happy new home.
You can join the world of ‘circular fashion’ and sell your more expensive or unique designer items to other fashion lovers in search of a bargain or one-off piece.
There are many excellent resale sites to choose from. Check out some of my favourites below and take on board the following tips before you start.
Tip #1 Pick the site that best suits the style of clothing you wish to sell.
Tip #2 These sites can be quite addictive. If you find yourself perusing for items to purchase, practice discipline. Put your favourites on a wish-list before you hit ‘buy’, that way you can review and think seriously before you succumb to impulse buying.
Sites I recommend and I have personally used
Decluttering can be therapeutic and transformational. I encourage you to rethink not only how you shop, but also how you dispose of what you no longer need or want. If something makes you look and feel fabulous, keep it! Otherwise, let it go – ideally to a new and loving home.
P.S For some creative tips on how to get more longevity out of your clothes, read my next blog on upcycling.
My name is Claudia Hackman.