The Road to Minimalism is Paved with Clutter

At some point a little over ten years ago I found myself earning a good income and two dress sizes less than I’d been the previous year. What better way to celebrate this than with some cute new clothes? Thousands of dollars worth of cute new clothes and something for every occasion.

The double wardrobe in my bedroom, hallway wardrobe and two sets of drawers were jam-packed with clothes, shoes and accessories all for me.

  • Conservative clothes for work
  • Quirky designer outfits for going out
  • Tee-shirts and jeans for lounging around
  • Dress-ups for fancy dress parties I got invited to less than once in an electric blue moon
  • Gym gear for the work-outs I didn’t do
  • Formal dresses for the balls I didn’t go to
  • Clothes for when I put on weight
  • Clothes for when I lost weight
  • Vintage clothes
  • Designer clothes
  • Fast fashion clothes made with questionable ethics

People knew I liked clothes so started giving me their hand-me-downs, which I happily added to my collection.

My apartment was so full of clothes I could never find what I was looking for, and what I was looking for was always the same two or three outfits. And still I bought more and more clothes, and plastic hangers to go with them (because I’ve feared wire hangers since watching Mommie Dearest).

And then I thought about my teenage years when Mum would announce, “I can’t breathe from all this clutter you kids leave around!” I thought about people less fortunate than me. I thought about how the clothes I wear are made in developing countries and the people who make them are paid a pittance. I felt uneasy and I felt decadent.

Then I went to Spain for six months. Not because I’d read Eat Pray Love, but possibly for the same reasons. I don’t know; I haven’t read the book. What I do know is that I spent those six months living from the contents of a suitcase and loving it. The apartment I rented was airy and easy to clean. My clothes hung in their small wardrobe with big spaces between then. A few pieces of jewellery sat in a drawer, free from their usual tangle. I appreciated, used and loved everything I had there!

When I came home I knew the clothes had to go. One person didn’t need all of them. Ninety percent weren’t getting used. They needed to be set free. But when I looked at my clothes, each article had some sort of memory attached to them. I couldn’t give away something that once belonged to a dead relative, was given to me by a dear friend, had so many memories attached to it, could I?



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