Stuffed: 3 Ways to Manage and Minimize Your Stuff
There's nothing like moving to make you realize "holy sh*t, I have a lot of sh*t!"
That's been me cursing myself as I have carried the umpteenth box of houseplants and shoes up a LOT of steps recently. While the upside is a killer leg workout, it made me really evaluate my accumulation of stuff. And this is coming from someone who prides themselves on having a "minimalist" mindset. I might have given myself too many accolades too soon.
In the past year or two, I have done a couple pretty good gut jobs of a lot of my things, and I will pat myself on the back for that. I realize I still have a long way to go to be a true minimalist, and maybe I will never get there. In this process, I have fashioned a mini guidebook or checklist for myself before I bring new things into my living space which I will outline below. Do I always follow them? Hell no, but the point is always progress, not perfection, ya dig? With this most recent move, I am going to challenge myself a little bit harder to follow my guidebook. Side note- don't we always have such big dreams when we move into a new place? We promise ourselves grand things like "now THIS will be the place that I finally start wiping down my baseboards", or "my closet will finally be an oasis of color coded shirts and fully matched socks". Dream on, dreamers!
Here's a picture of me in my new closet, surrounded by stuff. Slight disclaimer- I have a lot of very nice items that happened to be gifted to me by a family member who loooooved to shop. She loved high end stuff and we happened to be the same size in everything. It was an amazing time in my life. Hence the numerous pairs of shoes I never wear but I'm obsessed with. Also, I love shoes. Crippling pain be damned. When the occasion arises once every 2 years that I need to dress up, I will have on amazing shoes, even though I might be dying inside.
Rule One of Becoming Un-Stuffed:
The PURGE. Time to get cutthroat with your things. Go watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix to get some inspiration, and start donating. If it doesn't bring you joy and you don't use it or need it, say bye bye.
I did my dresser drawers Marie Kondo style, and it was life changing. And I have kept them that way for over 6 months. Pretty impressed with myself.
Question Yourself. Before I purchase something, I will ask myself, "Do I really need this?" and "Do I really love this?" And I don't mean really need it or love it, but REALLLLLYYYYYYY need it or love it. Like, REALLY.
Question some more. Can I purchase this item second hand? Can I find it at a thrift store, consignment shop, antique mall, Facebook marketplace, or on a re-sale app?
For some reason, I think "buying used" has a certain stigma attached to it. I could be off base, but I don't think people want to buy something used because it makes them feel poor or that they might get judged by others for not purchasing it brand new. If this is you, I will tell you what I have told myself- GET OVER IT. Buying already used items is a massively awesome way to help the planet. People everywhere have like-new items just sitting around their house, so why not take advantage of that and get a basically new item at a great discount? I have gotten so many things re-sale, and I love them! Also, why don't we just flat out ask more? That is a cool thing about social media. Throw it out there that you are looking for a dresser or a desk and who knows? One of your friends might have one sitting in their basement that they would be thrilled to get rid of for free. Use that network, people!
If you love the thrill of the hunt and you love bargains like me, re-sale shopping is a dream. You will find unique items that you couldn't find elsewhere, and you can also find fun stuff for DIY makeovers if you are into that sort of thing, too.
Here are some of my favorite resources for buying used:
-Snooty Fox Furniture Den (Cincinnati locals)
-ThredUp. Okay, I can't believe I haven't mentioned this website/app yet in any of my posts. It's an obsession of mine. It's a humongous online consignment shop for clothing, shoes, and accessories. You can buy anything from Old Navy to designer stuff, and you can filter your searches by your size, the condition of the item, and pretty much anything else. I know some people get weirded out about buying used clothes, but think about when you buy something "new". How many people have tried it on at the store, and what dirty factory did it come from, anyway? Just throw it in the washer and get on with your life! The amount of clothing that ends up in landfills due to fast fashion is mind boggling, and clothing manufacturing does a lot of damage in the way of water pollution as well. Try this website, for reals.
Get over being instantly gratified. This is coming from someone who just Amazon Primed something yesterday, but really. We all need to think about this expectation, nay I say addiction, we have to having things immediately. Is it more of a pain in the ass to find an outdoor table that I like at an antique store or consignment shop instead of just getting it at Target or hopping on Amazon? Absolutely. But you know what? I need to learn patience, and I need to get over the entitled feeling that anything I want (within reason of course, I'm not Jay-Z), I get to have it right now. Lastly, if you slow down and try to find something an alternative way, you might end up with a really good story! Maybe you and your bestie or your mom can spend some time together hunting for that perfect item and it ends up being a really great day that you never would have had if you had just clicked for it on Amazon.
It's pretty stressful to manage all of the stuff we have accumulated, so take it bit by bit. I think if we can all bring a little more consciousness back into our purchasing habits, it can go a long way to help our own sanity and the planet. Do you have too much stuff? Have you changed the way to buy things? Let me know in the comments below! Feel free to share this post with anyone who might need help with their stuff!