Confessions of a (Reforming) Selfish Materialist

Monday, March 10, 2014

Not this past Saturday but the Saturday before I spent pretty much all day cleaning out my apartment. My apartment is five rooms: my bedroom, spare room, kitchen, small bathroom, living room. My clothes and shoes, admittedly, are spread over two closets in both bedrooms.

I don't know if you guys have ever gone through this, but lately I had been feeling so SUFFOCATED by my STUFF. Like I am one person ... how can I have so much stuff? I have books and clothes and more shoes than I could wear in a month. I should be embarrassed really. I am definitely one of those people who would look at a sweater and think well, maybe I'll wear this when _______ or what if I want to wear this blue shirt sometime some day in the future. Or maybe one day I'll want to wear one of these two pairs of pink heels I haven't worn in about two years, but, you know, SOMEDAY I MIGHT WANT TO!


Just getting started here. I'm keeping the rabbit. :) 
I decided I really needed to make a massive change. I honestly felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff I had. And it was time to let go of a lot of that stuff. I started in the late morning and just opened the first closet and got to work. I made four piles: one to give away, one to throw away (super old or stained stuff like old tee-shirts), one of stuff to try and sell on threadUP (nicer stuff) and one pile to try and sell on eBay. The good majority - like 85% - went in the give away pile. Our church supports a great ministry called ECCHO, that provides food and clothing to the poorest of the poor in our county.

I decided that the test for determining whether or not I'd keep something or discard it was would I buy this if I went to the store today and saw it? If I wouldn't pay money for it at the store today, it was going. Shoes, clothes and purses mainly. I ended up with four big trash bags of stuff to donate to ECCHO, about five nicer items for threadUP and a dozen or so things I'm trying to sell on eBay. (Oh, great news there... I've made $37! And that's after shipping! That's almost one tank of gas that's been sitting useless in my closet. And I still have more things posted.)

Goodbye shoes, sweaters and shirts -- have fun in your  new homes!

Truth be told, my whole wardrobe system was based on the fact that several things would always be in the hamper or in the wash at any given time. I didn't have enough hangers or dresser drawer space if everything was clean. I mean ANNA. I ended up with a laundry basket full of hangers that are now unused and I'm able to close my sock drawer now! :) I mean who needs all those socks?! I'm able to actually move things around in my closet to see what's in there because the clothes aren't all smashed up on each other. And my shoes (except for boots) all fit on my shoe racks, nothing is haphazardly laying on the floor of the closet. There are still a couple drawers I need to go through like my underwear/bra drawer and my dance clothes tub, and a couple other areas - and I probably still have too much stuff - but I feel GREAT about what I was able to do.

Who knew there was carpet on my closet floor?!

Additionally, I went through my desk and got rid of all this CRAP I didn't need and the drawer shuts now and nothing is laying on the top. Oh, and I also rearranged furniture in my living and spare rooms which really has nothing to do with cleaning out my life but sometimes you just need a change, you know? :)

These two (now red and bruised) knees assisted in moving some bookshelves. I should teach classes in the proper way to move things.  
I guess this is another idea for which I have Amy to thank. I wish I could find a post that was the impetus for my thoughts, but I honestly think it was probably the few days I spent reading her archives and the overarching theme of WE DON'T NEED THIS MUCH STUFF. What about a sweater that's hung unworn for three years is helping me in my life? NOTHING. And there are people IN THIS COUNTY who need sweaters. Truth is, I am selfish. And materialistic. And those are two things I really need to work on. Material things don't matter. Relationships do.

This might be silly, but several months back I gave away a skirt that was spinny and flowy and navy and white striped. I really liked it, but I had had it for several years and it was time to move on. From time to time I've since had pangs of missing it (I know, materialistic) but then I imagine another girl a couple towns over receiving that skirt and LOVING it like I did. Sometimes I think I might see her wearing it out. And that makes me smile.

Friends, clean out your closets. Get rid of your stuff. You will feel GREAT. GREAT! If you're looking for something to wear tomorrow morning and you pull out a shirt and you think "eh, not today, but maybe someday..." YOU DON'T NEED IT. But I bet there's someone who lives near you who does.

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