Less Stuff. More Life.
I posted a photo of my yoga leggings on Instagram not too long ago. I have an embarrassingly large amount (15!) despite the fact that I have donated and downsized over the last year. In fact, I've donated about 95% of my wardrobe over the last year. The yoga stuff is some of the last to go because "I need it to teach", "I need it because I practice so much", and yada yada yada...
...But the last time I checked the yogis who attend my classes don't give a damn about my leggings. I also prefer to practice in my comfy sweats or the same two pairs of leggings that fit best and don't slide down (ugh I cannot stand when my leggings slide down!) So basically my rationale for why I "need" all these leggings is total BS.
Anyhow, why am I writing about clothing today?
Because our possessions have a direct effect on our wellbeing. There's no way around it. Look around you right now. There's stuff everywhere, right? How does seeing it all make you feel? What percentage of it was an intentional buy? Think of the cluttered closet in your home. What emotions does it stir up? How does shopping make you feel? How does the thought of not shopping make you feel? How about thinking about how much time and money you have spent on all of your stuff? Eek!
When I think about the amount of money I have spent on clothes I actually feel sick. Like physically ill. It would be impossible to add it all up, but I imagine it could probably have paid for some seriously amazing vacations. Maybe I could have bought an airstream and traveled around the country.
Sadly, most of the stuff that I have bought was not a thought out intentional buy. It was to fill a void. A quick fix. Shopping used to bring me some form of "happiness" when I wasn't happy.
No sulking in what was though. We learn from the past, and move the hell on!
My closet was overflowing, yet I still had nothing to wear. And I certainly wasn't happy. Do you have that problem, too?
What I have actually realized is that shopping doesn't make me feel happy. Yes "the buy" can be fun, but ultimately shopping makes me feel hyper and antsy. I prefer to feel balanced and calm which happens when I get outside, do SUP yoga, cook, read a book, or chill with my family.
So what's the solution for me?
As much as I would love to go total minimalist, it's not the right approach for me. It feels too extreme, and not sustainable. Possessions (and shopping) can have a place in my life if done out of intention rather than emotion. Owning stuff isn't bad when done right. Being owned by your stuff is the problem.
This is what I've done so far:
- Gone through every piece of clothing that I own, and tried it on. Put it into the following categories: donate, trash, maybe, love it!
- The donate pile and trash pile are self-explanatory. The love it pile... this is the stuff that you reach for again and again. If you were going away for a week, this stuff would definitely come with you.
- The maybe pile is the pile of clothing that you just don't use, but don't want to get rid of it. Maybe it still has tags on it. There may be sentimental value. Some stuff might not fit right. Other items might just be good, but not your style. This is the pile that is hard to break up with. Put this stuff in a box, and put it in the basement or garage. If it stays in there for several months, and you don't use it... well, that's your answer that it is time to donate it. Let the guilt go, and allow those items to be happy in a new home.
- Seperate your items based upon the season. Out of season items should be stored away until it's time for them to come out and play.
- Now you should be left with only items that you love. For me, this was barely anything. My recommendation is to wear the hell out of these clothes, and don't shop. Figure out what you truly need to pull your closet together, and to develop your style.
This is what I'm working on:
- Developing my own sense of style. I've learned that the boho yoga teacher clothing really just isn't my thing. Those items just sat in my closet crying because they weren't being used.
- Building a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is one that is small, made up of quality pieces that a person loves, is coherent (everything goes together), and intentional.
- Continuing to identify when I feel like shopping for a pick me up. Resisting the discomfort, and sitting through the discomfort.
- Applying the idea of less stuff to more areas of my life.
- Budgeting for intentional purchases that make sense for my lifestyle, personal style, and will actually be loved and used.
- Taking intentional shopping breaks! This one will no doubt be the hardest for me.
- Putting my resources towards things that truly make me happy rather than what society tells me I should be buying/doing.
This is going to be a long term thing for me, and I hope to inspire some of you to try as well. I am excited by what we all may learn about ourselves on this journey. I already have lots to share here so I invite you to come back soon.
I'll leave you with the following:
What would happen if you invested in yourself rather than spend your time, money, and energy towards material items that you don't even really like or use? What would it be like if you didn't feel weighed down by all of your stuff? How would you feel? What's stopping you from making this happen?
What kind of magic could you create with your new found resources?