Monday, April 11, 2011

On inventory

Whenever I move, I realize what a ridiculous amount of stuff I have. The last few years I have moved quite a lot (the curse of studenthood, I suppose), and every now and then (vacations and such) I've been temporarily back with my parents where all the stuff my at-the-time living arrangements didn't accommodate is stored.

It's become quite the pile. I have boxes and boxes of books, kitchen supplies, random items of the decoration-, entertainment- or "otherwise" categories, and there is an entire shed stocked with furniture (not all of it is mine, though - my two sisters have also stored quite a lot there over the years). In addition, I have several closets filled with clothes.

There is no denying that I'm a "material girl", but it is not as bad as it sounds. Right now everything I own is stored at my parents' place, since I moved out of my apartment before I went to Japan (and there I only brought what I could carry within the 20kg luggage allowance). Before I moved, most of this was stuff I used, and had a place for. In storage, however, it seems much more unmanageable. Since I'm now back (still temporarily, still in the blue), however, the amount of stuff seem larger than ever. At the same time - now is a terrible time to decide the fate of any furniture, storage boxes and so on, because it is impossible for me to know where, when and to what I will move next. Hopefully my next move will be somewhere slightly more permanent than it's been the last few years, but until I know that for sure, I don't want to get rid of anything that might come in handy at a later stage.

My clothes, however, does not apply to this.

For a while I've been wondering if I should actively start restricting my clothes purchases. I don't actually buy clothes all that often, but once I do, I tend to go with the impulse rather than think through what I really need, and this results in piles of clothes I don't really need (and frequently don't use). Then I read in the paper about a girl who had taken a one year timeout from shopping because she realized that her clothes purchases had become quite the addiction. With one year without buying a single item, she managed to beat the habit, and her closet slimmed down considerably. I think it's time I put my closet on a diet.

Thus, it's my plan to follow her example - no clothes shopping for a year - with only one possible exception. I have a really good friend who is getting married this summer. I'm invited. I have another really good friend who is making the wedding gown. She also makes other clothes, and already have commission a couple of items for me. We've talked about this being a good occasion for another custom-designed dress, and I don't think I can resist the temptation. But, if this is the only clothing item I buy the following year, I will still consider my experiment a success.

Thus, I hereby resolve - I will not buy any clothes this year. It will save me money, time, and it will hopefully make my closet seem more manageable so that at least one part of my inventory is under control.

16 comments:

KarenG said...

I've been sorting, removing and boxing up my inventory lately, yes getting ready for a move. And realizing how much stuff we store that we don't actually use.

ViolaNut said...

I've been on a pretty involuntary clothes diet this year - all I've bought in the past 8 months is a couple of sweaters (which I paid for with a gift card). And you know, since I have no real sense of style and "trendy" is not an adjective anyone would ever use with me, it's just not a big deal. So I'm with you. But I still need to do the donation purge - good lord do I have too many socks! Good luck...

Kal said...

I would be interested if you can keep that pledge. Does that include shoes too or are shoes off the table?

Cruella Collett said...

Karen - it is horrible, isn't it? I stock up so much stuff I really should get rid off, and I seem entirely incapable of stopping. Here's to trying!

Leanne - yeah, I haven't been buying much clothes lately either. Being in Japan has its perks in that respect since I cannot find things that fit me (teeeeeny tiny people!), but now that I'm back home temptation is back...

Kal - I hadn't thought this through properly, apparently... Erm - yesnomaybe it also includes shoes? The difference between clothes and shoes, though, is that if I misplace clothes, or wear them out, or for some other reason cannot use them anymore, I will always be able to find a replacement of some kind in my closet. This isn't the case with shoes. If my winter boots start taking in water I can't use a pair of sandals instead... So, let me modify the pledge for the purpose of shoes: I will not buy any unnecessary shoes this year.

(And I'm interested to see if I can keep the pledge too. I think the biggest danger will be that I forget the whole thing...)

Jan Morrison said...

dearest Mari, I'm on my second year (not concurrent) of no clothes buying. At first it is irritating, especially if you buy to fill up anxiety holes in your heart like I sometimes do. Then it is liberating. You want to get rid of the clothes you have - pare it down. This time I started at New Years and it has been really easy. I don't even buy at consignment shops. The only 'clothing' purchases I'm allowed is underwears if it is crucial and it hasn't been, and shoes for the season if needed.
This is a mindfulness practice and I'm happy you're doing it. You won't regret it.

sue said...

I've been on a clothes and shoes diet for a few months now, and am finding the longer it goes, the less interested I am in shopping. I wouldn't have believed it was possible. I LOVE shoes, but the need to have more is gone, pfft, just not there any more. I feel better about myself as it seems greedy to have too much. It saves time too! Some of the meditation people here call it Urge Surfing, you ride the urge, and wait for it to subside - repeat as needed. Sue@JumpingAground (Alliteration & drabbles)
Sue@traverselife(Workplace bullying)

Jules said...

I wish my problem was clothes shopping, mine is music CD's. Ever try to move 2,500 CD's? Heavy, very heavy :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Liza said...

I've pretty much managed no clothes buying for the last two years...and have lived to tell the tale. I did have to buy shoes though, when my work pair wore out. I wouldn't mind a few fresh outfits, but can live without. Good luck!

Angela Felsted said...

You must have a lot, and I mean A LOT of clothes if you can make this goal. Half my clothes have holes in them. I guess that makes me holy person.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Mine is cds and dvds I have stacks of them.I enjoyed your post very much, very impressed,

Yvonne.

Karen Walker said...

I have moved so many times I can't count. Two times across the country, whereupon I sold everything I owned and started over. Learned not to get attached to "stuff." Hubby is a hoarder, though, so we have way more stuff than I ever did. Nice to "meet" you on this a-z challenge.
Karen

Cold As Heaven said...

Shopping is the most boring activity I know. I'm probably into my 2nd (or 3rd) year of clothes-shopping timeout. The clue is to stick to one single color (black in my case). Then anything fits nicely, in any combination >:)

Cold As Heaven

Kelly said...

I think my wake-up call was cleaning out my aunt's house. She was in her 90s when she died and I don't think she'd ever thrown away anything! We had to carefully sort since there were some "treasures" hidden in all the junk. For example, we found a letter from her grandfather written in 1917 with interesting info about the great flu epidemic.

Good luck with your attempt! If it works, I need to make that suggestion to my younger daughter.

A Heron's View said...

There is something to be said in 'That if you haven't worn or used a particular article for 7 months then you don't need it' ?

Jenny said...

What a good idea! I am trying to cut back everywhere and in general, just stay out if the stores. I'll join you in non clothes shopping unless a special occasion shows up.

Jemi Fraser said...

Good for you!! :)

Stuff does accumulate so easily, doesn't it. M daughter and I cleared out a lot of stuff last summer - planning on doing more this year! :)

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