#30BeforeThirty No.2: Decluttering (With Purpose)
I don't think it would be a stretch to say that, in the western world, at least, we all have too much "stuff". Be it clothes, shoes, mugs or bottles of nail polish - we tend to stockpile items and have great difficulty parting with them. This isn't going to be a two-page rant where I guilt trip you for what's inside your home: I'm as materialistic as the next shopaholic, but I've moved house recently, and it made me realise how much I have that don't use, won't use or can't use.
I've never read up on Hygge or how to create a capsule wardrobe. I like the idea of these things, but I know before I've even gotten through the first paragraph that I'm not consistent enough to follow through and I've no interest in disappointing myself when I inevitably fail. That said, even though I have not read her books, I often hear the voice of Marie Kondo asking "Does this bring you joy?" when I'm rummaging through my many eyeshadow palettes, trying to find the perfect shade nude-brown. Unfortunately, my answer is often "yes," or at the very least "maybe but I'm worried that if I throw it away, I'll need it in a couple of weeks."
If I'm really honest with myself, past my core wardrobe and skincare/makeup routine, I hold on to a lot of things "just in case". One day I might get invited to a party where I can wear this dress or that bold lipstick shade. It is worry and sometimes even fear that keeps me from parting with things I don't use. I didn't realise just how much I was holding on to until I was reading a blog post by Caroline Hirons where she mentions her Give and Makeup initiative that supports the charity Refuge by providing essentials for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Obviously, this in itself is amazing, but it caught my eye because it encouraged donations of makeup and skincare - even if they have been opened. Of course, we're not talking about that scraggy last millimetre of lipstick that you're bored of using but don't want to throw away. This is about products that you have bought, or have been bought for you, but don't work for your skin type or complexion. Caroline Hirons defines it best as "Something you would deem good enough to give to a friend."
Reading about this lit a fire under me: I realised that I did not want to hold on to all of this makeup and clothing and skincare, I just didn't want to throw it away and had no one to give it to. Charity shops don't tend to take opened bottles of moisturiser or a once-swiped lipstick, but if Give and Makeup could find a home for it; if a woman, just like me, had left her home with nothing and I had something in my drawer that could help, well, that was the kind of decluttering I could get down with!
Now on a roll, I have decided to apply this reasoning to all of my other belongings: rather than solely asking myself if something brings me joy, if the answer is more of a "maybe", I will consider if it will bring someone else more joy. There are dozens of charity shops on every high street that not only use the money raised to fund good causes, but they also help the people who go into the shops because they may not be able to afford things at full RRP.
Another positive to doing this, albeit a more selfish one, I have found myself feeling liberated. I wasn't aware of how much I had been holding on to past versions of myself, just in case they might return. I had a lovely black dress from Topshop that I'd only worn once, back when I was a size 6. I haven't been a size 6 since I gave up smoking five years ago, and while ditching that habit is one of my greatest victories, all it made me think of were the clothes I no longer fit into since I stopped. I'm healthier now than when I could fit into that dress. I look it, too. And now that the dress is gone, I'm free. If the dress didn’t fit, then did it even really belong to me anymore? Imagine having a wardrobe half-full of things that are no longer even yours… Don’t I deserve clothes that fit? No one keeps shoes they have outgrown in the hope that their feet will shrink. Keeping these things, I now realise, has made me feel a little inadequate - a reminder of a goal I’m yet to reach. Except, I have no intention of losing weight so they are completely redundant.
So now that I've started, I plan to continue on over the next six months, leading up to my birthday, freeing myself of things that no longer serve me. Hopefully, by the time I'm 30, I will be living my best, clutter-free life. Now that doesn't mean that I will no longer see the purpose of having eleven different shades of red lippy - let's not get crazy! But I'm sure there are several ways I could be better about what I fill my living space with.
Some other charities I like to donate to are:
Find your local UK charity shop here.
What do you have to many of? Hit me up in the comments with all of your decluttering tips and tricks!
Thank you for taking the time to read this most recent post in the #30BeforeThirty series. Please like, comment, subscribe if you liked what you read - or feel free to tell me if you didn't!
Next up: #3 Letting Myself Be Great - up on the blog Sunday 16th December.