I wish I could say it’s an annual tradition, but it’s not. This year marked my first attempt to do a meaningful clear out of unwanted possessions before the start of the new year. And it felt good.
@TheFrankFlyer is – how shall I say this – consistent in how much he encourages me to eBay unwanted stuff or to donate it to the Red Cross. In fairness to myself, I manage a clear out of the wardrobe twice a year as we move from Winter clothing to Summer clothing, or vice versa.
That’s when I discover the clothing I forgot I owned – which is either a pleasant surprise and saves me buying something new, or a disappointment that I still own something I was sure I’d dumped long ago. Or, worse still, something I had no recollection of buying in the first place, normally the result of a mid-sales impulse. And these usually remain unworn.
It’s not something I’m proud of.
I find it hard to get rid of things. I’m hugely irrational when it comes to my belongings and I know it – which makes it worse! Getting rid of my old comics collection last year was a massive wrench, but I couldn’t justify the space they were taking up, the fact I hadn’t opened the boxes in years or the fact that they would get me next to no money if sold. Believe me, I checked.
So they were donated to the kids of my apartment building.
I also have a tendency to hoard paper. So this week, it was all about clearing out the study, identifying stuff that could be a) used up, b) binned or c) put on eBay. I have an aversion to eBay, while @TheFrankFlyer seems to spend a happy few hours there each week, so he volunteered to eBay anything I was happy to get rid of.
In the end, we gathered a bunch of paper that cold be used up as scrap notes, a bunch of old paperwork that could be shredded, and some old impulse purchases from Instagram (never again) that needed to be binned immediately. We then went through all the various bags I’ve accumulated and listed a bunch of them on eBay.
For someone who travels a lot, I have far too many bags that either aren’t used, are pointless duplicates or are just unsuitable. It’s my travel blind spot. So @TheFrankFlyer listed a bunch of backpacks and other bags and we now have a lot more room both under the bed and in the hallway cupboard!
I did some online post-Christmas shopping for clothes, which arrived yesterday. I marked the majority of it to be returned without even opening it, as I knew I didn’t need it. Trying things on would be too much of a temptation to keep them! I’m determined to own less ‘stuff’ and clothing falls into that category.
(Why didn’t I return it all? I honestly needed those socks… Three times in December alone @TheFrankFlyer has pointed out holes in my socks. It was getting embarrassing).
With all of the bag-selling, you’d think it would be nuts to actually buy luggage. But earlier this month, I got myself a new overnight bag for business trips from Away Travel and then earlier this week got a backpack for work that doesn’t make me look like an ageing student. All other small pieces of luggage and the collection of backpacks are being sold, so I have one of each size of bag now. Which is a lot more sensible and sustainable. And each bag (suitcase, overnight duffel bag and backpack) is of excellent quality and durability, so won’t need to be replaced for quite some time.
For the purposes of transparency, I still have some tote bags to clear out. We seemed to have accumulated a box of cotton tote bags from various shops over the years. Some, we use for shopping bags, in an attempt to be green. Some have never seen the light of day and some are in tatters. That needs sorting. I’ll keep one for the beach, a couple for grocery shopping and that’s it.
I know that earlier this week I identified 2019 as a year of travel. Let’s be honest; almost every year for me is a year of travel! So I’m marking 2019 officially as my ‘Year of Less’. By the end of next year, I want to own less tuff, buy less stuff and spend less money (if any) on impulses. I’d prefer to spend money on experiences (like visiting new countries) than accumulating ‘cheap’ bags I’ll almost certainly never use.
A ‘Year of Less’ really represents a challenge for me, but it’s a challenge that will do me good on a number of levels.
Will I become an overnight minimalist? Not a chance. Will I be more intentional about how I use and dispose of my belongings? Most definitely.
Wish me luck!