June 20th was the official start of summer, and even though COVID-19 has put a damper on many plans, there is always an upside to any down. Being stuck at home may seem like a prison sentence, but now is as good of a time as any to start a new project around the house, get into gardening, start adopting new habits, and clean and declutter those spaces you’ve been putting off.
I like to talk about minimalism and living more sustainably, and I think that quarantine has become a great time for me to reflect on what I’ve been doing and brainstorm any ways to make it better for me and the planet. When it comes to minimalism, I keep finding myself getting the urge to declutter my closet and worldly possessions every season or so. It’s a great practice where I take stock of what I have, see how much I’ve used it, and then decide whether or not I should keep it or donate to someone in need. So here are the things that I’m looking to declutter this summer and some more ideas for people just getting started in the minimalism movement.
I’m going to be honest when I say that I had a real problem when I got into high school thinking that I needed to have 20 or so different swimsuits in order to be happy and stay on-trend. I had multiple styles and multiple colors, and half the time, I would only get to wear half of them before summer was over. When the next summer came along, I would spend my money on the new styles and add to my collection, and still not be able to wear them all.
It was about a year ago that I remembered the good ole days of my childhood, where my mom would take me and my older sister shopping for our swimsuits. She would only buy us one each, so we always had to make sure that it was one that we really liked. By the end of the summer, we wore those swimsuits out and had also grown a ton by the time next summer came around, so it made sense for our mom to take us out again to buy a new suit. Once I got older and effectively stopped having growth spurts, I still only bought one suit, that is, until I realized that every other girl that I knew had more than one. Peer pressure and wanting to belong forced me into this mindset that I needed more than what I needed in order to be cool and happy. Looking back now I see that it isn’t the truth. Over the years, I’ve effectively whittled down my collection to include six swim tops and three bottoms. It is nowhere near where I want to be but it is progress. I’ve found that I do actually wear them all in a given summer, and they each have a purpose for me, although, I am definitely looking to maybe donate a few more or give them to friends.
I know that I’m not the only one with the problem of just having too many t-shirts. Being in school makes this matter worse, because for almost anything nowadays, you get a free t-shirt. I’ve already weeded out my collection a ton, and I’m ultimately saving all of my high school and most of my college shirts to be made into t-shirt blankets once I have the money to pay someone to make them for me. As someone who is always cold, I felt as though it was a good repurposing of the material. However, I have a lot more shirts that are just miscellaneous.
I don’t think that I could ever be that person who just has five t-shirts that they cycle through, but I feel as though I could do more with less. I already have those select shirts that I always gravitate towards, but part of me wants to hang on to the others “just in case.” That phrase, “just in case,” gets me and a lot of other people in a lot of trouble when it comes to decluttering. That’s why I try to reason with myself by asking some important questions. How many times did I use this thing in the past month or two? Is there a sentimental attachment to this thing? Would I easily be able to find this again if I did get rid of it and end up needing it again?
My goal is to get my t-shirt collection to all fit into one drawer in my dresser, so we will see how that goes.
3- Clothes I Never Wear
This is another category that I keep “just in case.” Honestly, I’m getting to that point in my minimalism journey where I actually enjoy seeing empty spaces, so I think that it is about time that I got rid of those “just in case” clothes that I almost never wear.
I could see this being a hard thing to pin down though, considering that I do just mostly wear casual clothes like baggy t-shirts, athletic shorts, and leggings. I wouldn’t want to get rid of all of my clothes that aren’t in those categories however since there are times when they just aren’t appropriate. I think that it will come down to me finding a good balance on having enough of those other categories of clothes that I would be able to comfortably make a few outfits out of them, sort of like a mini capsule wardrobe.
4- Underwear and Socks
I don’t know how relatable this will be to you, but I’m not completely sure of what all I own for underwear or socks. I think that I cycle through some of the same pairs just because they are always on top. I know that there are some pairs that just need to be thrown out because they are in such disrepair, so I think that now is a good time for me to do some better organizing and weed out the undesirables.
I could see myself maybe getting into some trouble with this category as well, considering with socks that I have pairs for both the summer and for the colder months in winter. It’s hard sometimes to remember what you actually used in the wintertime when your brain is in summer mode, so I may not go as crazy with those pairs since I don’t want to end up with a sock shortage in the middle of a Midwestern winter.
I have this terrible habit of buying books with the full intention of reading them, and I almost never do. That or I buy a book that I have already read and it just sort of sits on my shelf as a kind of trophy. There are a lot of books that I have that I think could find much better homes and be better loved. My local library actually has a program where you can donate books that they will put on their shelves, which I think is just great. I’ve also found that when I check out a book from the library that I am 100 times more likely to read it cover to cover, probably because of the time constraint that is put on me.
I used to read all the time in elementary, middle, and high school, but not that I’m in college, the only thing that I really have time to read is my textbook and other assigned readings. I’ve tried to get into audiobooks but the format just doesn’t seem to work for me. It just makes me sad, but I think that I will have to donate most of my books. There are a few that I will be keeping just because of sentimental reasons, but there are not many.
I’m going to say it right now, I have too many bags for one person. I like cute bags and I find myself every year wanting to buy a cute new backpack even though the one that I have been using for over three years works perfectly fine for me. I have a Kavu bag that I use as my purse, but I still see cute handbags online and want to buy them. I have a great duffle bag that I pack when I go on trips but there are cute luggage sets I see in stores that I want to buy for when I finally get to travel the world. It is just a nagging sensation that lives in my head at all times. I still have some other bags in storage that I of course kept “just in case,” but obviously since they’ve been in storage for over a year and I never once used them, it means that it is time for them to go.
7- Expired or Unused Beauty Products
If it’s expired or you think it might be, get rid of it. It won’t do your skin any favors. If it’s a product that didn’t work for you or gave you a reaction, then why would you keep it in your cabinet keeping up space. Clean out the product and try and recycle the bottles if you can.
8- Anything Broke that Can’t Be Repaired
This is mostly for people with junk drawers in their house. It is called a junk drawer for a reason because it is full of junk. Go through it and get rid of anything that is broken and can’t be fixed and just unusable.
If you are anything like me, then you wear the same smartwatch and ponytails on your wrist, ring on your finger, earrings and necklace everyday. For me, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to have a ton of jewelry sitting in a box when I already wear the things that I like and work for my style.
This can be in the form of old receipts, notes that you wrote and have used, promotional coupons that are expired, junk mail \, and newspapers and magazines. After you’ve used it, get rid of it and recycle it.