A lot of times on this blog I talk about categories in my life that I have decluttered with success and how I feel so good afterwards because of it. What I, and I think most minimalists, rarely talk about are the areas in our life where we have problems decluttering. As I was organizing and packing to get ready to go back to school, there were definitely a few areas that I have had this issue with, and I think that it is healthy for me to talk about them to you guys. I never want to come across on here as being the perfect minimalist or the perfect zero waster, because I’m not. I make mistakes all the time, and I learn from them in order to move on and make better choices the next time around.
A lot of these categories come from my closet, just because that is probably the one place that I have the hardest time letting go of stuff. A majority of the time I get in the “just in case” mindset, which I know is a trap that so many of us get into when it comes to our clothes, but I also think another hard hurdle to get over is the amount of money spent on some of the items in my closet, and even though I have gotten a considerable amount of wear out of them, I just can’t seem to remove the price tag from the equation.
Don’t get me wrong, I have made considerable progress with my closet compared to when I was in high school, but I am still nowhere near where I would like to be. So here are some categories that I need to work on decluttering.
Sometimes I truly believe that the stereotype of girls and shoes is well deserved, because I have way too many shoes that I don’t wear on a regular basis, but I just can’t seem to get rid of many of them. Since having what I would consider a “grown-up job” (8 hour desk job) for a majority of the summer, I have appreciated having a larger selection in the shoes I could wear with my outfits. Here is a list of what I have for shoes now:
- White Nikes
- Grey Tom Sneakers
- Navy Converse
- Tan Sperry’s
- Black boots
- Brown boots
- White dressier sandals
- Chaco sandals
- Nike flip flops
Now to some of you nine pairs of shoes is almost unheard of, but to me, I just feel like it is too many, but I also can’t bring myself to get rid of any of them. I could probably get away with donating the Nike flip flops, since my Chacos basically serve every function that they do just better. I also used to have two pairs of Sperry’s, but just recently ended up donating my navy pair that I had and wore for three years. I just found myself not wearing them as much as the tan ones and I also found them to be a little too snug for my liking.
I think that I rationalize having all of these shoes because they all serve a function in my wardrobe. One that doesn’t really fit my wardrobe anymore, but I cannot bring myself to donate are my navy hi-top Converse. I was so excited when I finally got these, but I just don’t wear them enough to rationalize keeping them. Converse cost over $50 and since I haven’t really worn them at all, they are like new, so I guess giving them away would really make me feel guilty in a way. I’m trying my hardest to get down to just 5 pairs of shoes, but I don’t know when or if that will happen.
One of the first times I went thrifting, I thought that it would be a good idea to go through the dress racks and try and find dresses that I could wear to weddings (I’m getting to the age where almost everyone I know is getting engaged) in the future but also dresses that I could wear for work attire. I think I ended up coming out with around five dresses and I haven’t really had any opportunities to wear them yet. My current job for the summer has a pretty relaxed business casual dress code, which I just normally wear slacks and a nice blouse with. On occasion I will wear a t-shirt dress, but I don’t feel comfortable wearing some of the dresses that I got since they are for more professional business settings. I think that I could maybe get rid of a few of them, just because of fit and length to start off with, but I’m just so afraid of giving away too many and then not having anything to wear when I do get that job after graduation. I think a huge key to getting rid of some of these is to just try them all on, and if I don’t feel good or confident in them, give it away.
The bane of my existence is all of my unused art supplies. I feel as though I can’t give this stuff away just because of the sheer fact that most of it is already half used. I thought that I could just try and use up most of it this summer, but I hated almost everything that I forced myself to make. I’m lucky enough that my sister is also an artist, so I could try and see if I have anything that she may want or need. She is honestly the better artist and will use all that stuff way more frequently than I do, so perhaps that is worth a shot.
The real problem in this category is just the amount of sketch books and paper that I have, and so much of it is not used. I don’t want to throw it away because that just contributes to our waste problem, so perhaps I could find a recycler that will take it off my hands.
I counted, and I only have 16 t-shirts in my drawer at the moment, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it does to me when I think of all of the minimalists out there with less than 5 shirts total. Shirts are hard for me to give away just because of the fact that I’m at that point in life where I don’t buy a t-shirt that I don’t like. For the most part, I wear all of my shirts an equal amount, so there are no real outliers there. I think I can just help myself out by not buying anymore t-shirts because I have no need for more. The problem is that I’m still in college, and free t-shirts are just about everywhere you go.
I have taken all of my t-shirts from high school, and some of my older college t-shirts, and put them in their own little totes in my closet because I really want to get them made and repurposed into t-shirt quilts. Part of me wants to do it myself, but I also know a few people that could make one for me if I paid them to.
I’ve talked a bit about my small swimsuit collection before, but now I think that if I were to go back through, I could get rid of all but three, which is actually a really good thing for me. This year, I found that I went back to the same swimsuits every time I needed one, and I didn’t even wear some of the ones that I thought I would. So I think that before I go back to school that I could really make some progress in this category, and I will just have to restrain myself in the spring next year to not buy any new swimsuits.
This is another category where I think I have rationalized needing a lot of something because it’s just more convenient. If you didn’t know, I got into weight lifting this past year, and I went from almost never exercising, to hitting the gym 5 days a week. I’m also that person who owns shorts that are specifically for sleeping in. Usually I only do my laundry once every week or so, so I don’t think I could ever be that person who only owns two pairs of leggings and two pairs of shorts, but I think that I could maybe go down to where I have less than 10 items in each category. It’s just hard for me to do because like with my t-shirts, I like everything that I’ve bought for myself, so I think that there is going to be some hard decisions made when it comes to decluttering this category.