It's funny how the first part of your life seems to be spent collecting things, and the later part getting rid of them. Well that's how it feels for me anyway.
I live quite minimally day to day but over the years I've still managed to accumulate a lot of stuff that I don't really use. It's always that thought of, 'maybe it will come in useful one day so I will hold onto it', and sometimes it will do but more often than not it's stuff I haven't used in the last 10 years so will I ever?
At uni I studied fashion design and afterwards spent the next 9 years designing clothes for highstreet brands. A couple of times a year I would get to go on shopping trips to some amazing places: LA, Tokyo, Portland and Seoul and would have the opportunity to trawl through endless vintage shops, picking up unique pieces wherever I went. At uni we used to traipse though the charity shops of Surbiton on the hunt for cheap and quirky pieces, most probably donated from grannies wardrobes. Most of it I wore regularly back in the day, particularly at art school when I was more experimental with my appearance. These days I just tend to keep it simple what with being a new mother and having to hoick my top up to breastfeed every couple of hours, perhaps clothing plays more of a functional role now.
These clothes have slowly been building up in our loft, out of sight and out of mind. I seem to have a lifetime of garments up there; old school uniforms, going out tops I used to wear clubbing when I was 18 (or more like 16!), and a pink polyester outfit from my 13th birthday party. And then there's all the nicer vintage pieces from my travels; silk 1950’s prom dresses, Laura Ashley grungy pieces from the 90’s, fully sequinned disco tops from 80's…. the list goes on. I have held onto many of them because they remind me of a time, perhaps an event or just a phase in my life. For some of them, they are just amazing pieces of vintage clothing which I appreciate and will never find again. But as nice as it is to own this collection, there comes a point where if I want to live minimally I can't have piles of stuff in the loft that I never even look at.
For the last few years I have been reading the Minimalism.life blog and have been inspired to make changes of my own. The idea behind minimalism is not to shed all of your belongings, but to make the ones you do have purposeful. To quote William Morris, ‘have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or beautiful.’ In the case of these clothes, they no longer ticked either of these boxes and actually they were just getting in worse condition by staying up there. There are some bits which I still really love and can't bear to get rid of.... a 1980s power suit by designer Thierry Mugler and a bridesmaid dress I made myself for my friends wedding. So for now I want to hold onto a few of these special pieces and will re-look at them in a few years time to see if my views have changed.
I've been making the most of my time sat breastfeeding listing all of the items on eBay so that someone else can enjoy them. So far we've made £778 just in the last couple of months, the biggest sale being my university dress mannequin which fetched £400. Some pieces have sold for just £1.99, others a respectable £10, but even the small sales add up to a bigger number and the important thing is that we're clearing stuff out that we don't even use.
Every time I take something to the post office I feel a little bit more cleansed, like my mind is a tiny bit emptier now that I'm making more space. We've still got another 30 things listed on eBay scheduled to sell very soon, and there's another pile of stuff to go up when I get a chance. It is a bit of effort but 100% worth it when you're making money sitting on your sofa, all the while minimising your belongings to those you really care about.
(so you can find it again later)