Ever since the start of the new year, I have felt a strong desire to simplify my life–by life, I mainly mean my environment, but it extends to other facets as well. I have always been, regrettably, somewhat of a materialist. I like buying and owning things, especially nice things. Since I started my first real job out of college about a year and a half ago, I have managed to accumulate an incredible amount of clothes, shoes, make-up, skincare, and other miscellaneous items for the apartment. Some of these things I continue to value, but to be honest with myself, I could have done without half of them.
The act of buying things with my own, hard-earned money was almost exhilarating in the beginning. I was, for the first time, financially independent. School hadn’t prepared me for that, so I learned how to handle money my own way. More than that, I truly believed that I needed all these things; my professional job justified the $50 blouses from Zara, when in reality my supervisors don’t really care what I wear so long as I don’t look like a hooligan. My biggest indulgence was my personal trainer–I think I purchased 30 sessions before coming to terms with the fact that I had bit off more debt than I could chew.
In the past month or so, I have made a conscious effort to cut down on spending and de-clutter my life. I have scrutinized my closet with a critical eye and dropped off several bags of unused or outdated items at Goodwill. I organized all my make-up and skincare and threw out old products that weren’t quite empty, but I knew I’d never finish. I tackled the 2 most cluttered surfaces of the apartment, the dining table and coffee table, and dumped all the non-discardable items into one decorative basket, which I then tucked away in a corner, keeping the clutter out of sight and out of mind. Last weekend, I cleaned the apartment more thoroughly than it has ever been cleaned and made a vow to dedicate more time to cleaning every weekend. And so on.
Maybe I’m weird, but the act of de-cluttering and simplifying my life has felt almost euphoric. It certainly beats the temporary highs of making a purchase and opening a new package. It’s an ongoing process, and I’m continuing to find items to get rid of or downsize. When I consider a new purchase, I pause to think about where the item will be stored, or what it’s going to replace. The latter is a good rule to live by; rather than simply accruing new things, I’m aiming to replace the things I have for something better, whether it’s more visually appealing, higher quality, or more practical. In all, it’s been a solid start to 2018 in this household.