I gather clutter! However, I am happy to say I have tailored the purchasing habits I developed years ago when consumerism boomed and we had to have it all. It has taken some time to declutter and I thank my travels for helping me to finally think about changing my ways.
When you travel you have to survive on less. The excitement of coming home and having a drawer full of socks and underwear to choose from does not last long when I view the pile of washing that has accumulated in the basket in the corner of my bedroom. The task of washing your clothes carefully by hand every other day was an easier job than you may think. I actually enjoyed it and my clothes seemed to last longer. Washing the living daylights out of our clothes is actually not so good for them. Letting them de-fluff in a tumble dryer will make them thinner over time and as we all know, the quality of the fabric is not what it used to be due to fast fashion practices.
The brilliant backpack.
The item that forces you to pack the clothes you only need. You wonder how you are going to survive on so few items. But you do.
Remember packing a large suitcase for a two-week holiday, and wearing only half of what you dragged on your journey halfway across the planet.
Traveling for long periods taught me new skills and this was one. How to survive on less and not stress, helped by the airlines who now charge extortionate prices for baggage, often nearly as much as the airline ticket itself. Encouraged to condense my clothes and stuff into one rucksack to keep the cost down was training me for a new way of thinking.
Backpacking teaches you to be conscious of what you need to carry around and clothes that you can easily roll up without creasing became my go-to items. Scarves were brilliant to dress up a plain black tee shirt as an evening wrap and could double up as beach wraps or headscarves. I had my favorites, mostly purchased in Thailand. This consciousness became a money saver. I was learning to walk past clothing shops and say to myself, ‘I cannot buy that, I have no room. This has now become a habit.
Back home I wander around our local shopping center and subconsciously think ‘DO I REALLY NEED THIS‘ Of course I don’t. I look in my half-empty wardrobe and sigh, I have nothing to wear. Not because I do not have enough but because I have put on a few pounds since returning from my travels – now that is another story. Should I run out and buy some bigger clothes? Do I need them? The inner voice says no. There is nothing wrong with the clothes that you have. What the issue here is, you need to get them to fit you.
I tell myself, If I want to save the planet and buy less, I need to eat less.
Less is More
So they say, and it is true. It declutters your thinking. Today we are surrounded by this advice. Eat less meat, buy less plastic, stay indoors!!!!!! The Pandemic has also made us prioritize unless, of course, you are using this extra home time to scroll through Amazon, keeping Jeff Bezos comfortable with his millions.
Stepping off this circle of want – helps us to see the important things that matter. We learn to prioritize and look at the stuff that really makes us happy. Retail therapy, is the biggest lie. It is a dopamine shot and short-lived.
Purchasing habits are changing and retailers are facing a revolution of conscious consumers, silently waving banners, looking for less but with sustainability. Many of us want the things that we buy to have value or not at all. Personally, I want them to stop waving bargains of cheap shit in front of my face. I do not need it nor do I want it cluttering up my cupboards.
As I learn to stop replacing my clutter with more clutter I begin to see the things around me that have true value. They are there remaining proud, standing up to the test of time, and I am sending less to the landfills. This makes me feel good longer than the dopamine shot of retail therapy.
Buy local where you can,
Why should this de-stress you? because as you help your local community you learn to appreciate what is on your doorstep. Support your local. When you buy locally grown organic food, you tend to eat it all because you have paid more. I used to throw away packs of cheap veg I had bought in the supermarket. The large bag of carrots I bought for 1.50 slowly would go rotten because I could not use it all. A complete waste of money. I would rather buy 5 organic ones for the same price. It is often a false economy to buy cheap. I have also started to seek out local people who can knit and sew. I would rather give them work to create something special than trail around Primark for a cheap jumper. My mum used to do this and our jumpers would work their way down our family as hand-me-downs. Lasting a long time.
It is not easy to change.
But it is possible. Sometimes our life changes are forced on us without us consciously being aware. My rucksack sitting in the corner of my cupboard has a lot to answer for. My travels taught me so much which I am truly grateful for. I can see that now.
The best changes happen that way and the stress of clearing my clutter diminishes leaving me to focus on the important things in life.
Have a lovely week and share your thoughts.