Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Clutter bug

I've really been thinking alot lately about stuff. Our belongings. Why we have what we do and why it's so hard to let go of.

Edward Norton in Fight Club

I've been thinking about this a lot because I want to move, and that might be abroad. Looking around my belongings it induced a panic: how could I travel with it all? But then I instantly felt even sillier at the idea of not achieving something I want to do with my life over things. At what point do the things we own begin to own us? I worried about things like my childhood toys, my trinkets from my travels abroad, photographs, old sketchbooks full of my work. What about my clothes, things I keep because I might decide I want to wear it one day and if I do I'll surely want to match it with that pair of shoes and that handbag that still has the tags attached. But all of these attachments are in my head. I know my artwork has progressed, I don't need to keep a stack of awful sketches I never look through to prove that to myself. I have my memories of the different countries I've visited and getting rid of that snowglobe isn't going to make me forget. Photos can be scanned and stored online where they won't take up any physical space and special ones placed in a scrapbook.

It's definitely easier to get rid of stuff with a goal in mind. Looking at something (even something I'm considering buying) I think to myself "Would I take it to ____?". Obviously I'm not going to get rid of everything, but it's very freeing to not feel so bagged down. And it's been an eye opener as to things I've collected that I genuinely like and things I don't. My record collection for example, there's not a single LP or 45 I want to get rid of because I've always so carefully considered all of my purchases and never bought an album just because (I do however have three different record players that need sorting out!). My vintage music merchandise collection is another: each item makes me smile and feel happy when I look at it, so shall be kept.

My wardrobe is what I'm most enjoying going through with an objective mindset, and also the biggest task. I'm guilty of buying things on a whim and then not knowing how to wear it, and keeping things just in case. I frequently forget what I own because I have no organisation to it all and end up feeling like I have nothing to wear whilst I stand in front of my three overflowing closets. Anna at October Rebel has quite a few posts about remixing items and inventorying clothes. I dug back through her archives and found this post particularly useful.

I will still be buying things (I'm very aware I have a recent haul post planned so I feel the need to stress this!). It's just more about carefully considering things before I make that purchase, something I've been doing already throughout this year because I knew it was good habits to get into. It's more than OK to own things and get pleasure out of material objects, it's just addressing that line of when things begin to hold you back and not becoming a hoarder.

I know this post is very different from the norm and I hope it makes sense and isn't complete word vomit, I just have a lot of feelings I wanted to get down. I'd really love to hear your own thoughts on this subject and any tips you may have (perhaps you've done this sort of thing yourself before) ♥


  1. Aw, thanks for the link love, and I'm so, so happy you found that post useful. I've been planning a updated version of it for the longest time.

    You make a great point in your first paragraph. It's especially hard for me to get rid of any old artwork or scribblings. I'm going to keep your wise words in mind, because this month I'll be helping my parents move, which means getting rid many sentimental things from my childhood. It's tough, but it's not worth being tied down by possessions.

    Also, I'm so glad you have a collection that makes you happy. I love seeing parts of it on your blog, and parts of your wardrobe.

    Thanks again! <3

  2. gah. this is perfect. that first paragraph is my life, right there. i've been secretly nursing this dream of the ultimate (and maybe never ending) road trip. just me, my dog and maybe a sister or two in a hippie van or winnebago camper, going where the wind blows. but i have SO MUCH STUFF. and i'm always pairing it down, but always bringing new stuff home. this past spring i got rid of a LOT and that makes me feel so much better. but even now there is just no way. i'm working on that.

  3. I have so much stuff too! Even things I never look at I still feel some sort of odd attachment to. Especially old artwork! I'm trying to work up the courage to maybe scan them into my computer and just toss the hard copies away.. But it's tough!

  4. I totally agree with everything you said and i love throwing stuff out, BUT I too easily attach memories or sentiment to the wrong things and end up keeping them for a while too long. My only option in that instance is to put them away and when the mood comes around to clean things out I go to that box or bag or stuff and usually everything goes. That's the only way i've been able to completely remove things out of my life that i would otherwise pine over. I still have all my interior design work in the garage literally covered in dirt and dust and maybe when we move house ill chuck it all out. I hate going down there!


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