Plenty of people are surprised to hear that I change my entire wardrobe once a year and that I can fit all of it in one suitcase. The truth is, ever since I started traveling and living abroad I have been owning less and less things. My goal is to own even less than I have now and I will try to explain you here why that is so and why I think you could put to use some of my advices.
- Discovery: A week only has 7 days.
Surprise, surprise. That actually means that you only need five clothing combinations per week! For weekend you may need one for going out and one for sports. The rest of the time you will be in your PJs/house clothes so need to be extra-super-fashionable at home (though if you wish, by all means). But the real revelation is that whether in professional or academic environment, you only really have five days to alternate your clothing. You can choose to wear every day something head-to-toe different, but chances are you will repeat the pants you wore once, maybe even a skirt or a shirt. My point is this: what’s with that tenth yellow shirt you bought? Unless you are an aspiring fashionista (again, all power to you), chances are you won’t be wearing all of them this spring. You will probably alternate the two of your favourites and then complain that you don’t have anything to wear but still you don’t want to wear “that one” because it makes you look “unsocial” or what not. Stop buying things!
- Discovery: stuff doesn’t make you happy, you make yourself happy
I am full of wisdom today. The truth is, you get attached to things, but things never get attached to you. As Marie Kondo talks about in her book about tidying up (never actually read the book but heard people talk about it): Does this item spark joy? – I grasped that this is the main idea behind her book. I fully agree – if you own some item “just because” or even if it was a present but you don’t really know what to do with it – is there a point in keeping it? I let go of soo many (always dusty) souvenirs that I just kept piling up and now they completely lost any emotional value to me. Especially when I realised it is me who is adding the emotional component to them. Don’t get attached!
- Discovery: panta rei. Re-cycle and recycle
Everything is in constant motion. I buy clothes, wear it for few months and then donate it or recycle it appropriate places. I buy magazines, read them and recycle them immediately. If there are some visuals and articles that I find particularly special, I cut them out and create an art journal (more about that here ). I recycle everything I can and it actually makes me feel better. Not just because of the ecological significance of such acts (and believe me, it is important) but what it does to my spirit: it cleanses me and immediately releases any blocked energy. Recycle!
- Discovery: I don’t save anything because I don’t have anyone to save it for.
My friend was appalled to hear that I donate/recycle so many fashion items. “But don’t you feel bad about getting rid of them?” Ehm NO. I understand the circle of life and how things are and always will be in constant motion. There is no point in me holding on to that dress from ten years ago thinking I might wear it again. If I had that intention, I would have already done it. Some people say you should get rid of anything you didn’t wear in a year; I am more radical. If I didn’t wear it in the past month or two (and it is in that season), I am getting rid of it. Of course, very soon I see even nicer things in stores and for affordable prices so if I need it, I buy it. But if it doesn’t fit into my “five outfits per week schedule” it’s not going home with me.
So there you have it. My little piece of wisdom why having less means having more – not in material sense but in your perception. Fewer things to carry around equals more freedom to move without crunching your back because of your heavy luggage. Less clothes equals less choices and therefore quicker and simpler decisions. Less makeup – I have two looks that I wear. “Daily Tina” – which is a simple, au naturel look (which I show you how you can achieve it 5 minutes here ) and “Party Tina” which is more accented look with bolder colours. Both of them I achieve with less than 10 products.
Marketing is making you believe that you need ten products to nourish your skin, 100 different heels (thanks Carrie Bradshaw, I am not buying that one) and numerous and numerous pieces of clothing most of which you will never actually wear or you will be stuck with them after its trendy season passes. Don’t listen to those stories. Try and throw something out today, I challenge you! You will see how you will feel better and will need less and less things. Hopefully that leads to having less and less stress, less toxic relationships and less worrying. Simplicity is key, guys.