|August Personal Pictures: the repaired 2010 watch, apple & cinammon dessert on seldom used plate, sashimi lunch, ingredients from food stock to prepare hummus|
Two months after the start of my shopping fast, I found myself paying much more attention to my collection of items, since buying new things is out of the picture. Even so soon after the start of the experiment, I already noticed some changes in how I consider and treat my possessions. Here are some ideas on how I've been working on making the most of what I own and reducing the need for new purchases.
Another Editing roundOne of the first changes I noticed, a few weeks into the shopping fast, is how I started reorganizing my living space. As many minimalists would say, organizing is not decluttering, and the best way to have a more streamlined interior is to start with getting rid of the unessential, before organizing the rest.
First suprise: there was quite a bit of clutter to get rid of after all. Two years after moving into this small appartment with only a selection of necessities (my cellar in Lyon is still full of the unessential, so much for minimalism), clutter had already started to creep in: from a stock of shower gels, body creams and other beauty products in the bathroom to airport bought and read books, tea mugs, restaurant cards, holed pyjamas...
I think maintaining a simple interior is a long term affair, with a regular need to check and update things. So, in the middle of the month of August, among the empty city of Paris, here I was, decluttering again. At some point, I wondered if it didn't defeat the purpose of making the most of the "use" part of the consumerist cycle, so I ended up giving a second chance to quite a few things.
Improved OrganizationThat's where surprise number 2 came in. Since I was determined to own only what I use, but also use everything I own, I found myself reorganizing the space so that I could reach my items more easily when I needed them. Here are a few examples of new organization :
- I reunited all the teas in the same two drawers, just below the kettle, near the tea pot and mugs
- I checked my bathroom cabinet and separated daily used items, weekly used ones and stock - the daily ones all came out, visible and easy to reach (including all jewelry options for example), the weekly ones got reunited in an easy to reach box, and the stock was stored in the lowest shelf, harder to see and reach
- I did the same for the kitchen cabinets - got rid of expired stuff, stored the extra sets i'm not using without guests on the unreachable top shelf...
- Evening books got stored near my bed, video games near the Xbox 360, and my diary and other notebooks in a drawer of the table I actually write on
I didn't make any big changes as my small interior doesn't allow for much furniture shuffling, but I basically stored the items within reach of wherever it is I am using them. I actually saw a difference: what I can see and reach, I use.
Last week, I got the batteries of my 2010 watch replaced. I love that watch, a Valentine present from my fiancé at the time he was living in Tokyo. It took me five minutes and ten euros to have the battery replaced at the BHV, but I hadn't done it in over a year.
Finally, I found myself taking better care of my items, even though I've always been careful overall. I bought proper anti-moth products and treated my closet, followed some instructions on how to properly store winter items away, bought a leather nourishing cream and started treating my leather stuff (shoes, belts, jackets and bags) one by one, went through my plants and salvaged those I still could, found a proper box for my chargers and batteries instead of letting them lay around and be stepped on...
The Value of my ItemsThe consumerist society makes us focus on what to buy next, we tend to lose interest in what we have bought in the past very quickly, as if it lost its value, compared to the attraction of new things. Of course, we always have old favourites, sentimental pieces, but overall, the idea of a new item takes over making the most of our current collection of items.
And that's suprise number 3: the shopping fast quickly rekindled interest in many of my items. I think that's why I've found myself reorganizing and caring for my stuff. I have a much better rotation of jewelry, even those gifts that I wouldn't necessarily have chosen myself, the latest books I have read had been sitting, bought and unread, for weeks on my shelf. I unearthed old pieces of decoration and wear long unworn items of clothing.
It is as if the shopping fast, and cutting myself from cultivating wishlists and purchase intents, had given more place to my current items, finding more gratitude for what I have instead of wishing for what I don't. Let's see how that feeling lasts in the upcoming months.
What's Next?The period I'm the most worried about, failure-wise, is the arrival of Autumn collections in the shops, both clothing and decoration. I like this new season so much, I've been keen on buying a couple of new things in earthy colours on that period.
This year though, there is nothing new floating in my mind yet. Instead, I'm so eager to dig out my Totoro in autumn leaves piece of decoration, my cashmere knits, plum skinny jeans, heavy scarves, gloves and low boots. I have orange candles in my stock and tons of Autumn outfits in my head. This time, instead of being "dreamed outfits" made of wished items, they are very much possible outfits from everything I already own.
Is it the beginning of a change of mindset, a stronger focus on the value of what I own? Only time will tell, as we go through my favourite season full of temptations. What about you? Are you eager to dig out your next seasonal pieces or still lingering in the current season?