Post-holiday purge & striving for minimalism

post-holiday purge & striving for minimalism

Every January, when the dust has settled from the holidays and the New Year has set in, I find myself itching to get rid of stuff.

Christmas tends to have that effect. New books! New clothes! And a few other things I don’t know what to do with that sit in little piles for weeks!

No more. The other day, still on a fresh-new-start high, I tackled the most overwhelming and neglected part of my home: my closet, where previously it looked like a bomb had gone off. I wish I had a before photo, but imagine shelves of wrinkled clothes arranged to resemble the long-forgotten bottom of a hamper and you’ve got the idea. But yesterday, I hauled off an impressive pile of clothes for donation and reorganized the rest. Now, there’s room to spare.

My closet was a big point of contention for me over the past few months. I literally dreaded opening up the closet in the mornings to see mostly old clothes showing their wear or the few newer items not on hangers and being stored poorly. I can’t tell you how many times I ended up rushing to work or school because I spent way too long searching for a decent outfit to wear.

In 2015, inspired by the concept of a capsule wardrobe, I won’t do a whole lot of clothes shopping. (I hardly did much in 2014, either.) But when I do, I plan to be much more selective with how I spend my money.

For me, that means higher-quality basics in neutral solids that are easy to pair and accessorize and that I know I’ll wear often. I won’t buy any piece of clothing that makes me think, “Yes, but what can I wear this with?” (I blame skirts for that predicament. I’ve never been good at skirts.)

Surprisingly, I’ve found the limitations of a small space and budget to be a good thing when it comes to stuff.

One of the benefits of living in a one-bedroom apartment is that you can’t amass too many things—it gets uncomfortable real fast. (And being on a grad student budget means I don’t ever shop out of boredom.) Sure, I’d love a big closet filled with beautiful things and rows and rows of built-in bookshelves that make it so I never have to part with a book, but I also want to be able to pick up and move on to the next big adventure without feeling overwhelmed if such an opportunity arrives. I’d rather treasure a handful of pieces I truly love than keep more things than I know what to do with. 

That’s why in my post-holiday purge, I won’t feel guilty casting a critical eye on the things I’ve held onto but hardly used for ages—or things I’ve recently acquired as gifts—that don’t serve a purpose or bring me joy. After all, it’s just stuff.

Next, I’d like to cull my book collection (just a little) and see what’s been shoved into the hall closet that can go to the curb.

Are you feeling a little crowded by your things? How do you decide what to get rid of or keep?