The Closet

It’s been four years since my fear of accumulating objects developed, and since then, downsizing has always been an itch I’ve only recently begun to scratch.

For whatever reason, I found that the easiest and most manageable place to start was my closet. There’s a reason why you don’t wear what you don’t wear, and it’s good to find those reasons out. For me, my clothes must be cozy and comfortable (and flattering!). I’ve been working on my closet for months now, and it’s finally at a point I’m happy with. I have downsized to around 35 articles of clothing. These pieces are all I need, for all seasons (which isn’t really saying much because I live in LA). I love every single piece, knowing that I am going to wear them and feel good in them. I’m still working on minimizing shoes, intimates, and accessories, but this is just the first step! 

Getting rid of clothes can actually be kind of fun. Here are some avenues I tried:

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POSHMARK
Poshmark is an iPhone app that makes it super simple to sell your clothes. All you have to do is take photos from your phone and fill out a form through the app. Once someone buys it, Poshmark emails you the postage. All you have to do is print the postage, box the item up and drop it off at the Post Office! I started selling in July, and since then have sold 8 items, and I’ve made just over $100. Name brands and trendy items tend to sell better here; I wouldn’t bother posting anything you feel is outdated.

PROS:
Super easy & user-friendly for posting listings & shipping sold items
You earn way more than at a local consignment shop

CONS:
It takes a while to sell if you don’t actively participate in their “community”
Poshmark takes 20% of your sales

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THREDUP
This is probably the easiest way, if you have a lot of clothes from well-known brands that are still good condition, but may be a bit out-dated in style (hey, someone might like it). They send you a “clean out bag” upon signing up. All you do is fill it up and send it back to them. So far, my experience with ThredUp has been mixed. I didn’t receive my “clean out bag,” until after notifying them. I sent it back mid-September with about 14 items of clothing/accessories, but it took until late-October to process. They accepted all my items, and I got $45 from it (probably the easiest $45 I’ve ever made)! I got super excited, but then found out it took another 2 weeks for the ‘cash-out’ to process…

PROS:
It’s an easy way to get rid of a lot of clothing at once
You don’t have to worry about selling pieces individually

CONS:
You don’t make that much per item
The process is still new, so everything still takes a long time

GIVE TO FRIENDS & DONATE
I ended up giving many of my clothes to friends, and donating them. Super easy, and goes to a good home. :)

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Towards a Minimal Lifestyle & an Open Heart

There are many reasons to lead a minimal lifestyle, or at least attempt to. You can google it, find lists of blogs, books, and what have you on why it is the thing to do. On these lists are people who have been jolted, stunned by the discovery of the lack of meaning in their lives, seared by some sort of traumatic experience of loss, or pushed by their precarious financial affairs. Each case is a different reason for pursuing a minimal lifestyle, and yet all have come to the age-old conclusion, less is more.

For me, this pursuit came about simply out of fear. Growing up, I casually collected things like movie stub tickets, stickers, letters, pop CDs, Pokemon cards, TY beanie babies, things like that. And as I went on my path towards being an artist, I collected inspirational material: books, cameras, magazine clippings, museum pamphlets, and so on. None of these collections were huge or compulsive; they were just things I would put aside to keep. Needless to say, I didn’t really have an issue with objects or things in the world.

During my third year of undergrad, I took some time off and spent a month in Taiwan. Half the time I was there, I stayed with my grandpa on his tree farm in the mountains of Nantou County. He had a small and humble house with only the bare necessities, where everything was kept neat and tidy at all times. It was a simple life, though it was far from being simplistic. After getting accustomed to my grandfather’s lifestyle, I went to visit my grandma (they split up in their 70’s). The house was one I frequently visited as a child. It was a two-storied building, with 10-15 rooms on each floor. As a kid, I found it fun to go exploring, but as an adult, I saw it as an empty nightmare. Rooms and rooms filled with antique Chinese beds, desks, and chairs collecting dust on my grandmother’s failed fantasy of one day opening a bed & breakfast joint. She pursued many of these failed fantasies and with each one came more objects. Piles of rocks that would someday be a part of an aquarium, tables and chairs that would someday be a part of a cafe, ceramics, knives, jars, chickens, and all sorts of other materials, all someday to be part of something bigger. The whole house seemed like a miscellaneous drawer, but each thing actually served a particular purpose in her larger scheme of things.

Here, I leave with this page from Christina and Charles (Sparkplug Comics, 2005) by Austin English:

“The tape was saying things like ‘God wants us to think of our hearts like a room. A good heart will let people and ideas and things come in on their own accord, and then let them leave whenever they please. A corrupted heart is a different kind of room: it’s full of cluttered thoughts and ideas and teeming with bodies and the door is locked.'”

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