Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Decluttering, panning, and resisting the urge to fill my drawers back up

I've been talking here and there about my decluttering lately, but I finally decided to dedicate a post to it, since I've been doing so much of it this year. In the past, I have found that when I'm confronted with huge life changes, I turn to my possessions and try to get rid of a whole bunch of them. Since this is like the third or fourth time I've felt that itch, and I've moved several times in the last six years, I kind of don't have a ton of stuff to chuck. I picked through my office supply drawer half-heartedly and tossed a handful of pens that I hated, and realized that I need more printer paper and that while it's a disorganized disaster, nothing needed to go. I moved onto my night table. I tossed a few bits, and then realized that I needed the rest of it, including the four bottles of eye drops and three kinds of lens cleaner (and that I have no saline). I sorted through my wardrobe and found several things to donate and several others to toss, but that did not sate my need to vanquish things. So turned on my beauty collection - which, while I had done some earlier destashing, could still use some work. 

I still haven't read Marie Kondo's book, though it's sitting on my Kindle, waiting for me to make a decision about it. I have a vague idea of what it's about, and I already tended to follow the idea of keeping things that make me happy, so do I need to read it? We shall see. I did just pick up more books this weekend (no, I have not weeded my personal book collection. There are some lines you don't cross) so it may be bumped down the list again. I do know that I tend to go about decluttering in a haphazard, impetuous kind of way, which is not exactly prescribed. I tend to declutter whatever I feel like, when the mood strikes me, and it is never systematic - I have been known to start dealing with something, gotten up, found something else to clean and then come back hours later to see the half-done. 

You know, for a person who has chosen to make organization [of information] part of her life's work, sometimes I'm very bad at it.

I started on this particular decluttering kick earlier than I might have due to two kinds of reading I've been doing: reading/participating in /r/MakeupRehab, a cheekily named community that focuses on reducing consumption and supports those who want to move away from the buy buy buy mentality of many communities (a mindset that I have fallen prey to before, but thankfully am moving away from) and talk about using products; and the proliferation of declutttering/reducing/general thoughts about consumption cropping up in a host of blogs that I read. It's hard not to read a post about minimalism or decluttering and then turn around and look at all of your stuff and vow to do better. Acquire less stuff! Get rid of stuff! Appreciate your stuff!

I have a lot of justifications for why I have so much stuff, including the fact that I don't really have that much stuff. I presently live in a 531 square foot apartment. This would probably be a great size if it was just me, but I live with my partner, who also happens to own things, and as a consequence, our apartment constantly looks cluttered. We are fortunate enough to have a storage closet as part of our apartment, but it can only hide the truly unsightly things like suitcases and Rubbermaid totes that we insist upon keeping because we know we're going to move again and his bike and my tools and reusable grocery bags. It doesn't hide all of the unsightly things, though - we had to jam his hockey bag under the futon in our living room. We try to keep it neat, but the inner workings of our lives are out in the open. 

Having both been students until a few weeks ago, we also suffer a bit from big kid purchase envy: most of the people we went to high school with have jobs and houses and cars and often kids. They have been living real adult lives, whereas we're trying to get ours off the ground. So while I can't afford a nice living room (also I don't have anywhere to put a coffee table), I can afford a lipstick. It's a soothing kind of solace: yes, I may not have a car, but I have this awesome lipstick. 

But that's a pretty bad reason to have a ton of beauty products that I don't use as often as I should.

I am loathe to start trying to pan things - I have in the past, and it generally sucks all enjoyment out of using my products. I strongly considered snapping my Urban Decay 24/7 pencil line in half so I wouldn't have to deal with it anymore. I hate my mini Tarte blush in Thankful now because I tried to make a concerted effort to use it every day. For me, beauty is fun. It's not supposed to be a chore. I'd much rather toss something and punish myself that way than slog through a product just for the sake of using it up. Of course, I prefer to reduce waste and would rather not do that, but I hate panning and I doubt I will change on that front. 

I prefer to reduce by purging, selling, giving things away and organically using them up. I've reduced my collection considerably since the beginning of the year, bringing down the makeup by half, and perfume down to two-thirds of what it used to be. I still have a lot of stuff, but it's not overwhelming me, and I might actually finish it in this lifetime. But all of this reduction has left me with another problem: I now have space in my makeshift vanity. Space for things. Space demands to be filled. It's not as hard I thought to resist the siren call of that free space - I like to keep things spread out so that I can see them, and so that has been helping me resist, plus the more concrete reasons that I don't want to accumulate more things just for the sake of having things: potentially moving at some point in the not so distant future, I don't need anything else, my no-buy, and the fact that I just feel tired with beauty right now. I mean, I still love it, but panning stuff and my ongoing vision issues have not been conducive to having as much fun with makeup as I typically do. Just one of those ebbs. 

I hope to return to enjoying beauty as much as I have in the past soon, and I hope, that by reducing my overwhelming choice, I will be happier with what I have.

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