Sunday, 29 January 2012

Carbooting My Life

For years I have collected so many things- unnecessary things and kept things that I did not really need. I don't really know if this is hoarding behaviour or whether it is out right consumerism, purchasing to excess of what I need, perhaps a little of both, but it is something that is unhelpful in my life. I live in mess/chaos because of all of my things, as I just do not have enough room to store everything- shoes spilling over everywhere, clothes bursting out of draws and off rails. It takes me at least two cars to pack my personal belongings into whenever I move (which has been more than every year more recently) and this leads to much stress, particularly as I will pack and unpack things that I will never use or wear as I travel from place to place. However, despite my feelings now, having all these things has been a real comfort to me for years. I wonder why this is. Do we really need so many 'things' around us to make us feel happy?

In recent years, I have tried to put a ban on myself buying new things, particularly clothes and shoes off the high street because of the sheer amount of 'things' I have bought over the years and now I am starting to I feel like I want to free myself from all these belongings in an ethical way.

Take my friend A for instance, who can fit all his belongings into a holdall and large rucksack. When he is travelling, he takes what he needs in his rucksack, and leaves the holdall with someone to keep safe. When questioning him on how he has so much little stuff (I was completely shocked when he disclosed this fact), he merely replied 'why would I need anymore?' And he's right! I am completely envious that he can live this way. It seems so stark but at the same time, to me, this signifies freedom!

My solution to the problem of feeling weighed down with so many things is to be ruthless! I have found it very difficult as I hate parting with things but I know this has to be done. So the ethical way to approach this? Well I'm certainly not throwing away, but I am doing this:
  • Ebay all the things I don't need, wear or use- so that someone else can get some use out of them and I can save some money for future plans.
  • I am going to give some things to a local charity shop- charity shops have helped me find some fabulous things over the years, so it's my turn to give back!
  • Perhaps even have a car boot sale when it's warm!

I have a few ideas of what I'd like to do, such as building an ethical capsule wardrobe rather than having huge amounts of clothes, some of which rarely see daylight. I'd like to travel, so it'd be helpful to figure out what the core things I need are in life so that I can (temporarily) live from a (very large) rucksack. I would like to break my consumerist ways and realise that things aren't really what make you happy, so I don't need to buy and hoard, but I need to spend more time with the people I love and have experiences which I can always treasure.

I don't think I'll ever be living out of a rucksack and a holdall, I have too many sentimental things that I have collected over the years that I certainly wont be getting rid of! But I'd be happy with a rucksack, a suitcase and a few extra boxes!


  1. I always have ebay clear-outs! I love making way for new clothes.. I've always wanted to throw a clothes swapping party as well.. I shall have to get round to organising it sometime! xx

  2. Well done for making the commitment to declutter. I spent the past few weekends helping my in-laws clear away a lifetime of 'things', so that they can move house. It really gets out of hand if you don't keep whittling away. I agree with you, keep the treasures and get rid of the rest. There is nothing better than a good clear out for making you feel a whole lot lighter! I hope it goes well!!

  3. I read your blog with interest, but it's the first time I comment.

    For me the turning point to appreciate how life is so much more fun and yes liberating too by owning a lot less, is when I decided to not buy any new clothes for a whole year.

    Not only I realised how easy was to avoid going into town shopping for a quick pick-me-up fix, but I found new uses of all the things I already owned. I bought some little things from charity shops but probably donated more back than I ever done before.

    It was the best thing I ever did. It started to make me seriously question 'fashion' and be determined to buy very little but of excellent quality (so to last me many many years) and of certified ethical origins.

    Good luck in your change too!

  4. A clothes swapping party could be a fun event for friends that would fit with your ethics. That way you might pick up some essentials for your capsule wardrobe.