Am I done with thrifting?

Minimalism for the maximalist

Baby, it’s a brand new year. Let’s hope that 2017 is rather better than 2016, hey? Although for me personally it was a magical year (my beloved and I finally tied the knot, and my beautiful new nephew arrived in to the world) it must have been a record for untimely icon departures and political disasters…

Anyway. Apart from optimism, January is also the time of year when we have that much-needed spring clean and clear the decks to begin another year fresh; swapping the wine for the juice, sprucing up the home. And it’s the perfect time to tell you about something I’ve been working on for a little while; an exercise in minimalism- within my wardrobe.

THE HOARDING

To put this in to context for you: I have been shopping second-hand since I was 13 years old. Thrifting, vintage, op-shops, whatever you want to call it, charity shops were my jam, my holy place, my addiction. In a lesser-known RSPCA shop, I am a Jedi. I know how to seek out the oft over-looked items and come up with vintage treasures. At one point I even worked part time in a charity shop and would leave at the end of the day with so much stuff I looked like I was leaving home. (Once a kind lady with a concerned expression even stopped in her car to offer me a lift: I was wearing a neon-coral 60s mod blazer, carrying a suitcase full of china under one arm and a mid-century footstool under the other, walking up a dirt track. I politely declined; I HAD this!).

Because these pieces were often so cheap I didn’t need to choose between which treasures to buy- I’d buy them all! I would periodically have an eBay clear out, but these funds would mostly be spent on new vintage, so the collection just kept mounting up.

To give you an idea of what I’m dealing with now; I have enough coats to fill two industrial clothes rails. That’s a lot of coats, even for someone who lives in the UK! Recently though I started to feel differently about the things in my wardrobe; I was less inspired and didn’t feel that these clothes represented me anymore. I also realised that my ideas about ownership and attachment had shifted somewhat; most of this amazing vintage didn’t mean anything to me; it had become noisy in my space and I was happily giving it away to friends.

And then something happened to me: I walked in to a charity shop, looked around at all the forlorn, half-loved things, thought ‘I can’t do this’ and turned around and walked out again. Crazy! Unheard of! I thought: Am I done with thrifting?!

START FROM SCRATCH

I decided to embark on swapping my mountain of unwanted, mainly thrifted possessions for a tighter selection of more considered pieces. I started going through my wardrobe, being ruthless and pulling out any pieces that I didn’t find inspiring or hadn’t worn in a long time. I went crazy on eBay and started selling. It worked like a swapping system; rather than shelling out for a whole new wardrobe, which would have felt both gluttonous and financially frivolous, the funds dropped in to my Paypal account from the sales and then went out again when I made my new considered purchases. I sought items that would be the perfect, definitive one; why have 20 handbags when you can have 2 perfect ones, right? No clutter, and no messing with anything less than The Ones.

Having coveted high end and independent fashion designers for EVER, I decided to start investing, opting for modern and timeless pieces which will coordinate with one another and are easy to wear. An edgy, minimal colour palette, these are rather different to the bright ‘retro’ pieces I’ve been selling, and I’ve been loving every minute of it. I’m still in the midst of the process and have a way to go still, but it’s been an extremely cathartic exercise. Packing up these unwanted items bit by bit every day and getting instant rewards in the form of space in my home, and really beautiful new objects in return has been addictive in its own way! I’m nowhere near to being a Hygge master, but I feel like this might be a move in the right direction, and treating myself to coveted items all at the same time. Perfect!

Stella McCartney Falabella Limited Edition sunglasses
I wrote a love letter article about Stella McCartney while back, basically creaming over these shades as the most badass and over-excessive sunglasses on the market. I can’t believe they are now MINE. In exchange I cleared out several pairs of well-loved but imperfect vintage shades, which I donated to charity.

Quite the wardrobe update, hey! If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know this is a notable departure from the intense colours and florals that I’ve been donning for some time. Right now I’m going for block colours, textures and quality materials. Although I’m still seeking out lesser known brands, much of these new items were sourced from stores like Monki Weekday and Cos for their quality, sculptural shapes and longevity. I love that they all go together- the more layered the better!

Radley Half Moon Clutch bag

Brought after a tip-off from hair stylist and vlogger Mary this black leather clutch is spacious enough for an evenings essentials, and universal enough to go with any outfit. I was drawn to its understated, luxurious feel and simplicity. Swapped for several tiny retro handbags, and a novelty fifties dress, which was languishing at the back of my wardrobe. (Psst! Its also now on sale!)

I’ve really been enjoying having the extra space in my wardrobe and having items which work better with one another, which feel more Me. I feel much lighter in my space too without unloved items cluttering up the place, and I don’t waste time and energy trying to hunt for something to wear in the mornings. Hello Zen mornings!

If you feel like you want to make your life a little simpler I highly recommend casting a critical eye over your wardrobe and either selling, swapping with friends or donating items to charity. Allow your space to breathe more and even make room for the stuff that you do want. I promise it’ll make you feel lighter, save you time getting dressed every day, and might even make you appreciate what you do have more.

Thanks for stopping by!

I’ve been so enjoying this process and this step towards minimalism – if you have any anti-hoarding tips for me please do let me know about them! For me this year feels like its about tying up loose ends and I feel like this is Phase One. There will always be a place for vintage in any good wardrobe, but right now I’m enjoying discovering designers in the now – and besides, that’s a whole other conversation!

BTW! The wardrobe clear out hasn’t finished yet so if you’ve ever admired any of my threads check out my eBay listings here or get in touch!