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Stuffocation: What happened when I realized I had too much stuff

Stuffocation: What happened when I realized I had too much stuff

I started decluttering our apartment around two years ago.

When my fiance and I moved to our unfurnished apartment we didn’t have a bed, a sofa or a dining table. We bought a mattress which we slept in for around six months and we had a TV on a mini stand and a PS4. The white goods were provided by the landlord and we had the basic kitchen tools but other than that, the majority of our stuff consisted of clothes and by that I mean, ‘my clothes’.

My fiance doesn’t have many clothes and I find this quite a common thing for most men. One of the reasons I sometimes wish I was a man is because I feel that men can dress simply and look smart. They only need 3-5 pairs of shoes to go with most if not every outfit in their wardrobe whereas the same can’t be said for women. A woman can have a hundred pairs of shoes and a hundred dresses and some would still say ‘I have nothing to wear.’ I was this woman. I had too many shoes. I had too many clothes but I still felt like I had nothing to wear.

As time went by, our apartment started to look normal. Define ‘normal’? Well, I thought a normal house consisted of sofas for guests (who never came to visit because we always went out to restaurants and cafes) and wardrobes to store our clothes (we hardly wore). We bought four additional large fabric/plastic wardrobes and I filled them up with the clothes I kept in boxes. As we filled our space with stuff, I started to feel suffocated. The rooms became darker and smaller. I started organising my clothes every Sunday in an attempt to clean and organize our space. I would spend all day folding and re-folding clothes every week. I did this for months and I still found nothing to wear. I felt weird inside and I thought I had no sense of style because I preferred my plain black clothes more than anything else in my wardrobe. The space still felt cluttered and no matter how much I folded, I still felt heavy and suffocated at home.

English weather is not the greatest. It’s always dark, damp and cold so I tend to go for black jeans, black or grey turtle neck jumpers and black or tan Chelsea boots almost everyday. We don’t even have nice summers anymore so I remember packing my summer clothes away. It was when I looked at all the colourful summer dresses I owned that I realized that I had kept so many clothes from nine to ten years ago and I paused for a moment. I took all the clothes out of the wardrobe and dumped them all on the floor.

I found clothes from 2010/2011 which were pieces I wore back when I was still a university student. They reminded me of good times. I was overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I had- stuff I don’t use. I had party dresses from the early 2000’s, gym wear, and dresses I wore for shows when I used to sing. I also found some designer pieces and some unbranded ones. Going through them all made me feel slightly concerned. I didn’t know what to do with all the stuff I had but I also felt terrible about giving them away.

They say you should never regret anything in life but I regretted wasting my money and time on all this stuff. Instead of spending time focusing on more important things, like most people, my main past time was shopping.

I thought about the money I wasted on buying these clothes. I knew that organising my clothes didn’t make my space cleaner or brighter. After the 20th Sunday I spent organising my possessions, I finally understood that no matter how many times I re-fold all my clothes and tidy up my cupboards, all the stuff I had would still end up as unused clutter in my home. I felt that they were just a burden for me to constantly carry. I knew I had to let them go because I started to beat myself up about it. I had to do something to move forward so I packed them all in large bin bags and decided that I would be donating them all to charity stores.

But I paused again, and I took some stuff out of the bin bags because I thought, ‘I’ll keep this for now. Maybe I will wear this again someday…’

But I knew I had to be strong and I had to accept that I was suffering from ‘Stuffocation’. How can I have all this stuff which I no longer use and waste the space I have in our apartment? Why do I need multiple versions of items I don’t use? I realised that I was slowly suffocating myself and depriving myself of happiness because I spent all my Sundays organising the same old unused stuff. I spent more time organising instead of living my life. Why do I need to subject myself to this torture and most of all, how could I welcome new things into my life if I don’t learn to let go?

I needed to let go and slowly I learned to accept it. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply.

‘Let it go. The past is gone…it’s only stuff…let it all go’

In my next post, I will tell you how I managed to find a way to let go of my possessions, the obstacles I faced and how I overcame them.

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