I confess: I was a Carousell addict.
Being a broke student, I was addicted to the thrills of scrolling through endless lists of pre-loved products, because it meant I could get new belongings for myself at affordable prices. My vice was clothing.
But the nature of online shopping meant that I couldn’t try on the clothes that I had purchased until after I got it. Usually it was too big or too small for me, or just plain downright ugly. What I ended up having was tons of clothes that were worn once or twice, before being hung on the racks, forgotten.
Enter Carousell. ‘Sell in a Snap, Buy with a Chat’ – It’s simple right? After about 2 hours of coming up with unique copy and Photoshopping my product images, I was ready to sell.
I waited one day. One week. One month. But no one will buy my old clothes! I was so frustrated.
Since then, I’ve quit using Carousell to sell my old items. If you’re facing the same predicament as I was, here are 3 simple rules that helped me to declutter my life. These rules were used by Marie Kondo, who is a Japanese decluttering consultant who wrote ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’.
1. “Discard anything that doesn’t spark joy.”
Decide what to keep by picking up each item and asking yourself: “Does this spark joy?”. If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. What is the point of hanging on to something if it does not make you happy at all?
I tend to keep a lot of old clothes because I wanted to resell them on Carousell or a flea market for a bit of extra cash. I realised that I was holding on because I was afraid to let go.
Due to my reluctance to let go of the old, I had (literally) no room left for the new. My clothes had to be layered upon each other, which made them difficult to find while getting dressed up. The inconvenience annoyed me and one day, I decided that I had to declutter my wardrobe.
2. “No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.”
Despite how nostalgic looking at our old belongings can make us feel, ultimately the joy experienced was then, not now. Someone else could have a better use for it.
To declutter, what I did was ask myself: Did I wear this piece of clothing in the last 3 months? If the answer was an astounding NO, I placed it into a large bag, which I marked for donation. Some of the places I have donated my old belongings to included Salvation Army in Singapore, and Friends in Cambodia.
Sometimes I am reluctant to sell or donate it away. I even tried to promise myself to wear the piece of clothing more often in the future. But what I remind myself is that even if I used to wear the clothing often in the past, I don’t wear the clothes often now and probably never will in the future. If it makes someone happy and appreciative, then that is joy in itself by giving back to the community and less fortunate.
3. “As you continue to explore the reasons behind your ideal lifestyle, you will come to a simple realization – The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy.”
So whatever it is, be happy with your decision whether to keep or discard an item, a relationship, or some other aspect of your life.
The process of decluttering has certainly taught me a lot. One of the key takeaways is to be appreciative of what I already own instead of craving for more. And truly, the best way to find out about what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.
I realised that the clothes that I wore the most often were black, because I loved styling myself minimally. Thus I created a mental note to only purchase clothes of a similar colour or style (even if they are more expensive). This helps me to avoid making unnecessary and unwanted purchases.
Letting go can be difficult. The process of facing and selecting our possessions can be painful. It forces us to confront the foolish choices we have made in the past, facing our own imperfections and inadequacies.
But clutter is symbolic of external and internal chaos. It signifies attachment to the past or fears for the future, while being unsure of the current moment.
The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. Do you need to remain hung up over the past, bearing grudges and sulking throughout the new year? Do you need to be worried, fearing wrong choices and bad decisions? Or do you want to live happily in the present, and take things as they come?