One day back in 2017, I realised I hated to be surrounded by so many useless items around me. The drawers of my desk were filled with old CDs, half-written notebooks and old phones I have not intended to ever use. My wardrobe was stocking 30 different summer tops, which I struggled to manage to wear within three short months of Lithuanian summer. Why am I keeping so many things I do not need?
I needed changes.Step by step I started moving towards my minimalistic lifestyle. Since the beginning of the process, I realised it’s not easy to find new owners for my belongings. Of course, I could have just thrown out a bunch of my clothes to the dumpster but that would not be the best solution in terms of sustainability. So I took the hard (and interesting) way out of this.
How to get rid of clothes: selling, swamping or donating ?
My first option was selling. I consider selling as the best option of letting others have your stuff (paying partly shows the need), as it is not always possible to sell all of the stuff you have, especially clothes, as there is such a huge supply for everything. I told myself that if I cannot sell a particular accessory or piece of clothing within 3 years, I have to find another way to get rid of it.
For selling out my clothes, I used the great platform Vinted.lt and the price I am asking is rather symbolic – just a few euros per item. Result: sold a few items within a year. It is a slow, time consuming and inefficient method, but at least I know that the person will take care of it.
I was very excited to participate at my local ‘Clothes swapping party’ back in February 2019. I did not know what to expect and was rather having low hopes to find anything good that fits me.
The event did exceed my expectations, it was nice to see people who took some of my clothes and seeing how much better they suited them. I did find some good clothes for myself and one of them became my favourite item for a while! I also somehow had this idea that after I wear these clothes for a while I must give them to somebody else, so they would always circulate in the market.
I was very hesitant about the clothing donations. You see, the problem that exists with some charities is that they are over-flooded with clothes and the paradox happens: it is easier for the poor to wear the clothes once and throw it out rather than wash. It was not acceptable for me, as an environmentalist, therefore I chose not to get involved with charities. I would only want to give someone something when they truly want it, because in other cases, your unwanted clothes can simply become someone else’s trash.
Although all of the methods I tried were only good for certain clothes: those in style or basics. The pieces that looked already outdated were not needed by anyone therefore I struggled getting rid of them.
The goosebumps when your trash becomes someone’s treasure
I had this DVD, which my friend gave me as a birthday present 10 years ago. It was 12 short movies for The Annual Lithuanian film festival (2006). I watched it, did not like it (too much swearing and explicit context) and it stayed in my drawer for 10 long years. I did not feel comfortable throwing it out since it was a gift. Although with the minimalism approach, it was one of the items which had to go first as it has no use at all.
So, I put it on the market place, indicating 2 EUR price. I expected no luck since it was a niche product and I was sure that nobody watches DVDs anymore. Surprisingly, one day I received an email from a man, asking when he could come to take it. I was very excited! The arrangement was done, and we met at my office building. He was an intelligent looking middle-aged man. I handled him a DVD and out of curiosity asked why he wanted this DVD. He explained that he has worked with filmography for years and has the whole collection of this festival movies, except for that one. He has been looking for it everywhere, but since it is such a niche movie, he had no luck. He commented: ‘I felt like winning a lottery once I found your advert’.
To me, that was a moment I had goosebumps! It gave me such an amazing feeling knowing that I have just massively helped someone by simply helping myself to get rid of not wanted items and that the item I saw absolutely no value for except that it was a memoir, was indeed someone else’s long searched treasure!
None of the methods are time efficient as it does take a lot of time to go to this event and to set up it all for selling. But it just proves that we spend so much time making money to buy the items we do not use that much and spend a lot of time getting rid of them as well.
I had accomplished my goal to get rid of 50 unnecessary items by October and raised the bar to a 100 for the upcoming year.