Downsizing to upscale my life
As many of you already know from my incessant posts on Instagram, I am in the process of moving to a new apartment.
The move had long been coming; however, partly due to the rental arrangements here in Brussels not being always favourable for tenants in terms of exit clauses; and partly due to the fact that there was a period of uncertainty as to how much longer I have in the Belgian capital I kept putting it off. I guess, if I’m being honest with myself, there was also the fact that since my ‘old’ apartment is the home I shared with my ex-partner, there was part of me which was finding it difficult to let go of the only thing that was left of that relationship. Even writing this, there is a knot which is tying up in my throat but at the same time I know that for my well-being – both emotionally and mentally - I need a proper fresh start, a new environment and I need to let the Ghosts of Partner Past rest once and for all.
My ‘old’ apartment feels huge by Belgian standards (from what I gather) and quite frankly, little me feels completely lost and inadequate in it with all this emotional baggage – besides it being situated in a suburban area which, I feel, does not quite match my character … The apartment I’m moving into is small (or regular sized by Belgian standards), in a dynamic, artistic and culturally diverse neighbourhood … And that, my friends, is how this downsizing and selling and giving away practically everything that’s in my ‘old’ apartment is coming about.
The new place I’m heading to is just right for me – perfect location and ideal size. It’s ready furnished (and exquisitely so I may add), but I’ve already got myself some loose soft furnishings to make the place feel more ‘mine’. There are also a couple of items I’m hanging on to – my full-length mirror of course (how will I take the morning outfit selfie otherwise!?), a clothes rail, my fluffy armchair and an IKEA Kallax bookcase which I’m already picturing as a perfect display for my designer bags and shoes. But that’s basically it.
Which brings me nicely to the emptying of my wardrobe. At my ‘old’ apartment, in the recent days, I was filling up 2 double wardrobes (each complete with drawers), part of the under-bed storage, a closet just with coats, bulky jackets and boots, a low cabinet full of shoes, and two suitcases full of ‘clothes to sell or give away’ in the basement storage. Oh, and my luxury bags boxed up on the low cabinet holding the shoes creating a sort of altar to Mammon. Just writing this I feel SICK to my stomach. I do know that the recent months saw me indulge in a lot of emotional shopping – but they were mostly investment pieces, so I won’t beat myself up about them.
Moving into a smaller living space has brought about the necessity to downsize my wardrobe and curtail my shopping – not just of clothes, bags, shoes and accessories but also of makeup, scented candles, artworks and other bits and bobs which, in reality, most times I wouldn’t really need. How many times have I fallen victim to the latest Dior or Chanel make up launch only to end up with yet another rosy-beige or red lipstick which is not really needed because I already have about 8 others, all partly used? Or how many times was I browsing the IKEA or HEMA websites and landed on a cute piece of décor which really and truly is now just sitting on a shelf gathering dust? And don’t get me started on Tupperware and reusable bottles … just like for clothes and shoes I always reach out for a handful of favourites, the same goes with everything else, leading me to having a surplus of so many items (many times multiples of pretty much the same thing …) that despite the luxury of space I have in the ‘old’ apartment, I have been feeling overwhelmed and incredibly stressed out by the sheer quantity of stuff I have.
As drastic and uncharacteristic of me all of this sounds, I’m really done with my constant shopping and needing to possess whatever strikes my fancy. I won’t say I’m going to relinquish shopping once and for all. But I’m trying to be much more judicious on it all. I’ve recently posted an Instagram story where I deleted all my shopping apps (except for the supermarket one …). I find myself most evenings watching something on Netflix or YouTube and mindlessly 'adding to cart' on the Zara or Net-a-Porter apps items I borderline care for. To be fair, I’m quite diligent on returns so I never end up keeping anything that doesn’t fit, or I don’t like. However, there have been times when I had parcels to collect on the daily. And this is not healthy – at least that’s the way I see it for myself.
I know that there are a few eyebrows being raised as people may be reading this, incredulous to the fact that I am not planning to shop much, much more. It has always been a sort of raison d’être for me and something people always associated with me, so I don’t blame anyone to be somewhat sceptical. But this is a needs-must situation and I am approaching it very positively.
No more will there be senseless purchases of items which I already have or whose quality is dubious ‘just to have it’. No more will there be pieces which I will wear once – perhaps twice at most – and just forget at the back of the wardrobe. No more will there be days when I stare at my bursting wardrobe thinking I have nothing to wear and wishing I could dress in the bohemian chic minimalist style (read: Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun) I constantly pin on Pinterest because I will actually only have that style of clothing in the wardrobe and only stuff that spark joy.
No more will I let abundance for the sake of having stuff be the bane of my existence. It’s a process, and I do at times feel overwhelmed and wouldn’t know where to turn my head, but it’s not impossible. I know that all of this is for my personal betterment and I can only gain from all of this.
Photography by Davide Mandolini https://www.davidemandolini.com/#home