I have gone through my clothing on three separate occasions. Each time I toss aside more summery tank tops along with pants that no longer button and shirts that no longer fit over my ever-expanding milk factories. Some things are easy to pack away while I find myself struggling to part with others. My last pair of jeans, that had always been big on me, was especially difficult to seal up. If I still lived in the U.S. I would be taking this opportunity to purge my closet. The t-shirts and knits that can be made into diapers would be put into a sewing pile while the items that I have outgrown (both in body and in lifestyle) would be cartoned up and taken to the nearest goodwill drop center. It is an easy way to feel like I am recycling instead of filling landfills.
Unfortunately, Bulgaria lacks any easy-drop centers. I found out last year when I ended my Peace Corps life that if I wanted to donate any of my clothing I would have to get it professionally cleaned, and arrange a private drop time with whatever association I donated to. It was too much effort, and honestly it still is. What I ended up doing was filling a couple of suitcases and bags with clothing and leaving them next to my garbage can. They were gone within an hour, but the whole transaction felt somehow dirty. Why make people pick through trash for perfectly good items when I want to give them away anyways? It doesn’t make any logical sense to me. Getting the right items to the right people becomes complete luck. Who knows if people are actually using my clothes, which were in good order and could have been worn for many more years if I had not been moving?
I have found that in Bulgaria people do things a bit differently. Last night Nikola’s mom brought out children’s clothes from her four children. They must have been sitting in her closet for at least 20 years, and are now still perfectly usable. I get so frustrated by the pack-away lifestyle. The room Nikola and I are in is completely filled with things that I would have donated a long time ago. But with no donation centers Bulgarians have the choice to keep them and find a future use for them, or to throw them out- which is wasteful. So they keep them. I get it, now. Toys, electronics, clothes… they all sit aside waiting to be used again. It doesn’t fit my lifestyle which is based on donating to and shopping from thrift-stores to renew my “stuff” every season or, at most, a couple of years, but I get it.
Not having an outlet for my “stuff,” makes me suddenly more critical of my intake of stuff. If an mp3 player is going to be stuck in my house forever I suddenly make sure I am buying one that I will want to (and be able to) use forever. Because I hate clutter. Knick knacks and collectables? Unnecessary. And now, my downfall… clothing. I have to admit that I can no longer renew my wardrobe every year which makes me much more selective about what I purchase and accept into my home. Great! I have learned a lesson. A hard lesson! But now the question becomes one of style and intention. If I am honest and know that I have to change my binge and purge shopping habits then I have to be critical and thoughtful about only purchasing useful, lasting clothing. Nothing frivolous that I am only going to wear twice a year. Or at least not an entire closet filled with such useless pieces. So? The question becomes: who am I? What do I NEED to make it through this pregnancy and this winter? What do I need to make it through this life?
I have always had a strong interest in minimalist lifestyles. What can I say? I am from the Fight Club generation and I have bought into the idea that what we own ends up owning us. Back in the day I used to have a guilt-free way of running away from those bonds. Now I have to admit that things are a lot more sticky and begin to really live the ideals that I have cultivated. A tough road, for sure. But when better to start then when a new life is coming into my “organization,” kicking everything to pieces anyways?
|And… an obligatory belly shot because people have asked… excuse the blurryness of the webcam shot… Eventually we might get some real photos. Or not. Whatever 🙂