This week, on The Well, Rebecca Sparrow and Robin Bailey talk about why Denmark is officially the happiest place in the world. So what exactly are they doing differently over there?
One thing is that they are big on de-cluttering, and while Robin isn’t so keen on it, she tells us the one huge benefit she gained from cleaning out her closet, and why she hired an expert to help her take action…
My obsession with clothes started when I was 12. My single mum decided that my sister and I could learn about budgeting by having a monthly allowance to buy our own clothes. I quickly learnt the art and coveted the thrill of finding something fabulous with a 50% off tag.
I wasn’t totally focused on labels but I do remember my first Stuart Membery lapel jacket I found in a discount bin at a city boutique (this was the 80s) for just $20. The original tags said it was over $100 full priced and from that moment on, I did everything in my power to replicate the thrilling feeling that came with making a fabulous fashion purchase. So every month my $30 would be stretched to its limit as I found bargain after bargain. Each piece had a story, therefore deeply connecting me emotionally to my shopping fixation.
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Fast forward thirty five years and I am still addicted to that initial thrill. I am a fashion slayer, a bargain high priestess who can smell a fabulous deal at 100 paces and still seeks and destroys a really good sale. The only problem with that is that because each piece has its own story, nothing EVER gets thrown out. My wardrobe is packed to the gunnels – so much so that I now have rotating winter and summer clothes.
As the season changes, one lot gets stored in plastic vacuum sealed bags in the spare room wardrobe, while the other comes out for airing and there is a third pile for trans-seasonal. It’s embarrassingly indulgent and when broken down the numbers speak for themselves. Over 40 pairs of jeans starting with the first pair I bought at the age of 16. Jackets from all over the world including a Gap Corduroy ever green coat bought from an op shop in Kent UK where my sister was living at the time. It’s so heavy duty that I am lucky to wear it once a decade in Brisbane, let alone once a season. But if you thought that was bad let’s not start on shoes… I have hundreds… literally… mostly high as I am pretty short but strappy, chunky, stiletto and wedge they all have a place in my closet.
With an open heart and Sarah’s guiding hands, here’s what happened…(Post continues after video.)
The other thing I have realised over the years is that my shopping fascination has also band aided many traumas in my life. Yes, that same initial thrill still happens every time I find a must-have purchase on sale and when I am feeling my most flat and vulnerable, it has lifted me high.
Rightly or wrongly, shopping has been able to help me forget a broken heart, get over minor painful surgeries and filled the void left by a lost job or missed opportunities. In fact every conceivable down moment in my life has been lifted by a great fashion find. And, you guessed it, I have a story for every single one.
All fabulous moments in my life, of course, but now at 47 I stand in front of my bulging wardrobe and realise it's time to finally let some of these emotionally connected clothes go. It is not as easy as it sounds and after many failed attempts I have decided to call in the experts.
I met Sarah Elizabeth Turner from Style Vice on a photo shoot when she was styling my brekky team for some updated publicity shots. I liked her straight away, but more importantly, there was something about her that I trusted. I knew that she could help me finally let go of some of my no longer worn clothes and not feel guilty for abandoning an old friend.
Okay, I hear you as you. Some of you will say 'my God how indulgent, what a stupid first world problem' and yes, on some level I agree. But in my defence, I will also say that my over shopping is like someone over eating! It's a means to make me feel better about myself when the world doesn't seem to be playing fair. And I can honestly say that when I say cheap I mean cheap.
I have not lost a house as a result of all the things I've bought in my adult lifetime. But I will admit to probably spending the equivalent of a small luxury car. Now as I enter a new stage in my life, it's time to say enough is enough and finally fill my voids with self love and let some of these much cherished things find new life in other's hands.
Listen to the full episode of The Well below, and hear Robin and Rebecca Sparrow talk about why the Danes are the happiest people on earth, and there's a new challenge for the week that will bring you closer to your community.
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