Gigantic spring clean

The covid years (hard to believe it was 2 years) passed in a blur. I worked in tracksuit pants with plain t shirts on my top half, accessorised with simple gold jewellery. No handbags, no shoes, no makeup. My energy to curate things seemed to disappear.

Since the beginning of March however, I have been on somewhat of a spring clean.

  • I replaced all my underwear, t-shirts, tracksuit pants, and pyjamas. After several years I was sick of the sight of my old ones so now I have new ones that will NOT be used to work in.
  • I went through my entire closet and donated, recycled and sold things I will never wear again. I used to weigh between 53kg and 55kg. I am 5 kg heavier now so those clothes will never fit again, and I don’t intend to even try.  My shape has also changed and that I am not going to fight either. I want to dress my body nicely just as I am and not hanker after younger days.
  • The Swedish Postal Service has a great programme where you can post things to Ukraine for free, so I sent some of my nice warm clothing that is now too small. I also sent two new backpacks, diapers, sanitary protection, wetwipes, small towels, and aspirin.
  • My old dried-up makeup has been tossed out, and replaced with new. I discovered to my horror that my favourite Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes was discontinued during covid. I am a klutz at applying makeup so a stick was so easy for me. I ended up buying a Mac Paint Pot in Groundwork because it seemed more user-friendly than powder shadow – that’s how bad I am! Apparently I can use my fingers to blend. We’ll see.
  • My jewellery box received the same treatment. My knuckles and fingers have thickened as I have grown older so many of my rings that didn’t fit anymore have been sold and auctioned off, and I will buy a few nice rings to replace them. It pained me to get rid of some of my favourites but they don’t fit me or anyone else in my family so they have gone off to new homes.
  • The gold price has gone up enormously over the past six years (could the war in Ukraine have anything to do with it?) so I made some nice profit on any gold I sold. I sold one necklace that I paid $600 for ten years ago, for $2000. That will help pay for our South Africa trip in summer.
  • All my large, heavy handbags are for sale. My back will never tolerate them again. I have been using my Longchamp Les Pliages bags, my Tretorn backpack, my clutch and my small handbags.
  • Many of my older, rare Filofaxes have gone to new homes. Some examples are my exotic shark and lizard, my duplexes and Balmoral, one of my Grace Scurrs. I no longer have an extra room to display them and I want them to go somewhere they will be admired by their new owners. I am keeping my favourites and the ones I use all the time. I also will never ever sell anything I have been gifted.

I learned a long time ago that if you save your money up to buy investment purchases – or if you scour flea markets, sales, thrift stores, consignment stores and estate auctions for good quality leather, precious metals or well-made vintage clothes in classic designs and at great prices – they last a long time and almost always have a good resale value. Every now and then you can make more than you paid for something, but generally you can sell a few older pieces you are tired of and make enough money to buy another quality item. That is way better for your wallet and the environment than buying things from the bargain bin at H & M, wearing them once and having to throw them away because they have fallen apart. There is no shame anymore in buying pre-loved items.

I am using my Hobonichi Weeks Van Der Spek Undyed Janet Leather Codex for this rather large mission. I am trying to think of it as a marathon rather than a sprint. So far the Hobonichi Weeks has been a trooper and it feels so good to tick my list off each day.

  • during my free periods from teaching I list things for sale, deliver them, take things to be appraised and auctioned. I make sure to block this time off in my diary as though it was a meeting. Otherwise I would probably end up nursing a latte and reading Reddit in a coffee shop. I also need to record who buys what and when. I keep a list of postal tracking numbers and mark everything off as delivered.
  • I list auction days and make sure to go to the viewing the day before. Anything I have had that is more high end (gold jewellery, more expensive handbags) is auctioned off. I don’t have many of those items but it is nice to have it taken care of by professional appraisers and authenticators.
  • I keep a running total of the money I make and I use only that money to replace my things
  • I have been finishing one beauty product before I buy another one so I keep a wish list. Once again, I only use money I have made from sales.

Has anyone else been spring cleaning?


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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