Updated: Aug 27, 2022
I dedicated last weekend to my customary bi-annual closet clean-up- i.e. the time when your closets are so packed you can't even tell what you have in there anymore. Almost five hours later, I had the equivalent of three large bags full of clothes which are now hanging out blissfully in my storage room.
I looked back at my closet and I felt a great sense of achievement- I can finally discern what clothing items I own, and everything in there is something I actually wear! In a couple of days I will be calling one of the many services offered in the UAE that will pick up the clothing items to donate or recycle them- to ensure that they have not gone to waste- and voila- it's all sorted, right?
I had to confront myself with the harsh truth. The fact that I had accumulated this many clothing items in six months, most of which I had only worn once- was shocking. I needed to understand how I ended up in this same exact position twice every year.
The truth is- consumption has become more convenient than ever. I had become addicted to online shopping, adding things into my "cart" every time I had a free moment, and purchasing things that I didn't need because it was such a good deal. The idea that eventually I would clear out whatever I didn't actually wear and "give it away" had a numbing effect, making it seem like this was all ok.
Mindless consumption is plaguing us all. Clothes might be my vice, but gadgets could be yours. Books, collectibles, whatever it is, online shopping and the cheap mass production of items have led many of us to in fact become mindless consumers. We just buy, buy and buy some more, neglecting the effects of our actions on the planet and on our own mental health.
As noted by Gaurav Sinha in his book Compassion Inc "We have the obligation to be empathetic, principled and considerate even in our pursuit of material gratification. A compassionate mind and sustainable lifestyle is nurtured through knowledge and action that works in synchronicity with good human values."
Let's all challenge ourselves to practice a bit more mindfulness whenever we decide to purchase any new items. Do you really need it? Will you use it? If you have a similar item, can you give that away first before acquiring the new one?