When Jonah and I moved into our current apartment, I had already turned my closet into a capsule collection, donated even my most nostalgic items, and sold everything we didn't use regularly in a yard sale. And it felt good. We became significantly more intentional about what we bring into our home, what we let stay, and our purchasing habits, as well as our home habits, as we shifted towards sustainable, budget-minded options. We started actually using everything in our apartment, only keeping coffee table books we actually flip through, clothes we wear often, and kitchenware we actually pull from cabinets. Now when I bring donations to Goodwill, it's one item at a time instead of by the bag-full.
But, I couldn't shake the feeling that certain areas of our apartment still feel cluttered. We are far from minimalists (and I'm not sure I want to be) but edit frequently. Still, I felt like we had physical baggage I couldn't shake. I wasn't sure where the feeling came from until New Year's Eve. We only had a single-serving bottle of prosecco, so I pulled out a bottle of cider to supplement it. Jonah poured us each a glass, but as soon as he took a sip he asked, "When did you buy this?"
I had splurged on the bottle on a company trip five years earlier. Apparently, it hadn't survived the years in our New York apartment, followed by a cross-country U-Haul, and a few more years in our kitchen nook's wine drawer (none of which had air conditioning). I remembered the bottle being expensive, so every time I thought about drinking it, I decided to save it for a "special occasion" instead. Fast-forward five years and a lot of missed "special occasions," and it had gone completely flat.
I do this a lot. I save things like a squirrel with a nut. And then, (if you'll follow the analogy a little further) like a squirrel with a nut, I forget where I've hidden it. I save so many things because they're so special, and they end up spoiling.
I once read that you aren't supposed to save Champagne—it's sold when it's most drinkable and the quality only gets worse the longer you store it. But I've been stashing not just wine, but also books, skincare products, pantry items, then never using them... In 2020, I'm approaching special occasion items entirely differently, by doing the exact opposite. Here are the items I'm going to stop saving, and start moving through, in 2020:
There are certain books I've carried with me from my high school bedroom to my college dorm room, through multiple apartments in New York, to California. That's over a decade of dragging dead weight around when I could have just been reading it! Animal. Vegetable. Miracle. by Barbara Kingsolver? I have no idea what this book is about, but I know the spine like the back of my hand because it's been in every apartment I've ever lived in. Enough already! This year, my goal is to read every single book on my shelf before I buy or rent a single new one.
Every time Jonah and I spend more than $50 on a bottle of wine or receive a nice bottle as a gift, we put it in our wine drawer... forever. Nice wine feels too luxurious for a regular evening at home, but then we completely forget about it when the evening calls for it. At this point, we probably have 20 bottles in the drawer, which is a huge amount considering neither of us drinks much wine in the first place. This year, I'm planning on just drinking it, whether as a hostess gift or solo, if I'm in the mood. What's the point in saving nice things if you never get to enjoy them?
When Tata Harper gifted me a serum a few years ago, I squirreled it away in the back of my cosmetics closet. Anytime I opened it for a new serum, I felt a rush of joy at the sight of the outrageously expensive bottle from a brand I love, then selected one that didn't feel comparable to liquid gold. And then when we moved apartments, I noticed the expiration date. I had saved it to the point that it literally expired. Now, instead of working my way through extra skincare products, I work my way from those I'm most excited about to least, instead of the other way around.