The other day I was watching “The Home Edit” on Netflix, a tv show where two women reorganize and declutter the homes of celebrities and this got me thinking. In the past, people used to collect all sorts of different things as a hobby. I am 30 years old now and I remember growing up, piling up materialistic items such as clothes, technology, etc. was a popular thing to do for people in their free time. People collected things like DVDs, fashion, stamps, coins, and different kinds of electronic devices. I and other millennials grew up into this culture that mostly was initiated by our parents who grew up in times where people owned a lot less than today. Yet one of the most important driving forces for capitalistic progress in the last century was the ambition of people trying to acquire more objects. Today one person in Europe owns ten thousand and in the US thirty thousand objects on average. Now that we have achieved this abundance of material property we find ourselves in the middle of a lot of dilemmas.
Through the increasing influence of technology on our buying behavior in form of customized ads, today’s societies are exposed to a great variety of things that we feel addressed consciously and also unconsciously. This triggers us emotionally several times over the course of the day although our rational perspective believes we do not actually need all the products we see. On the other side, when we go and actively look to buy something that we believe we need, the range of articles is so huge that most of the time we begin to feel overwhelmed with the decision.
The consumer has a lot more freedom of choice plus the number of decisions everyday has over proportionally increased. The more options we have the more aspects are included in the decision-making process. More and more decisions and more and more complicated decisions every day have to be made. I believe that this complexity can result in frustration which in turn can lead to the desire for simplicity, the desire for having a structured life, and the desire for having an organized mind. We are increasingly willing to leave the decision making to someone else in order to achieve the above-mentioned desires.
Collecting material property seems to become a burden to a lot of us and we are no longer striving for it. Quite the reserve! When we look at the buying behavior of the fast fashion industry as it is one of the industries that focus most on trends, we can see that over the past decade we have collected a great number of articles in our wardrobe that we almost never get to use. I feel like this abundance of fashion as material property has lead us to neglect fast fashion and shift our attention to fashion that incorporates minimalistic and timeless attributes. Cleaning out the closet and exchanging our fast fashion with slow fashion by reducing the quantity and at the same time increasing the quality of the pieces we own, could become the new normal. Aspects such as social responsibility and sustainability became additional driving forces to a new form of fashion and lifestyle. The prior collectors are turning into "decluterrors".