The Box Lady

40 items of clothing, 9 pairs of shoes, 5 bags

I started downsizing my belongings nine months ago. It all began with a traumatising house move.

For three weeks I found full time employment as a box lady. Sweating in the Australian heat, I packed boxes and boxes of my belongings at my old apartment. I carried boxes and boxes of my stuff up five flights of stairs to my new apartment. After I received my new furnishings, I carried boxes and boxes of rubbish down five flights of stairs. It was a good workout, I will admit. But when I sat down, exhausted, sweating, after my eight hour box shift every night, I wondered, ‘do I need this much stuff?’

In my tiny old apartment storage was limited. I crammed my excess clothing into boxes which lived at the bottom of the wardrobe. These were rarely visited.

I found the whole process of getting dressed oppressive and time consuming. I had so many clothes, and yet I often felt I had nothing to wear. If I needed to dress for any reason, clothes would be flung around the room with frustration as I tried them all on. I never felt like the clothes I had were exactly what I wanted.

After the move had ended, a lightbulb lit up in my head. ‘I want to see all the clothes I own, so I actually wear them’. I made the decision that all of my everyday wearable items of clothing (excluding underwear, sleep, active and leisure wear) must be displayed and visible, and therefore, logically, used regularly. I would finally have the perfect wardrobe, I concluded.

When I unleashed the full fury of my clothing on my 2.3 metre length wardrobe, I thought the rail was going to warp or snap. I would look at it with uncertainty and wonder how many kilos a hollow piece of metal can handle. Was I now able to get dressed better and with more ease?

The answer was ‘no’. This was what initiated my first clothing cull. When I had all my items of clothing visible, it was easy to see that I had a lot of stuff, most of which I didn’t really wear. In the first cull I got rid of things that I didn’t wear at all. I finally gave myself permission to discard the things I knew brought me little enjoyment.

I noticed that with the first cleansing of the wardrobe came a sense of calm. Suddenly, my clothing options seemed less cluttered, easier to manage.

I decided to count what I have left. I had 126 items of clothing, 19 pairs of shoes and 8 bags.

I made what seemed an incredible realisation at the time. I realised I had plenty of clothing, enough to last a lifetime, and I didn’t need to buy anymore.

This was the moment that I decided to start a shopping fast.



  1. A shopping fast. Wow that’s new. But this is the smartest post I’ve seen to be honest. And honestly- I don’t say this much, but I really enjoyed reading your work. And looking forward to seeing more. Good luck, and I hope you’re not as frustrated ever again. Much love, Sara.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice writing. Initially I was wondering what kind of job a box lady had.

    I know just how you feel. I’ve moved about 10 times in the past 4 years, which has taught me the hard way how wonderful minimalism is. The first time I moved abroad, I paid an extra $300 there and back just to bring an extra suitcase of clothes. The second time I moved abroad, I paid over $100 a month to store my stuff in a huge storage unit. I came home, got rid of half my stuff, moved to a small unit for far less until I found a place to live. Clothes were my biggest battle though. I had around 1000 items of clothing (working at a department store was my downfall) and just did another purge and got to a place I’m happy with, having finally gotten rid of my last big dresser. My clothing is now in the double digits. And moving the last couple times has been so much easier!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. My mom’s favorite pastime was shopping and constantly buying clearance things at my old job added up. Also had every item of clothing since middle school (I’m 24 now). I don’t go to that store anymore! I did it by challenging myself. I thought, if I could live abroad for 3 months with a small wardrobe, then I didn’t need the things packed up. So when I got back home I donated most items and every season I’ve gotten rid of a few more or things wear out as I had lots of cheap things.


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