People finally feel the clutter, vow to stop shopping

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People finally feel the clutter, vow to stop shopping

The closets of a typical home in Korea. [JOONGANG PHOTO]

The closets of a typical home in Korea. [JOONGANG PHOTO]

 
People in Korea are vowing to stop shopping for new outfits for a whole year, joining what they call a new minimalist movement spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
“One of my primary reasons for buying new outfits was so I could wear them on my trips abroad,” a woman in her 30s surnamed Kwon told the JoongAng Ilbo. “Since that’s no longer possible during the pandemic, I’ve decided to stop shopping.”
 
“I used to spend a good 300,000 won [$272] per month on new clothes, but I’ve decided to stop that and use the money to buy stock instead,” said Ms. Jeong, a 28-year-old office worker who has been working from home for the past year. “It’s the Covid-19 era, all of us are stuck at home, so I thought why not use the extra time to make more money instead of spending it on clothes?”
 
If Marie Kondo sparked a global movement to part with objects that don’t “spark joy,” in Korea there also seems to an author behind the coronavirus minimalist movement.
 
Im Da-hye, author of the book “Living a Year Without Shopping for Clothes" published in 2019, proposed her readers try doing exactly that — even before anyone had heard of Covid-19.  
 
“This author had the same shopping impulses and habits that I have,” wrote a fan on a blog on Naver, an internet portal, last month. “If she can stop shopping for a year, who says I can’t? And perhaps the timing is just right since we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Here's to day one of no-shopping for a year!”  
 
Though the scale of the movement is unclear, people certainly seem to be warming to the idea of owning fewer objects and decluttering their spaces at home since the pandemic hit Korea, said consultant Jeong Hee-sook. Jeong runs a consulting company that has in the past 10 years helped around 2,000 homeowners in Korea declutter their lives.  
 
“More people are spending time at home, which means a lot of things around their homes that they may have ignored before are catching their attention,” Jeong said. “Part of that is realizing just how much clothes you own. The pandemic has helped more people see the importance of having clean, organized homes.”
 
Objects that are useful for decluttering, like shelves and storage boxes, have taken off recently. Ikea Korea said its sales of storage products rose by at least 50 percent from 2019 to 2020 — after the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
 
“The demand in this market will grow, as more people who are working from home want to reorganize the spaces around them,” said Jeong Gyeong-ja, president of an association in Korea that runs classes on decluttering. “Recently we’ve been seeing more women in their 20s and 30s taking an interest — and more of them are signing up for our classes to become licensed consultants on decluttering.”
 
BY KIM JI-HYE   [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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