Jenny Bathurst - "I have grown into such a bargain hunter"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst chronicled Covid week by week. Now she returns to share thoughts, fears and hopes.

Jenny is studying journalism at the University of Brighton.

"I’m currently lying on the carpet in my home, surrounded by stuff. That’s a bit vague, you might think, but the only way the boxes and bags around me can be defined is as ‘stuff’, because it’s practically a culmination of my university life. Today I moved out of my student house for the summer before returning in September for my final year, but as the house is used as an Airbnb over the coming months we have to remove every possession from every crevice and play an elaborate game of Tetris attempting to fit everything into our family cars. Textbooks, scatter cushions, and – the most annoying of all – clothes hangers. I would like to speak to a person who has effectively packed clothes hangers without either tearing the bag or taking up a disproportionate amount of space. Bags for Life suddenly become Bags for Five Minutes if clothes hangers have anything to do with them.

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"Anyway. You probably didn’t come here to read about a twenty-year-old have a midlife crisis over a first world problem. Something I learnt this week is how ridiculously reliant I am on so much ‘stuff.’ And when I say reliant, I don’t mean I NEED all these things, simply that I can’t bear to part with them. The last two months I have been living in my parent’s home due to my health in which I lived off a suitcase’s worth of clothes and other items. Not once did I think, ‘Cor, I wish I could wear that specific pink vest top right now’, and yet there I was this morning, cramming it in the bag at the last minute desperate to hang onto it rather than move it elsewhere.

Jenny Bathurst

"As a society we put so much worth and value into possessions. I hold my hands up and say that I am by no means a minimalist, but when I realise that some people in other parts of the world live off very little and yet have so much joy, I am ashamed of the mountains of possessions I cling onto for fear of ‘going without’.

"For me, it’s clothes that I know are my downfall. Growing up I would often be dragged around the charity shops, and although I despised it at the time I have grown into such a bargain hunter. Now instead of looking at the item and deciding I like it, I look at the price tag, think it’s a good deal, and then frantically attempt to come up with an outfit which might accommodate for this random piece of clothing I have never wanted or needed.

"Why are we so drawn to ‘things’? Is it the security of knowing we won’t run out? Maybe it’s the joy of shopping, or the temporary moment of excitement as we take something out of its packaging and try it out for the first time.

"Somehow, through writing this, I have managed to guilt myself into feeling quite gluttonous about the items that surround my bedroom . So do excuse me, as I rip open these boxes of possessions and feel ashamed about the amount I find, whilst simultaneously not disposing of any of it."