Overflowing Closet: Value, Use, & Accumulation of Stuff | Skillshare Projects

Hannah Learner

Designer, Calypso St. Barth



Overflowing Closet: Value, Use, & Accumulation of Stuff

Years ago I read this article in the Times called "But Will It Make You Happy." It is a study on a woman who has only 100 possessions and how her life had flourished by owning less and "living small." The piece really stuck with me, and ever since, I've been more conscious of my own consumption habits and object comforts. I did an essay project previously, (the remnants of which can be seen here), where I counted up my own possessions, and tried to live on as few a comfortable for a week.

This previous project left me with a lot of data and insights, but I lacked a way to present them visually. . . until now! With this class, I want to make an infographic that depicts one area of this data: my closet. I'm going to focus on the items of clothing in my closet and analyze:

  • total number & types of items
  • frequency of use
  • initial cost
  • rate of accumulation
  • length of time owned

My hope is that this data will show deduce the real value of each item. For example, which is more valuable to me: the expensive dress I wear once every 5 years? Or the totebag I carry my gym clothes in everyday? Initially, I thought a pie chart would be the best format for my data, since it breaks down parts of a whole. Something like this:

But it doesn't quite tell the whole story. I'd need other, subsequent charts like this too:

So, I'm re-thinking the pie chart. My new solution is to place each item on a graph, with its position being the intersection of "initial cost" and "frequency of use," like this:

Then, I can extend separate boxes off certain items as needed to communicate the extra points about them, like things I've owned a long time, or things that were gifts, etc. I can also maybe color items to give extra designations like winter-only use, for example. It won't be possible for me to include absolutely every item. (I'm not as minimalist as the woman in the article, unfortunately.) But, I'd like to include as many as I can and make the chart dense with little garment illustrations.

What do you think?

7/31 UPDATE:I've started sketching through the closet, left to right on the hanging bar. That's 35 items so far, and I haven't even gotten past tops & dresses. I think I will have to edit the ones that make it onto the final graphic, so that each item doesn't become too small. Once I get through pencil sketching, I'll block them out in Illustrator. Wish me luck!


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