Goodbye Things

I am no idealist, that’s not why I got into minimalism. I don’t necessarily purchase a lot of items, I just hold on to things because you know, everything might become useful someday. I think this mentality is a result of moving houses and countries every so often. Fourteen times in thirteen years to be precise. Before buying a flat I´d never invest in furniture or valuable items because I´d share with my flatmates and I knew it was a temporary home. Moving is a hassle so it’s better to hold on to things than dispose of them to later have to replace them, right?

Culture takes its toll

Returning to the motherland there are certain cultural ideals that are hard to ignore, like owning a home. 80 % of Norwegians own their homes, the state subsidizes homeowners with tax reduction on mortgage rates. The cultural consensus is that it’s a sound investment. Another thing that is common is comparing salaries. Until three years ago the tax statistics where public, anyone could check their neighbours net income and capital, and the papers would print excerpts. Now how do we show off our status and high income when everyone is well off?

Subtle bragging

In Norway we spend an awful lot of time and money on renovating and redecorating our homes. On average kitchens tend to be ten to fifteen years old. It makes perfect sense considering our homes are our investments, we will not let them drop in value. Then we fill them up with expensive items, to portray our good taste and status. And that is where I got lost, all this energy spent on choosing furniture, comparing this item to that. Comparing my life to others. Thinking about the endless possibilities for decorating my small condo. How easy it is to fall into the spending maelstrom. A £ 2000 sofa seems insignificant when purchasing a £ 300 000 flat. This materialistic focus clashed with my inner nomad, I want to be able to pack up and go in a day, rent out my flat and not worry about my stuff.

Break with the norm

Friends and family don`t always get why I have to do things my way. In our wealthy society having the newest gadgets, trendy interior design and traveling to trendy destinations is the norm. What I want to do is to change my mindset and be more conscious of where my funds go and not owning more things than I need. Also letting go of past personas that I no longer identify with in the process. This means donating, borrowing and not accumulating more, but also letting others know that the only gifts acceptable are those consumable. For every load I carry to donation, I feel a bit lighter.

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Becoming Minimalist

It’s only been five months since the last big clean up but still feel like my space is filled up with things. Thought I got rid of the excess before moving houses, but seem to have a hard time parting with belongings. Started reading up on minimalism as a counter-reaction to months focused on new furniture, painting, decorating and everything that goes with buying a flat. Becoming conscious of the effect of consumerism on the human mind and thus the decluttering journey began. Recommend these two as starter literature if you are curious of the concept:

Natural Born Hoarders

Hoarding is definitely a family trait. My parents` house is full of collections of books, vinyl, DVDs, CDs, cassettes, VHS, comics, electronics, toys, gadgets, tableware, you name it. Nothing ever leaves that house, everything can become “valuable”. My grandfather was similar, he enjoyed spending his hard-earned money on his grandchildren. While I see nothing wrong with hoarding, is not how I want to live my life. So I started where it all began, I went home to clear up the clutter.

Goodbye Things

My carefully selected collection of books, comics, movies and music was easy to put in boxes for donation. I don’t need them to portray who I used to be. The knowledge is in my head, the music digitalized and movies always available on demand. The favourite teddy bears and toys I photographed as a sideproject. Endless piles of paper went to recycling: notebooks, letters, travel memorabilia, cards. A travel blog that I deleted ten years ago but printed in paper just in case. I don’t need the items to savor the memories. Two full days of decluttering.

Round Two

Came back to my own place and had a second look at what I couldn´t part with last time. Clothes that no longer fit, from my fitter days in London, had to depart. My outworn Nikeys witnessing hours and hours of dance training from the years at the dance studio. I had been holding on them because I didn´t want to part with that person I used to be. Old glasses. Unused kitchen ware. Gifts from loved ones, given with the best intention but never needed. I donated it all and put up for sale what I thought had value. This process is giving me some peace of mind. I am becoming aware of why I hold on to things forever, my spending pattern and why I purchase items. Seldom because I need them.