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?
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.