Today, I am at Finncon in Tampere talking about fairy tales (except I’m not; I’m at home with bronchitis, kicking myself for having missed this). Back home my partner is getting ready to move house. We’ve been working hard at reducing the amount of stuff we have in order to have as little to move as possible. In the process we’ve been assessing the things that we want to keep in our lives. And also thinking about the people we are today versus the people we have been over our lives.
I am, unfortunately, a person who likes my things. I’ve been fairly poor at one point in my life and that has left me with some mild issues about getting rid of stuff. Mild in the sense that I, my partner, or our dog are none of us at danger of being killed under a pile of stuff. I’ve been fairly well off for just over ten years now and yet, even now, every time something breaks, my first instinct is that I should be able to fix it. Hole in my jeans? I can fix that. Zipper broke on a sweater cheaper than the new zipper would be? I can just sew a new one in there when I magically manage to get rid of the need to sleep 8 hours a day. Clothes that haven’t fit me since I was a teenager? I might be able to fit into them again some day, despite the fact that I was still growing, underweight and several cup sizes smaller in the chest area. I have a whole huge vacuum bag filled with clothes that no longer fit me, that I’ve barely even looked at since the last time we moved, seven years ago. Last weekend, we singled out some 700 movies to get rid of before we move because it’s either unlikely that we’ll ever watch them again or won’t be sorry if we can’t stream them.
So saying I have a problem with getting rid of stuff that isn’t explicitly broken beyond repair would be stating it mildly. I’m well aware that there’s nothing rational about it. But the thing is, I’m not cut out to be a minimalist, no matter how much I try. I can’t help it. I need a bit of clutter around the place to make the place feel lived in and like home. As life goes on, I’m becoming more and more okay with this fact of myself. The trick is in figuring out what part of the clutter is necessary and wanted and which part of it is being kept just as a remnant of me being afraid of never being able to afford a thing again. The trick is in keeping down the amount of clutter in the house to a level so that it won’t turn into full on hoarder mode and consume our entire existence. Which, to be honest, I’m not that great at.
What about you? Do you share my hoarder tendencies or are you one of those lucky minimalists?