I suffer from Sentimentalism. I’ve just self-diagnosed.
It is the reason I find it so hard to live the minimalist lifestyle that I admire in others. I detest clutter, but I find myself swallowed in its flood.
Extending our home from 110m² to 165m², I kept telling myself, would be the answer to my prayers because somehow I have a belief that by having dedicated spaces for everything we own, there will be no reason for anything to be other than tidy, orderly and ultimately clutter-free. As we inch closer toward our move in date, I realise the thing that needs to change beyond all this is my attitude towards saving things. I save ribbons that arrive on PR packages (if it’s a pretty colour and of decent reusable length of course), I save gift bags that I never ever use, I stash blank envelopes that birthday cards are tucked into, onto which no one has written a name. Incidentally I never gift a blank envelope because I would hate to burden the recipient with the need to keep something which they may not need because they already have copious amounts just chilling somewhere in the back room. Or is that just me?
I have saved every card Shane and I have ever exchanged, as well as every birthday or significant card my parents have ever given me. I even have every single letter my first two boyfriends gave me – and there are boxes full because they were both quite romantic young blokes. Add to this that my love language is words of affirmation and you can bet your bottom dollar I ain’t parting with the stacks of paper that declare undying and tortured teenage love. And have I ever told you that I kept a journal from ages 13-27, that’s another few boxes right there.
We’ve been gypsies for the past four months, travelling from place to place with little more than a bunch of clothes, toiletries and a few personal items – lego and books for the kids, a few soft toys for snuggling and our own pillows for comfort. Thanks to regular brand deliveries, I have added a few things to this inventory that we move from house to house, but for the most part we are travelling light by all accounts. While initially I thought it was going to be so hard living without all our ‘things’, I know now that everything we actually need can fit into the back of our car.
Last week I went to look for something in one of our storage locations and was very overwhelmed by how much stuff was jammed into that garage. Thing is, we have the same amount of stuff stored at three different locations and the thought of unpacking it all is beginning to give me heart palpitations. I am excited at the thought of doing a gigantic cull before we move back in to our house, and I want to. But as is always the case when I set out to have a massive declutter, as I systematically work my way through things, I get sentimental. I either don’t want to part with something because it means something in some way, or, I think I will have a use for it sometime in the future and the thought of discarding it, only to have to purchase something similar or identical in the future will have me regretting getting rid of it.
Please tell me I am not the only one who thinks like this!?
I watched the Minimalism Doco on Netflix last week. While I liked it’s core message and I’m all about it in terms of the crazy levels of consumerism that has become the norm in our world, I’m not aiming to live in a home with one lamp and one couch and have a drawer containing only 5 cooking utensils. I love the concept of a capsule closet too, but I’m not about to discard all my clothes to just live with a handful of garments. I just want to minimise from the maximus that I am currently stuck in.
This book arrived today. The timing is both crucial and perfect and I am grateful for it. I started flicking through the first few pages tonight after I put Beau down to sleep and I am looking forward to diving in head first later tonight.
I know we don’t need half the stuff we have. I know I would be happier with less clutter around me. I feel like often my impatience with my husband, and my children, comes from the mental and physical chaos I feel around me. I know, I know, I know. I just need to do.
I want 2017 to be the year of Less Is More. Hit me with your best “I can live without this” tactics. I need them all!