I am not a minimalist.
I have tried in the past but failed as it left me feeling cold and unattached, lonelier than I already am.
I love my Grandma’s cloths on my tables, piles of boardgames in the lounge ready to be played at a moment’s notice and generations of books on bookshelves in every room but my bedroom, where shoes, jewellery and my favourite dresses take centre stage.
Plus there isn’t a wall in our home that isn’t covered in art or family photographs.
Having things around me, things with meaning and beauty and a story, brings me joy.
Having things round me makes me feel part of something wider; part of a world I have always struggled to feel a part of.
I have read so many books on decluttering, so many blogs on simple living, so many times that to get rid is to free yourself. But memories cannot be held and photographs are wonderful things but they cannot, like my Grandpa’s tobacco pouch’s lingering scent, whisk me straight back to his kitchen table (which now sits in my kitchen) where we sat for hours listening to his stories of Burma and his life with my Nanna.
I feel lost without rows of books I can open and hold and read to my son, as they were once read to me, my aunt and my mother. My bookshelves hold the knowledge and dreams of my childhood, my education, my interests, my history. Nowadays I tend to buy my books in charity shops and redonate most of them after I have read them, but I cannot imagine letting go of the books that mean something to me
I keep my collection of mismatched china in racks by the sink and after washing them place them facing me in the drainer as the sight of them makes me smile and makes washing up, a job I loath, that little bit more joyful. If one piece of my china collection breaks I do get upset, especially if it was a piece from my childhood, but I go out and replace it with another single piece and am afterwards happy using that daily. I don’t have to worry about what to do if I or Small Boy breaks one of a set as, with the exception of a few family pieces, I don’t own sets.
My favourite outfit at the moment is a cherry red polka dot dress that I like to wear with a cozy moss green cardigan, a wide mustard yellow woven belt and magenta, yellow and nude leather heels. I don’t think I’ve ever worried whether something I like to wear matches something else I want to wear before putting it on; I just wear it…and it always works.
I shop with my heart and I buy things that speak to my soul; pieces that make my eyes shine. Then I put them with the things that I already own and love and the grouping works because they are all part of what makes me happy.
They are not simply things, they are part of me and part of our home.
I am reducing our waste not by reducing what I want to have around us, but rather by bringing into our lives only what I love, by selling or donating things that I don’t and by buying what little I do buy secondhand.
And by attempting to teach my son to do the same.