I’d like to take a moment to talk a little bit more about moving, and a person’s relationship with the things they own.
This is something I spend a fair bit of time thinking about in general, (and have written more than one song about) but I’ve spent even more time thinking about it lately as I recently moved halfway across the world’s second largest country with all of my things. Furniture, a music studio, shoes and clothes, dishes, my husband’s math books, plus all the stuff that comes along with having hobbies and a kitchen etc. All wraped up carefully in bubble wrap and stuffed into a truck.
When we decided to move back to Newfoundland and were figuring out how to get our stuff here, multiple people suggested we just get rid of everything. I understand completely how appealing that thought can be, but I’m pleased to say that I’ve reached the magical point where I like all my stuff. (Not to mention the cost in time and money of getting rid of then replacing everything would be infinitely more exhausting and expensive then packing up and moving.)
I’ve gone through various stages of minimalism in my time. My dream home is still Jeff Bridge’s apartment in Tron: Legacy, but me and my husband have interests and hobbies and stuff, which means we have stuff, so I’ve needed to figure out how to meld the two. (short answer is you go out and get adequate shelves)
As a child, my older brother started the Bleak Reality Club, and I was it’s only member. We were all about minimalism and being Stark. I don’t recall if that lasted very well or very long, but maybe it made something stick. In my early 20s I went through my first real purging session of trying to give away all my things. I had managed to accumulate way too much stuff, particularly knick-knacks, books, cds, and clothes. I have good friends, and they made sure I wasn’t prepping to commit suicide before accepting my CDs.
In Montreal I lived without much in the way of furniture for many years as furniture takes up too much space in a one bedroom apartment. My dream home has invisible furniture that can be dispersed when not needed. I loved playing with Barbie as a kid, and rather than give me unrealistic ideals about beauty, I believe she gave me unrealistic ideals about home furnishings. All Barbie’s furniture converted into other things and could be neatly stowed away when not in use. (kind of like this)
I followed the zen habits blog for a long time, and read every book on decluttering I could get my hands on. (Always from the library, or on an ereader. Do I ever love ereaders!) One of my favourites is “Throw Out Fifty Things” by Gail Blanke. Some time after reading this, I picked up yet another book on the subject that had a check-list to determine if you needed to read it or not. One of the options was: You are so good at throwing things out that you have thrown out all your own things and have started throwing out other peoples things. I was at that point. So I gave it a rest.
The absolute best book on the subject though is Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and it’s follow up Spark Joy in which she clarifies what she was telling us in the first book. Mainly that she didn’t tell you to throw out all your things, she told you to get rid of the things you don’t need and don’t like or that make you feel bad, and to display the things you do like and store the things you need.
So now I’m in my new permanent digs. I spent the past year in a series of temporary digs and it’s very nice to be settled somewhere. There are trees and cows and many bodies of water. Coyotes and rabbits too. It is quite a bit different from my apartment in Montreal, but it is good. Now I have to arrange all my things and find them homes within my home.