Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Own less, live free

Before I left Finland in January, I was in the midst of a lenghty process called "decluttering." There I was, buried under my belongings, treasures and collections -of what? I don't even know. Of stuff. Yet I was just about to pack up my life again, carrying along only my favorites.

So. Back in Finland I unpacked some old cardboard boxes just to re-pack them again to give away. I gathered all my hippie-wippie necklaces, bracelets and earrings I never wore: yes they were cute, but totally useless -to me that is. I went through binders of paper and documents, reducing them into one instead of six, and I emptied whole drawers, discovering they were full but contained absolutely nothing. I also put away things that were nice, but not great, and things that used to be of importance, but were not so any longer. Some of the stuff I had was just pure rubbish and as much as I felt relieved by simply throwing them away, I also experienced waves of nausea thinking how much shit does this humanity produce, hoard and then dumb off. (I have such an ambivalent relationship with bins: getting rid of trash is good, but after all you are just re-locating it from your own nooks to a collective dump pit. It doesn't disappear, it binds all the energy in it's useless misery there as it did at the bottom of your unexplored drawers and mysterious attics. Mountains of sadness.)

Things need to change, and not simply by decluttering of what you already have, but affecting on the whole process prior it happens. I kept shaking my head in front of my own material gluttony. Why did I have these things? Why had I wanted to have them? Did they ever serve a purpose of any kind? We so-called adults seem to be such smarties when taking a note of all the toys and games kids have and how most of the bits of plastic are attractive only as new, only for a few days, only until the next trend of superheroes hits in. Yet we fail to notice we are doing the exact same thing ourselves, and in a much greater volume. And I'm not even thinking about the big things! Just starting up with clothing, electronics, decorative bits, kitchen ware, little things that we collect.. It's like we've got all too confused somewhere along the line and started to think that owning and having means living. How many coffee cups do you actually need at the end, let alone whole services? How much space do they take -and how much space are you ready to make for them? Do you fit into your house, or do you feel oppressed when you open your front door because the place called home is simply so cramped?

Feeling like a winner already at the first steps of my decluttering marathon back in January, I said to myself I should be able to get through this year without buying any new items of clothing. No, I actually said to myself I won't buy any new clothing this year. And? Well I have failed. Yes, already. I knew I would have to get other things along the line, but my ward-robe seemed to be complete. It's only April and here I am, already failed, letting myself be driven by impulses, wants and needs created in a whim. So I am no saint here. I am not living the way I would like to, and that is the most painful bit -failing myself. I consume. And I do it excessively, too. Hello nauseous waves, here you are again!

Good news is I feel I'm on the right path. Maybe at the very beginning, but heading to the right direction. And yes, there are few totally silly errs and some totally excessive wants on my list of things I have bought this year, I can see them all too clearly. But becoming conscious of them instead of declining is a start. I could probably explain my way out of the skirts in two different colors, or even the envelope handbag, but at the end I would be just trying to fool myself there. The bottom line is I got stuff, I buy stuff. So what is to be done next? What did I already say?

Oh yes. Getting rid of artificial needs and trying to cut out the clutter before it even gets into clutter. Not getting too attached to material objects. And when buying something, making a choice that lasts, both in terms of materials and ideals. Yes. That is my guideline.

Own less and live free.

(Edit: Came back and tried to make it shorter..)

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