The Life of Things: Thoughts on Minimalism

This blog post is a part of the Cherished Blogfest that I stumbled across in my roaming around the WordPress community. Their writing prompt is “What object do I cherish the most?” Feel free to join the conversation and create your own post about this topic and add it to the linked list of participants– or if you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments! I thought their topic was appropriate and relevant to my life lately- happy writing and reading!

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More than ever I’ve been contemplating the accumulation of “stuff” I’ve holed up like a pack rat over the years. I think living at home after college truly can revert you back to your childhood in a weird time-capsule sort of way.

Yet, like me, it’s changed over the past 18-odd years, though the bones have stayed the same. I’ve piled my typewriter, journals, England memorabilia (this includes hotel pens that I’m terrified will run out of ink…  evidence showing my true hoarding capabilities), clothes, books, as well as so many other things that have meant something to me over the years. I’ve essentially collected objects that I’ve come to associate with who I am. Then I go in the Airstream and wonder how in the world I’m supposed to fit my entire life inside this aluminum-can-on-wheels. Do I think that if all these objects that have trailed me are gone, it will erase the history that I encapsulate inside them?

I think I have a gypsy heart some-days, itching to leave it all behind and be doing something else, restless for a change of scenery. Excited by the freedom of the future. Yet, here I am getting sentimental over a cheap plastic pen. I carry so much around with me. In essance, all these things that I collect around me have been given meaning beyond their physicality and even their usefulness.

One example is a gum tape dispenser (essentially a tape dispenser that holds wet tape) that belonged to my great-grandparent’s grocery store that I grew up in–napping in cardboard boxes, pricing canned goods, and playing “cashier” in the back stockroom/break room. I have absolutely no need for this heavy tape holder whatsoever. Yet, tears formed in my eyes when I was reunited with it. It’s as though just by looking at it, that special part of my childhood will continue to exist for me, even if other people can no longer experience it. I can still touch the store, a beautiful memory, and that means the world to me.

It needs some TLC on top of it all, too.

So as I start this journey of minimizing (because honestly, I think M will kick me out of the Airstream if I take that tape dispenser with me… unless I can find some useful purpose for it 😉), I’ve begun to wonder if it’s healthy to “cherish” things in this way. Perhaps all these things are just touchstones I’m clinging onto, afraid that I’ll lose a part of myself if I leave them behind.

I just need a little more square footage….😁

And so I’ll keep you posted on how I actively simplify through our renovating process, keeping these words from Eckhart Tollé in mind as I move forward:

“Most people’s lives are run by desire and fear.

Desire is the need to add something to yourself in order to be yourself more fully. All fear is the fear of losing something and thereby becoming diminished and being less.

These two movements obscure the fact that Being cannot be given or taken away. Being in its fullness is already within you, Now.”

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25 thoughts on “The Life of Things: Thoughts on Minimalism

  1. I would have a hard time parting with the tape dispenser. I have objects like that and I would rather find a place to keep them. Maybe it is a touchstone, but the memories are real and it brings them to life. I wish you luck in finding a balance between what you want / need to keep and how much space you have.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Dan – cohost – #CBF16

    • It’s definitely going to be a balance moving forward, and since it’s a temporary living situation (2-3 years or so) we’ve agreed to keep things we really can’t part with in storage if necessary for when we do have a slightly bigger home. I agree, some things are too priceless and worthy of making room, but it will be interesting to see what we truly don’t need. Thanks so much for reading!

  2. This post certainly hits home. I have a few packrat relatives, and I’m not exactly as free of “things” as I’d like to be. As they say, first you own your stuff, then your stuff owns you. But as you point out, it’s not that easy to just get rid of it, because so much of ourselves feels bound up in all those objects. I don’t blame you for holding on to that tape dispenser. Good luck on your journey!

    • It’s really crazy how attached you can get to things, especially if they remind you of places or people you may never see again. Being a naturally sentimental person makes it hard, but I think there can definitely be a balance. More than anything, I’m excited to see where that balance lies for me. It will be a challenge, but rewarding I’m sure. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  3. I can definitely relate to your post! We downsized considerably to move onto a sailboat and now pretty much everything has to serve a practical purpose, otherwise there just isn’t room for it. Looking forward to following your journey – always neat to find other people who live in tiny houses on land and water.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m definitely looking for all the inspiration I can. I go from zero-to-sappy in a heartbeat when it comes to people and inanimate objects. Even if someone names it jokingly, it’s always game over for me. 😉 I’m impressed that you were able to simplify it down to just a few things! Looking forward to your adventures, as well.

  4. Well, there’s always storage spaces you can rent and fill up…
    When I moved a few years ago, I had tons of boxes with stuff I didn’t even remember I had. It was quite an emotional journey to figure out what I really needed v what I wanted to keep. The local library was very happy when I dropped off a couple of boxes with various books and magazines, even if I still tearfully debated whether I won’t need that biology book (holding memories of an entire year) or an issue or two of my favourite magazine in the future.
    Good luck with sorting through it all. Oh, and I liked the quote from Eckhart Tollé.

    • Yes, storage is definitely going to be a saving grace in some ways. Though I’m going to have to be careful and not use it as a crutch (though I’m sure the monthly rent will keep me in check). It’s definitely an emotional experience that you wouldn’t necessarily expect until you experience it. Thanks so much for your kind words!

  5. I can relate to your post!! We love these material possessions because of the memories that are attached to them. So, even though we may never use some things, we cherish and treasure them for the happiness that filles our heart on seeing them!

    • It’s so true, and through reading everyone’s posts about their cherished objects, it’s so intriguing the range of cherished things and the vivid and inspiring memories they carry. Thanks for stopping by 😊

  6. I enjoyed your post. Last year I wrote a post on the “un-cherishing” of things. Four years ago I did a major life overhaul and sold everything. I now travel lightly with a suitcase and tablet. But I understand how hard it can be to let go of some things.

    • Oh, I envy your strength! My fiancé has essentially been living out of a suitcase since he started college, and his life does seem simpler in many ways because of it. Thanks so much for stopping by! There’s some things I’ll definitely keep in storage or with my parents (like old photos and what not), but I’d love to get closer to a “less is more” lifestyle.

      • Oh, that’s so true. While I’ve only experienced this on a small scale so far, I can tell that you definitely feel so much lighter and free. You don’t realize that those things were cluttering your mind, as well as your space. Or even the energy it takes in charging after a desire for more things. So, so true. Thank you for sharing your experience! Look forward to following your travels.

  7. Love it. I can find it hard to get rid of things. Maybe one of the things you cherish is growing, learning and becoming more free from the need to have some stuff. But keeping few photos isn’t much, and you have digital copies on this post now anyhow. 🙂

    • This is true, thank goodness for digital storage! That’s a great point–perhaps this year I cherish growing and freedom more than anything else. Love that perspective. Thank you so much for stopping by!

    • I’m sorry you went through a flood, but it sounds like it came with its own silver lining! It is crazy how quickly we can accumulate things, even though I know I’m going to be living in a small space, I’m still buying stuff… not a lot, but it’s still stuff I don’t need. It takes a huge mental shift to do it not only once, but to try and stick to it. Thanks so much for reading and stopping by!

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one! It’s definitely a great process of self-discovery in a way, and I know I will feel SO much better once I downsize. The challenge will be in actually doing it, but I can’t wait for the free feeling that follows. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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