I am a big fan of home renovation and decorating programs. One of the trends I find particularly intriguing is that of minimalism. In its simplest terms it is where you get rid of your junk. Now I like the concept but the reality is untenable, at least for me. I like my stuff.
I recently had a friend over to my place and we were talking about decorating and I was explaining the history behind, well, everything. Perhaps it is my nature but everything I own seems to have a story. There are the very heavy bookends that my father bought before I was born. They are horse heads and I’ve always loved them. Or the China horses I collected when I was small child. Of the many I did have only a few have survived the 50 odd years they’ve been around.
Then there are my paintings. I have a lot of them. I actually change them seasonally because I get bored easily. There are the chairs that used to belong to my grandmother or the one chair at my front door that I used for my first attempt at camping. It is a beautiful, hand carved wooden chair that I put a blanket over top of and pretended I was camping. That’s my history.
Of course, the other problem is, I like things. I like pretty things. I like wooden bowls and metal bowls and handmade . . . bowls? Oh my good heavens! I collect bowls! See, pretty creeps up on me. Most of these bowls are bought from a company that engages in Fair Trade. They’re not out to make a big profit for themselves. The artisan that makes the item is paid a portion upfront and then when the item is sold, they get more. I feel good about shopping there. I feel less guilty about buying a unique item that is handmade and, well, pretty.
Would my life be better if I had less stuff? The proponents of minimalism believe so. I’m afraid I don’t. Yes, there is the concept of having too much stuff. Look at any program on hoarding and you will understand. I’m not a hoarder. But I do keep my stuff. I put things into boxes and now and then I pulled them out to exchange them with what is on display now. I like being reminded of my past, of the people that were important to me and that helped to mold me into the person I am today. And, I like my stuff.