Stuff surrounds us. We come into the world naked, and immediately begin to acquire things. A comforter. A stuffed rabbit. A book that squeaks when you press it. And they just keep coming, some more permanent than others.
Recently my son came home for the summer. Along with the changed dynamic I wrote about before, came lots and lots of his stuff.
Bags and boxes and consoles and a TV and a mini fridge now clutter the house, the overspill his bedroom can’t accommodate. Where did it all come from? How does an apparently impecunious student acquire so much stuff?
In my student days, my entire life fitted in the back of a small car. I remember wearing approximately four outfits and one pair of boots for most of my third year, because clothes cost money and I refused to wear secondhand. I didn’t need five pairs of Adidas trainers, but I guess life is different now.
We had so little when we moved into this house from a much smaller place. I dreamed of wardrobes in every bedroom. The years brought more possessions and less breathing space. I’m no minimalist but still I grow restless, hemmed in and surrounded by acquisitions.
Sometimes I feel like a hermit crab whose shell is so heavy with accretions that it can no longer move forward.
How much is enough?
Sorting through all those bags and boxes will be exhausting. But it must and will happen. I want to tread lightly, without the weight of excess possessions. We can discuss want vs. need when buying things and the fact that his gear has to stay within his (large) bedroom without encroaching on shared space.
There’s a happy medium between “one rucksack and a laptop” and “an episode of Hoarders.” I never want to feel trapped by things that need upkeep and dusting and bring back sometimes unwelcome memories. Things that have no utility are burdens, and nobody needs more of that.
It’s time for a ruthless edit.
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.