About living with little





Lately, I have got to know experiences of people that are living (or trying to live) with less belongings. With an opposition to the western-world practice of accumulating stuff, they claim that getting rid of unnecessary objects makes us feel lighter and freer and allows us to live in the present with joy.

But what is it special of owning less? Carol Berge in her article The Woman in the Empty Room expresses that there is a belief in society that factors like the clothing we wear, the music we listen to, the books we read or even the colours we paint the walls in our homes define how we are. She argues that in a deeper level we are much more than what we have or what we consume and that all these things can easily confuse us make us less sensible to important aspects in life.

I think that the accumulation of objects, clothes, photos and other stuff creates established behaviours on us that in the long term can become a burden that does not allow us to move forward. We become static with labels and definitions that material things create.

In the recently popular Marie Kondo’s book the life changing magic of tidying up, it is explained a process step-by-step of how to empty your house of unnecessary objects. I haven’t read the book myself but I have got to know from experiences of other people how such apparently little practice can be life-changing.

Therefore, these days, back in my old room, I thought it would be a good opportunity to put the theory to practice. Looking around, I realized how many things had been standing on shelves or kept in drawers for years without anybody using them. My room used to have no space for more stuff and now I’m packing boxes of CD’s and books, giving away papers and cutlery, and putting on sell furniture that is now becoming empty. I haven’t finished the process yet but my room is already more comfortable and cosy.

However, I still feel a bit sceptical towards radical minimalism. I believe that objects like a photograph, a teddy bear or a little figure that have emotional value can give us security and strength in moments of doubt and uncertainty. Therefore, in order to not do actions that we can regret, I think that a process of dematerialization should be done slowly and fully consciously.

 

Colleen Berge's article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/colleen-berge/the-woman-in-the-empty-ro_b_9007046.html