I have recently read a delightful article about the current obsession with minimalism and the need to get rid of ‘stuff’ to achieve the fashionable look of a spare and minimalist interior in our homes. The article, written by Dominique Browning in the New York Times, presents a different view to this trend and I have to say, I like some of what she says! She argues the case for keeping, rather than getting rid of, the collected ‘things’ we have accumulated during our life. That is to say, she is not espousing for everyone to be a hoarder but simply stating a case for keeping our most treasured and collected objects as mementos of our life’s journey. She writes that she has “somehow transmogrified myself into my stuff”. She believes that this actually happens. “We were meant to be together, and the cells from my sweaty palms, or the eye beams from my covetous gaze, will reside in my things forever”. For this reason she hopes to pass on her ‘treasures’ to the next generation in the family. I particularly love her analogy of our homes with birds nests.
Browning continues: “Nests are full of twigs, bits of fluff, string, moss and bark. Stuff birds take home and fit to the shape that accommodates their lives. Some birds even press their warm bodies against their stuff as they are making their nests, molding them to the shape of their breasts, so that they feel like … home. A home that is uniquely theirs and uniquely beloved”.
pinned from slate.com
We live in a home that is a bit like a birds nest and we are currently in the process of trying to de-clutter a little but Dominique Browning’s insights have reminded me that throughout this process of sorting through one’s ‘stuff’ there is a reason that we have accumulated these objects, books, stones and feathers, shells and mementos. They are what makes our home distinctly ours. They are the tangible (and intangible) treasures of our life’s journey and we still want them to be a part of our lives. They bring us pleasure and a wealth of memories to share. All this, of course, means that the pile of ‘keep’ items is a tad larger than the ‘get rid of’ pile.