My adventure with minimalism
started quite a few years ago. But to see the whole way I must make, I should tell you a long story. And I’m saying I must make it because it is an ongoing process. In fact, it is a journey to wanting minimalism.
I grew up in the home
where everything was kept for later use. It came from many reasons, but the most important of them was that my grandma was from a quite rich, middle-class family before the war. During the war, they lost almost everything. Part of the way of displaying ones’ wealth was to have good china and tableware, and lots of ornaments. She kept everything that survived. Including chipped figurines, leftovers of china sets and tattered fabrics. Part sentimental, part clinging on to the lost status, part necessity.
After the war, Poland got this economic miracle called communism. There were often shortages of basic things and when something was available- you bought it. It didn’t matter if you needed it or not, like 15 sets of cutleries (serious!), because for 3 occasions in a lifetime there will be more than 50 people for dinner. And you kept things because you could always make them into something else. This principle applied to everything, from food to shoes.
From when I remember
I always had a lot of things. A lot of them belonged to my parents and were placed in my room. Clothing was chosen by my mother (we do not share the taste) and my room was over decorated with religious pictures. This state of affairs lasted until I became a teenager.
I fought hard to choose my own clothes and religious pictures were replaced with music bands posters. But the number of things was overwhelming, as we only ever added new stuff and hid old one. Never got rid.
Coincidently at the same time communism was replaced with democracy and its twin capitalism. Everything was available in abundance. Mainly cheap and cheerful, as we couldn’t afford too expensive as a country overall, but more staff was acquired.
Things changed for me personally
when I move away from home. Due to the limited finances, I could only afford small places. Small places meant talking only necessary things. Then, I realized I have a problem. I did not know how to pack, how to choose and how to live without. This knowledge came with frequent changing of addresses, but still, I managed to acquire more stuff with every move, instead of getting rid.
The absolute pinnacle of my minimalism came on the 16.09.2006 – that day I came to live in the UK with just one suitcase, and half of its content belonged to my daughter. 11 years on and my possessions are overwhelming me again. I have furniture, appliances, lots of books, a garden shed full of my jams and pickles. And I want to cry. I miss that suitcase. When I really think about it, I miss that freedom. Freedom to just pack up and go and start over. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my life and my family. I just want a different view from the window in the morning and sound of waves instead of cars.
To do that we still need to get rid of some stuff, but at least we got started. I realized where my problems come from and work on them. Different to my mum and grandma I don’t keep extra cutlery or china dinner set just for guests. Partly because I don’t want to, partly because I deserve to have the best for myself too. There is still area when this ingrained need for stashing for a rainy day comes out, but I’m fighting it.
As a bonus, feature photo is of me exactly 11 years ago.
The goal of minimalism today.