On Friday I got home to find the house was a mess. I know that sounds like the sentence of a mum but that is essentially my role at home. It’s complicated. The problem is that there are four men and only one of them has OCD, the others have twigged this and know that everything will be done to a far greater level than any of their efforts if they just leave it for long enough. I get fed up with stacks of stuff laying about everywhere that we don’t need or use. I believe Ben at Life Rapture is at least partly responsible for opening my mind to minimalist living. While I haven’t gone to the impressive extent he has (I’m sorry Ben, I love paperback books and vinyl too much) it did make me realise that the amount of ‘stuff’ in our lives is disproportionate to the amount we use and need. It’s very difficult proving this to people. I’ll give you an example that I’ve probably used before.
In March I was introduced to Charity:Water who run a campaign where you can donate your birthday to their charity so instead of your friends buying you things that are nice but that aren’t essential to your life you get them to donate to Charity:Water (the standard donation is your age in pounds) and then you get updates with what your money has done. I shared this news with a group of people I work with one lunchtime, and told them how annoyed I was that I’d only learnt about the charity a month after my birthday. One of them said:
‘Yeah, I’d rather have the stuff’.
So that’s the kind of thought pattern I’m up against when I say that we don’t need all of the objects and material items we surround ourselves with, how the stuff you own ends up owning you (thanks Tyler Durden) and so I set to work emptying out the understairs cupboard. My dad hates it when I get in these obsessive cleaning moods because he has to orchestrate otherwise I will literally bin everything and he has a habit of leaving MOT certificates, life insurance documents, money, just laying about and I’ll sweep away the lot if he turns his back.
I am slowly teaching him though, in the same way I was slowly taught. You can just take one small area, and you can clear out 90% of the stuff stored in it. You don’t think about the bigger picture of how to clear out a four bedroom house, you just think of that cupboard under the stairs and everything else will fall into place. ‘No possessions’ as John once said.