Earlier this year my boyfriend and I talked about moving house. We currently stay in a beautiful (but very small) apartment and we were both longing for somewhere which had more space. We spent evenings on the computer, trawling the internet for something which suited our taste and budget. On Sundays we went to show houses, and every spare minute I had I was on Pinterest searching for ideas for how to decorate this imaginary new home. Despite our efforts the new house has not yet materialised. To be honest we couldn’t find something which was perfect for us, and I became completely overwhelmed by the thought of buying, moving and fixer-upping. So we put it on hold, until we know for certain where life is taking us.
But here’s the thing. In my mind I had equated a new house to a new start. An entirely different space which could have grey walls and white windows and plenty of closed cupboard doors behind which we could store all our ‘stuff’. In clear plastic boxes. With printed labels. In alphabetical order. Clearly I’m a neat-freak at heart. In the short time in which we’ve been living together we seem to have amassed a substantial amount of things, which explode from every drawer and cupboard. I loathe clutter but I’ve had to become a bit more used to things not being perfectly put all the time. Organised chaos is bound to exist when two people and a cat live in a small space. Nevertheless, even though I have reached this state of semi-acceptance I had eagerly anticipated walking into a new house, completely devoid of mess and disarray, and filling it only with the stuff we really wanted. The stuff we really needed.
So, to appease myself that we didn’t need a new house for a new start, I went to Woolies and bought myself six grey and white mugs. And a new white bath mat. And some beautiful minimalist white frames for the mantlepiece. Do you see what I’m doing here? I just told you how much I hate unnecessary stuff, and then I went and bought more stuff. Yeah, I see the irony too. But isn’t that what we’ve been taught our entire lives? That material things bring you the pleasure you desire. Spend 40 hours a week at work so you can afford to buy more stuff you don’t really need. Materialism is king, and if you don’t like what you have you can just buy something else. Ergh. We sit all day on Instagram and Pinterest, envying other people’s (fake) perfect lives, homes and relationships. And because we think that’s what we want, we go and buy the things we think we need in order to make it happen.
Usually, the desire for more things comes from something far deeper than just needing a new vessel from which you drink tea. It comes from a deeper longing for more in life. More adventure. More love. More time. But because it’s easier to shop online than it is to discover what your heart is really longing for, we keep accumulating things we don’t really want.
So in between all of this, I came to this conclusion. I love my home because of who I share it with. The process of creating our life together is far more important than creating the perfect home. And I am grateful every day that I have a roof over my head and a comfortable bed in which to sleep. No, my home is not pin-worthy. But that doesn’t make it any less of a home. I am hoping to slowly but surely start de-cluttering our apartment. And then to not reclutter it with stuff! It can be so difficult to look at images on social media and say “I’m OK with not having that”. I’m trying to look at those beautiful pins of perfectly pristine grey and white apartments as inspiration, and not aspiration.
Less really is more, more or less.
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