So you have seen the articles about people de-cluttering their lives to the point of their homes being barely recognizable. And how about those stories of people who sell their house to move into a converted trailer, or a tiny floating home made from a surplus military vessel?
I think those are really inventive and cool. But I also think they are a very acquired taste, and not right for everybody. I too have been tempted by the idea of packing the basics into a camper van and making a break for it. And who knows, I still could do that one day. But I know that I also really enjoy the feeling of living in a house.
Little reminders of your life
There is something comforting about living in a space that is our own – and one bigger than a van or a boat. And there is something reassuring about that place being full of you; your belongings, your taste in furniture, little reminders of your life.
Truth be told, I really do not like clutter. It is a dust magnet, and tripping over piles of stuff makes me feel disorganized, distracted, and frankly a bit irritable. But on the other hand, I don’t really enjoy being somewhere that you can’t put your mug of coffee down because it will look out of place in an otherwise perfectly sterile space.
Unhealthy outlet for perfectionism
I think that over-the-top minimalism in our homes can be an unhealthy outlet for perfectionism and neuroses. Have you ever visited a house where you were scared to sit on the sofa in case you creased the fabric? It is not homely, is it?
Our homes are where we live, and we need to be able to live comfortably. It is about balance. The thing that worries me about the minimalist movement is the perceived pressure that we should all be doing it. This idea is too prescriptive and ‘one size fits all.’
Read also – Could More Money Really Lead to More Problems?
Those mismatched pieces of furniture have a story to tell
Psychologists in the field of memory research recommend surrounding yourself with mementos and familiarity as you get older. It is often noticed in the elderly that being in their own homes that are filled with pieces of their own lives, is great for their memory.
As elderly people are uprooted in later life to live in sheltered accommodation and nursing homes, the stress of moving coupled with the change of environment is often noticed to be detrimental to their mental health, and their memory starts to decline. Those mismatched pieces of furniture, and the many framed pictures and ornaments all have a story to tell. I think there is something to be learned in this for all of us.
I am comforted by being at home
So what about us twenty and thirty-somethings? Well, as a thirty-something, I know that I am comforted by being at home. The familiar surroundings, the memories, and even very small amounts of clutter can be reassuring to me.
The economy is so uncertain now. Our jobs do not come with a real sense of security anymore. So I think its nice to have something that feels like a constant when everything else is changing fast.
For me, that is my home. It is my island in a fast moving stream. Yes, I rent, I do not own. And yes, it is not really mine, nor is it really permanent. But I will be here long enough to feel the benefits of staying in one place for a while. I can relax, unwind, and make myself comfortable in my surroundings.
Read also – 6 Tips for Women Trying to Start a Life Abroad
And this for me is a source of strength that I can draw on whenever there is another kind of big change in my life. So think twice before parting with your memories and home comforts, they are more important than we might give them credit for.