In Search of the Simple Life

I have too much stuff.

I’m not a hoarder. And I’d never before given much thought about the amount of things I own. Clothes, for example, are a necessity; whilst it might be comfortable to lounge around in one’s birthday suit when home alone, nudity is impractical for daily life. Plus, I come from a tradition where there are – let’s call them sub-divisions – of clothing. I have clothes for work, clothes for church, clothes for play, clothes for formal events. Add matching shoes, handbags and belts to the aforementioned. I even have six pairs of house slippers – who needs six pairs of those?

Then there’re my passions, my hobbies, if you will. Over 150 books – not counting the ones I never unpacked that are still stored in boxes in the loft (mainly to spare me the expense of buying more bookcases). My CD collection, which currently numbers 400 even. Two hundred vinyl LPs in mint condition.

And my favourite thing – which also happens to be the bane of my existence – my movie collection, a tad under 3,000 DVDs along with 24 videocassettes of old films that never made it onto DVD.

And all of this is not scattered willy-nilly throughout my home; everything sits in perfect alphabetical order on shelves that are dusted weekly.

I love all this stuff; if it’s in my house, then I bought it because it was something I wanted, because I loved it.

So where’s this comin’ from?

I’m not sure. I think it’s a combination of things. I was cleaning my house last weekend and wanted to move the furniture around, but the eight bookcases in my living room made it kinda impossible. And, I wanna totally redecorate: new paint, new wallpaper – I wanna go minimalist, but rows and rows of books and DVDs and CDs would overwhelm any minimalist look I tried to establish. But the biggest reason is that I’ve gotten older, and I feel a real need to de-clutter, to downsize – to simplify my life as much as possible.

Thus I’ve begun the process of jettisoning, using two guidelines:

• how much joy does watching this film/reading this book/listening to this CD bring me?
• do I watch this film/read this book/listen to this CD more than three times a year?

I’ve been relentless in this process – the DVDs have been culled down to two bookcases (one large, one small). I’m currently working on the books. Knowing my love of gadgets, my boyfriend bought me a Kindle for my birthday two years ago. And while I love it (mainly because hegave it to me), I’m afraid I’m a bit of a purist: I like the feel of a new book in my hands, the smell of the pages, the physical act of turning the pages. Kindles are really useful when travelling, but – to me – they feel weird when you’re using one to read in bed. So I’m not having much success in culling the books, though I did manage to throw out the unpacked boxes of books in the loft.

I’m determined to keep at it. Hopefully I can manage to de-clutter everything before Christmas, so I can get the proper big tree I’ve always wanted.

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