Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Watching the tide go out

I have a 'soft' rule that each new thing coming into the house needs to have two things going out so there is a net decrease on possessions. I am not making this a revolution, but an evolution; as and when I feel ready.

To do that, I try to go through one 'space' each week in the house. That 'space' might be a single drawer some weeks, or half a room in another. This also applies to the office.

When parting with things, I am not rushing into divorce. Instead, I put the items into 'the waiting room', which is an intermediary space for me to think about it until I am happy that I have disconnected from them emotionally (my 'waiting room' is the spare room). Then I can decide objectively what the next best place for those things to go is.

Where things go to from the waiting room is varied. I pass things which I am not using to friends, volunteer groups or charity shops. I will try to sell some items if, (a) they have resale value, and (b) I have time. That is where the waiting room comes in handy: if I hear that someone needs something, while I am thinking about when and how to part with an item in the waiting room, I can give that thing to meet a specific need. This is the most rewarding aspect of purging possessions.

Additionally, I am trying to purchase as much as possible myself from second-hand sources. This is shifting my mindset to 'renting' items, as opposed to owning them. If we rent them, we know it is temporary. When we own them, we have a much more permanent mental hold on them.

My aim is to end up with fewer possessions, as naturally as the tide turns, over time. To have some empty spaces, and to not feel a need to rush in and fill those spaces with stuff. To break with unnecessary buying.

It is quite liberating, knowing that the high-tide mark is a millimetre further out each week.


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