About a year ago, my mom comes over, the conversation went something like this:
Mom (her eyes scanning my kitchen): “You really have a lot of stuff.”
Me “Would you please stop going through my kitchen drawers?”
Mom “I’m just checking to see if you have any of my cutlery. I’m missing two spoons”
I consider the irony in this comment as we move to my indoor studio area.
This is where shit gets a little ugly. My studios are a direct extension of myself. They are, well, happy places.
She scans the room again, this time her eyes landing on my work bench where I have pliers and boxes of gemstones and beads organized by color, and then moving to the floor where my 100lb lab has left happy footprints from our hike earlier. She seems to be thinking, my mother, and that’s usually not a great sign under the circumstances.
Mom “You know Natty, this room would be so much brighter without all of the stuff.”
She always seems to forget I am sort of like a vampire. Sunlight is lovely, sure, but I prefer clouds most of the time.
Me “You really do not understand Mom. Every single thing in this room serves a purpose. That desk? It may look cluttered to you but it’s where I make jewelry. Those strange looking lamps? Special bulbs to take pictures of what I make. That storage area? It’s full of packing supplies used to safely pack the jewelry. It’s my job.”
She still struggles with the notion that I turned my back on University and decided to do what I love instead.
Mom “I know that. It’s just, nevermind -”
Me “No, tell me. I hate when you do that”
Mom “Do what? I’m simply giving you my opinion”
Me “You have given me this opinion every single time you have been here and my reaction to your opinion has never changed”
My mom and I – often at odds.
About 9 months ago I stumble across a blog on this thing called Minimalism and took a good look at my surroundings.
I started asking myself questions about what I own:
Does this item bring me joy?
If not, would it bring someone else joy or value?
Have I worn this in the last six months?
Do I really need 12 towels when I live alone?
Shit, is this the cutlery my mother was looking for?
Soon I had boxes of items to donate. I had bags of clothes to give to people who needed them. My dog doesn’t seem to notice he no longer has 8 different collars and 12 different leashes.
I start eating healthier. I stopped eating meat and started cooking. Like a proper adult, I thought to my 32 year old self.
My sister now asks me if I am going to buy a tiny house soon – the minimalist cliche – and I tell her my dog is too large. Plus, I’m not sure how you heat those damn things.
My mother, having been so concerned by my “stuff”, now asks me if I plan to “keep anything.” I stifle a laugh.
My father, always a good sport but a bit sick of dropping off boxes of my belongings to charities, doesn’t understand either.
Dad “Why are you getting rid of your toaster?”
Me “I don’t use it Dad. Do you really think it looks attractive on the counter?”
Apparently, owning a toaster is exceedingly important if one is to succeed in life. And don’t get me started on the controversy surrounding owning a microwave. . .
I went to visit my mother yesterday. She was in the midst of “de-cluttering”, surrounded by garbage bags and boxes full of items to donate.
Me “Hmmm. You’re minimizing!”
Mom “I am the original minimalist.”
I laugh. She is surrounded by silly CD’s she is deciding whether to keep or give away.
She asks me if she should keep “The Best of Michael Jackson” and I ask her if this is a trick question. It’s not, apparently.
I ask her: Does that CD bring you joy?
She replies: Uh, No.
And in the bag it goes.
At the end of the day, it’s just stuff.
Until Next Time,