This week I visited my parents’ holiday house for the second time this year, but the first time since I started to do some serious reading on minimalism. It gave me a good opportunity to examine how my thinking has changed.
I have always loved spending time there – it’s in a quiet area, by a rocky beach. The TV doesn’t get turned on much, and if my parents are there we will almost always play a game of cards after dinner. There are rock pools, bays and surf within walking distance. As the weather turns cool a view of the ocean out the front forms a back drop for endless hours of book reading. It’s a simple place to be.
What I noticed this time, however, was that holiday houses tend to become a retirement home for our stuff. Somewhere between usefulness and the junk yard these items find their way into cupboards, shelves and drawers in our holiday homes. I found myself itching to return the jars of shells to the beach and gather up the dusty books, unread for so many years, to be donated to the local book sale. I peeked into each nook and cranny in my old bedroom and was horrified to find the junk I’d transferred there as a ten year old still remained. I spent some time throwing away balls of old blue tack and rusty paper clip chains. There was a bottle of deodorant at least 15 years old. Who knows how long the moisturiser had been there?
Driving by many other holiday homes I spied through windows dusty vases on sills, whole rooms of standing fans, sunrooms overfilled with cane furniture and dusty house plants. It seems that the holiday house phenomenon is not particular to my parents’ house.
Once I would have seen the charm in these dust catchers. I don’t any more. I’m not sure whether to spend some time mourning the loss of that part of who I am. This really is a major shift in my mindset, and not something I expected at all from the BNN year. While this is something that is certainly exciting it’s also left me feeling a little sad. I hope when I am done with my decluttering and the 2-4-1 challenge ends I don’t look around and feel a little empty.
Three steps forward, two steps back.