I want to be clutter-free. I want to be so bold as to have empty spaces on my shelves and in my cupboards.
I want to live with less.
Alas, my daughter informed me the other day that I am definitely not a minimalist.
“You like stuff, mom,” she said, assuming that patient tone that adult children seem to acquire automatically when they are explaining things to their parents.
I say nothing.
The thing is I don’t really like stuff all that much, but I have, somehow, over the years, accumulated a lot of it.
And it’s not really my fault.
After her chat with me, I decided to Google the word; “minimalist” and I have to agree with her that neither my husband nor myself fit that category in any way, shape or form.
I look helplessly at the seven remotes we have for our television and I sigh hopelessly.
Why in the world do we have seven? I wonder.
Many years ago when we were young and wise in the way young people are wise, we had very little in the way of possessions.
Of course, we didn’t care because we were young and ambitious and we were just going to get ahead. After all, that’s what people do when they are just starting out.
They get ahead.
At that time in my life, I had no idea we were minimalists and that was a good thing. I thought we were just broke.
The school of thought of living with less had not really surfaced in the ‘70s. In fact, I think the mentality of more is good was quite popular and very much in keeping with the ‘getting ahead’ philosophy.
Anyway, we sailed through those years and as the babies came along so did the stuff.
I felt like we were truly getting ahead.
Less benevolent people might have called it ‘living beyond our means.’ But somehow a mortgage, car payments and growing children all seemed to fit together neatly into one package. And it seemed all our friends had at least two of the above and, in most cases, they had all three.
But that was then and this is now.
The kids have long since moved out and the drive to get ahead and accumulate more possessions seems to belong to another era.
But, in the meantime it seems I have somehow accumulated all these possessions that do little but cause clutter and remind me, if the children haven’t already, that I have too much stuff.
In a rather feeble attempt to eliminate some of the ‘stuff’ I have laid claim to over the years I had a garage sale earlier this summer. With great enthusiasm I hauled the stuff out to my front yard and with considerably less enthusiasm I hauled much of it back in.
Not a lot of people wanted to claim any of my cast off possessions as their very own treasures, apparently.
I was somewhat comforted the other day when my teenage granddaughter snapped several pictures of items in my home including a set of Russian dolls on top of the China cabinet and a painting my husband had done of two wine glasses perched invitingly beside a wine bottle. She put the pictures on Snap chat with the caption: my grandparent’s house is so cute!
I thought of all those years of struggling to get ahead and ending up with a cute house and a great many things that seem to do little more than cause clutter.
I smile, wryly!
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.