Recently I have taken a moment of pause, appreciating the steps I have been taking to rid my life of unnecessary things. Steps like a commitment to saving money. Because just four months into my new job, I cleared all of my monthly bills (my day to day living expenses are covered through my job). I paid off a year on my storage unit. Ok, it’s not gone entirely but at least rent is covered for a while. I also paid off both of my credit cards. Hooray! Kudos to me. How lovely is that feeling to know that when I’m too busy scrambling to work out what day it is, I don’t need to work out what the date is as well to see if I’m early or late to pay bills. Unwanted bills at that. Continue reading
The word ‘magazine’ conjures up a love/hate relationship for me, more on the side of emotional torment and felled trees and propaganda these days, rather than the love and dedication I once showed my favourite publications. Magazines have been marketed toward women for a long time. In Australia, the Australian Women’s Weekly is an 80 year old bible for mature women everywhere. Other magazines didn’t come along until much, much later. In my house growing up there was always the AWW and the two tabloids, New Idea and Woman’s Day. As a major novel reader, glossy magazines were like lunchtime fodder to me, and I would flip through them regularly. I’m not sure when the music magazines like Smash Hits and then TV Hits began appearing, maybe at age 9 or 10, but suffice to say, there were a lot of magazines around me. Probably partly because my friend’s dad owned the newsagency we stopped at every day after school.
Building a mountain
My earliest memories of reading magazines involved things like horoscopes, regular columns and song lyrics. I definitely collected wall posters from their centrefolds. Those along with the song lyrics comprise part of the earliest evidence of my ‘snippets’ from magazines. Unfortunately, over a space of around three decades, a mountain of magazine paper grew in my storage, for no reasons other than memory collecting, references to information and inspiration. When a pile of papers takes that long to build, eradicating them becomes a long, drawn-out journey. Hence the love/hate relationship. Continue reading
Like last week’s programs and newspaper pile, another inherited collecting habit from my parents, and indeed a common habit of many, is movies. I have like most people, a biggish DVD collection and, due to my move overseas when they were still in vogue, a biggish collection of video cassettes too. After going through university with other impoverished but tech-savvy, much younger students and living a year in a hostel among travelling backpackers, I also have acquired an additional 400 odd movies for my hard drive too. Combined, I have amassed a huge amount of films. Don’t even get me started on the TV show collection! Continue reading
Earlier this year as I looked at different blogs by hoarders and minimalists, I stumbled across Sandy of Hoarder Comes Clean, a lady to whom I relate rather well. She’s a hoarder like me trying to sort and minimise a lifetime’s worth of stuff. Two particular posts of hers stood out – her disposal of some 200-300 theatre programs (read here and here). This is what blogging is all about, I thought with glee – reading the personal stories of people I can identify with as having the same collections in common. Continue reading
I would like to say I was organised enough to ensure some delightful Easter reading content was ready for you but alas, I have been busy with work and online university assignments and now we are travelling and my work hours are longer.
So it seems apt to instead wish you all a Happy Easter however you will celebrate, being Good Friday. I like the idea, the irony, that this is the day where I have been forced to take pause. Continue reading
Since the start of this blog in January I have shared with you the story of my stuff, what I collected, how I shipped it around the world with me, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way – mostly motivations to downsize the clutter and the costs and the emotional toll. From here on, the blog moves into its more intended purpose, reflecting on different elements of minimalism, decluttering, hoarding, travelling with stuff and finding a life more balanced and true.
The first such topic is what I call my inventory list.
I have always been a list person. Way beyond the shopping and to-do list, I have made all kinds of lists: films-to-watch and books-to-read lists, things to do before I am 30, things I need to buy when I set up in a new country – my hard drive contains a bunch of them. But the longest one of all is my inventory list.
Originally it was created to identify where my stuff was. Moved out of Australia, my first job was split between three countries in Europe and generally my employers didn’t like me bringing loads of stuff back and forth, so things got taken to one country and often left there for later. So I found myself starting a list of what stuff was where – in Australia or Europe. And even left behind with friends in the UK. Continue reading
England was its familiar blustery cold and lush green when I arrived, Spring just beginning to offer sunny days but still had its freezing cold mornings and late afternoons. It had been about five years since I was last there, yet was home to me nonetheless. It was surreal to see old friends again. We were all very much the same people, yet older and wiser and changed nonetheless. Catching a bus or riding in a taxi around my old West London stomping grounds, often times I would look out the window and amongst the frantic pace of the high streets, I would see my ghost, walking along those same streets ten years ago, younger and less worldly, chatting to a friend with a hot drink in hand, or hurrying along to get somewhere. What would I tell her now if I could? What have I learned? Would I have changed anything about my journey, my past?
Throughout the weeks, I was fortunate to stay with friends in regional centres scattered outside London. I started flying around Europe to temporary nanny positions, staying in luxury ski lodges and flying on private jets, and heading to job interviews in fancy hotels and restaurants. Despite nearly twenty years in this line of work, I felt every inch an impoverished student up to her eyeballs in debt, trudging around in years-old, over-loved clothes or borrowed pieces from friends. My own nicest clothes didn’t fit the well put together look and style a modern international nanny must have. I had never felt more like the odd one out, never more ready to move forward to the next stage of my life. Continue reading