Once, Alice, our Managing Editor of Flow International, wrote a nice piece about how possessions with a story give her increasingly more satisfaction than new items bought from a store. Like, for example, how wearing a shirt that belongs to your partner is far nicer than having a new one from Zara. Or how your grandfather’s pocket watch suddenly appears to be just like a precious jewel. Or how the lamp that you got from your aunt may not quite be concept store-material, but it is part of your story.
I also have this feeling. Recently, I did some reshuffling, slightly from necessity as I was stuck at home with a house full of sick people. Anyway, I suddenly had the drive and time to clear out a closet in the living room and to stroll through my house once again looking at all the stuff I have. My other half’s old chair from his student days, which is now covered with a sheepskin, that makes a nice addition as a reading chair. (Sheepskin alert: I now tend to throw a sheepskin over everything because it enhances everything). The lamp that I inherited from my grandmother that looks so nice standing in my plant corner, and gives off a lovely warm light in the evening. And all the bits and pieces from my when-I-still-traveled-to-distant-lands days that are now lying in the glass display cabinet and make me feel so happy when I look through them.
And it was thus that I suddenly found myself busy: polishing old silver (from Portobello Market in London), washing glasses (having found a new place for them in the afore-mentioned cleared cupboard) and dusting the corners with the feather duster that my cleaner had forced me to buy for her. And man-o-man, I was such a happy bunny that evening. Two garbage bags were filled and thrown out, and zero euros were spent. And so the moral of this story is: you don’t have to buy anything, because you already have it. And it’s all so much nicer than what you would have bought from the store.
Astrid, together with Irene, is the founder of Flow Magazine. She lives with her partner and two children. Each Tuesday, she writes about the senses – and nonsense – behind decluttering.