Why Minimalism is not for me

The recent blog post from Tim Dietrich got me thinking. I have long admired people who are able to radically declutter and maintain a minimalist lifestyle and if I'm honest, I've been a little jealous as well. For as long as I can remember, I have aspired to be super organised, but never quite managed to reach my target. Despite periodic decluttering, I always seem to end up accumulating more stuff than we have space to store!

We are currently clearing out a room that has, until recently, contained a dozen or so boxes unopened since we moved in over 6 years ago. In doing this, I realised why I have all this stuff and why I will never get rid of it all. Memories. As I sorted through a box of old cassette tapes, reading one of the titles took me straight back to a trip my wife Anna and I took not long after we met. It was a very very happy memory that I had completely forgotten about, and this seemingly random and very ordinary thing enabled me to remember. Last week the bike I built, with great satisfaction, as a teenager was returned to me after being passed around the family for 20 years. I got the bike back to pass on to my own son, however the memories that seeing it triggered turned out to be much more important. Remembering how my step-Dad supported me as a teenager in building myself a bike from a frame we were given has prompted a new appreciation for the role model he was and the confidence he gave me that I could do whatever I set my mind to. I am determined to try and pass on this “can do” attitude to my own children. And then there's the bag of sugar sachets from a scout trip to Canada in 1978…

I could go on - I have numerous examples of how important memorabilia are to my story not just looking back but more importantly looking forward. Remembering our history not only helps us to not make the same mistakes again, but also reminds us of our successes and the good things we can take forwards and build on. Life can sometimes feel relentless and it's so easy to forget the good times and all that makes life amazing. So I will keep the stuff; the photos, the cassettes and even the packets of sugar, as memory prompts so that even when I forget I won't lose my story.