For most of 2014 we’ve been sorting, evaluating and choosing what amongst our possessions we’ll keep and what we’ll discard or give away.
The charity shops have done well out of us, as has ‘The Wall’ – that being a euphemism for any item deemed not suitable for charity but too good to simply throw away. Items that need recycling are placed on our front wall and have all vanished to live new lives with strangers who were just passing by. Ebay has been busy too and a weekly trip to the Post Office to send something to America, Japan or the UK has been the norm.
It is good to have had time to do all this: it could have been very easy to get carried away with the reduction process in spite of how cathartic and liberating it has been. Audio cassettes have all been listened to – many for the last time – and of perhaps 200 plus we have kept a mere 30 – most recordings of family, friends, singing, guitar sessions – pure nostalgia. Clothes unworn for years followed, as did photographs unlooked at, books unread, CDs, videos etc,.
And then it began to become apparent. Things we’d been accustomed to having around were no longer there. Gaps were appearing, bookshelves were less crammed, shelves sparser, drawers emptier. And the process has accelerated: when pictures were removed walls looked bare – and needed repainting. We found ourselves looking for things and they were either already boxed and in the attic or in another place. So with this liberating feeling also came a sense of sadness, of losing one’s place in one’s own home. The 90-square metres that we’d populated with things we loved and that spoke of us were no longer around and we mourned their absence whilst also revelling in the dismantling process. The Last 2-weeks saw the biggest change as we left our favourite items until last: the Cornish sea picture in the kitchen, my guitars, the watercolour my father left me.
And in one corner of the sitting room on three shelves were arranged the possessions that we will carry with us for the next 2-years – that being the time we have allowed for this ‘Going Nomad’ experiment. It doesn’t look a lot. But it is a pared down home to carry with us and it will be fine. Hopefully every item has been chosen for its utility value first and foremost with only the odd nod to sartorial or frivolous considerations.
And four days ago we walked out of a house that bore a much fainter imprint of us, one that has been rendered largely neutral but hopefully still with a good energy. Others will come in and make their own mark and that is alright, for we have had our time there and it was a very good time indeed.