I have always cherished the idea that less is more. I have been able to take this philosophy into practice in varying levels, depending on my financial situation, stress levels and other personal ambitions.
When we travel with my husband we step into all churches that we see. I like to look at the golden ornaments and smell the incense in catholic and orthodox churches. I enjoy the feeling of as if you were falling down when you lift your eyes to see the very top of St. Isaac’s Church’s ceiling in St. Petersburg. However, I love-love-love to step into the Helsinki Cathedral and see and feel the white emptiness the church encases within. The Vilnius Cathedral and the Finnish Kaleva Church in Tampere give me the same effect of peace and calm. Don’t mistake this as patriotic praise. Russia is one of the few big loves of my life. I’m also not a religious person. This is about aesthetics of environment and architecture and the effect of “Less” on me. During my expat-life here in Amsterdam I have also thought a lot of how you learn to appreciate certain aesthetics when they surround you since childhood, in my case the Scandinavian clear-lined emptiness, and how those aesthetics give you the feeling of familiarity and home. But this is another story.
Now I would like my whole life to be taken over by the same feeling of calm and peace that those buildings give out. I know. This is a massive trend at the moment with yogas and mindfulness etc. and I really don’t like to follow trends. (I don’t want to hear about your low-carb-gluten-free diet now. I’m all ears if you’re still following it after two years). However, having less has hit a nerve in me. Why? How did it all start? I will tell you. Two major reasons A) having a kid B) I’m coming to the age when your brain is telling you, the only way to stay sane is to hike up a high mountain and meditate. A and B are interconnected in so many ways that I will not go into that except that A intensifies B with 200%.
In practice the Pandora’s box opened when I felt sorry for myself when packing for a trip and noticed that there is very little space for my stuff. Because I’m a mother. Little after that I got addicted to Pinterest – I blame motherhood for that as well – and found out about a thing called “capsule wardrobe” (my own space in the wardrobe is also shrinking) and a lot of instructions on how to pack as little as possible for travels as well. I felt great! I’m actually working on towards something better not just giving up on things like I felt earlier. Fine, my travelling “capsule” is still a 75-litre rucksack but listen: what I have there for myself is two t-shirts, one pair of extra pants, one long-sleeve, warm cardigan, socks and undies. Now I have used up my space no matter how long the trip is going to be. I’m so much better than anyone on Pinterest and I haven’t even started reading Tidying Up because my husband stole it (He needs it even more than I do, so it is ok)!
I have started my process of having less from clothes because it is one of the hardest for me. I love clothes a little too much. Packing is easy now because I’m forced to have so little. A bit like, it’s easy to spend little money when you don’t have any. Next I want to learn how to become a master of capsule wardrobe. Other things that I have on my list are: being more aware of how I use money and making a 2-week meal plan for the family. I’m not the biggest fan of routines, so especially the latter one feels like quite an unpleasant task, but I will try to find some kind of a balance between spontaneity and routine that would suit me. Are you trying to have less of something in your life? What methods are you using and how is it working out?