COLUMN : my 3 months with a home | not a nomad anymore

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COLUMN, ETC, HOME, MINIMALISM

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we have now lived in this apartment of ours for 3 months.

i’m having trouble letting that sink in. after more than two and a half years without a home, realising that we are now tenants is proven to be quite difficult. i’m having constant impulses to move on, like it’s a habit i need to break.

looking out at the space around me, i need to remind myself that these furniture are mine, my name is on the contract, on the door, on the buzzer downstairs. we have a mailbox. no more c/o.

the next time we will move, we will have to get help from a moving company. a truckload of stuff that is ours. three months ago, it was a taxiload. this gives me both joy and anxiety at once.

i often feel like i’m not your typical minimalist. most people i know that are drawn to this lifestyle come at it from a maximalist’s perspective – they have tried the materialistic, collector type of life and it didn’t make them happy. they want to get rid of a bad shopping behaviour, clean up a messy and over-filled home, get over the notion that money buys happiness. and i applaud them, send them my well-wishes and thank them for the inspiration. but that’s not me.

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i’ve never had a shopping problem. i’ve never wanted to own a mansion, three cars, and a trillion euros. owning and collecting has made me uncomfortable for as long as i can remember. i think this is why i was able to live more or less on the road these last years – it suited my travel-lightly personality.

the minimalists i talk to challenge themselves to declutter and organise their space even more. to go through their belongings once again. to have another shopping-free month. these things are not challenges for me.

a challenge for me is to sign a contract. any kind of contract. to go shopping. to spend money on things or experiences i don’t need. it freaks me out a little.
it’s a challenge to own furniture. to admit that i’m now stationary instead of mobile. to grow roots, to get attached. to realise that the just-jump-into-a-taxi days are over. to keep filling this home with things that a normally functioning home needs. i feel overwhelmed.

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yet, overwhelmed and freaked out as i might get, the wish to have a home is stronger. i know that i want to settle down. a life on the road is both heavenly and impossibly stressful. i’ve done it, i’m happy i did, let’s stop doing it now.
so my challenge is to be ok with owning things that make me heavy. to get attached to people and sign contracts that will give me responsibilities. no more living on the fringes of society.

this is what i want, so this is what i need to challenge myself to be able to do. without freaking out every five minutes. luckily, i believe in the force of habit. give me a few months !

so when you see this apartment slowly filling up on beautiful things, be happy for me. i’m actually making progress.

love // jenny

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in these photos :
jute rug from dutchbone
kähler mug
salt & pepper grinders from connox
( all sponsored )

5 Comments

  1. Hey there Jenny,

    I must admit in the beginning I was surprised how “easily” you suddenly settled down, began buying furniture – doing things “a minimalist wouldn’t do”. But now I understand your internal challenge, how difficult it can be to break a habit and gain a new one.

    I am still a student, and I have been moving in average every 9 months during the past 5 years and I know the struggle of having to move all the stuff from one place to another. I cannot afford to buy new stuff every time I move, so I carry around all the blankets-pillows-towels-iron-kettle-cutlery-and my huge wardrobe accumulated over the years but which I have reduced considerably after I discovered the joys of minimalism.

    I am not ready to settle yet, but I do want a home someday. With this hope I bring from my travels and leave at my mother’s home, objects that will remind me of my nomad period once I am settled: a Turkish hand-decorated plate, crafted mugs from Estonia, antique books from Belgium…

    It feels good to know there is a home that awaits you.

    I wish you all the best,
    Anna

  2. I was also surprised by how you seemed to be turning away from your old lifestyle, but I can imagine how strange it must feel. The apartment is so beautiful that I don’t know how you could consider leaving it! I am living in a tiny, ugly dorm room at university and it feels so uncomfortable to not be able to personalise my space, to choose furniture, to paint the walls. It makes me crave my own home, rather than being in a space which isn’t mine.

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  3. Awww, you’ll be okay, Jenny <3 I'm glad you've expressed your experience because I have very much felt this way too in my "discovery" of minimalism – I've never had any of the habits or desires that many minimalist bloggers, youtubers, etc. inspire people to break from. So I have sort of felt a little … not really "alienated," but like I can't relate in a way, since I'd never come from a place where abundance was something I valued or desired (I remember saving my money over spending from as young as 7 years old!!).

    I've just moved out of my parents' place into an apartment, and in so doing, have lessened my load even more. Being in this place feels like so much, and I think I am hungry for a more nomadic life. I spent a great deal of the last year live-in petsitting, and that was really where I felt most at home – without one!

    I'm sure we'll both figure everything out and come to be comfortable with the changes in our lives. Where you are stepping into a more homey life, I am heading into the likely daunting, but exciting, prospect of nomadic life (with a kitty, lol). For me it is the same – it is what I want, and I need to just go for it instead of freaking, and second guessing myself. Ultimately, even if you are bound to a contract, as I am to this lease, nothing is permanent (if that gives you any comfort). You can always move on again down the road if need be. That always gave me comfort in finding work as well. Much love to you, Jenny <3 Thank you for being you and being honest with us about yourself xxx

  4. Thank you Jenny for sharing your thoughts! Very interesting article. We all have our personal journey and I like how honest you are. I live in a comfortable home now, but after moving several times and to different countries I don’t want to accumulate objects anymore -as if I feel we might move again even if that’s not on the plans. But less things means also to know what you own and to be able to use it. Thank you for the inspiration!

  5. I know that feeling so well! For me, it’s now moving towards the next stage: The possibility of owning a home. I’m grappling with the idea, but I’m still not sure if I ever will. It’s *very* scary and exciting at the same time!
    Enjoy the zen of coming home to your (rented) apartment :-)

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