hg: Three Weeks Without Stuff

My mother and I recently moved house, and due to awkward transaction timings and a shambolic removal company, we arrived at the new place with a three-week wait for our stuff.

Adding to our woes was a lack of phone signal and problems with our internet provider, meaning we wouldn’t have a landline or internet for two weeks either.

No furniture, beds, TV, internet, phones, crockery et cetera. We had a small collection of personal things, like clothes, toiletries, laptop, and a guitar, and were generously lent two camping chairs and bedding. We also formed a makeshift dining table using two storage boxes either end of a borrowed side table. Sparse but workable.

Despite our trepidation, it turned out to be a rewarding, even fun, experience. One gains a lightness when the burden of one’s stuff is removed temporarily.

We would walk to the local pub without locking up. We talked and read in the evenings. We played guitar and sang together. I went for long walks. I starting planning and writing this blog. Crucially, we’d brought our Scrabble board. Many close games were fought and many imaginative words were conjured, misspelt, or simply made up.

We debated which item to retrieve from storage if granted access. Our beds were the priority, as was a comfy chair each. Perhaps some books. Beyond that, we struggled to think of things we truly missed.

Now, I’m certainly not suggesting you should get rid of everything you own, or that people who own fewer things out of necessity feel free. It also wasn’t a completely blissful three weeks. We craved comfy furniture, it was a pain not having internet at times, and my mum couldn’t watch Poldark.

But the space and serenity, away from clutter and digital distractions, was refreshing. It made us realise how superfluous a lot of our stuff is, and how privileged we are to have it.

Our unplanned foray into extreme simplicity only strengthened my belief that a simple life can be a better life.

You could spend some time away from your stuff too. Perhaps by taking a camping trip. Or by going for a long walk with empty pockets. Or just move house and use the same removal company as us - they’ll ensure your stuff is locked away for a prolonged period without warning.