From Stuff to Things

When Christoph first brought forward the proposal to sell a great part of our furniture, I was taken aback and refused this unimaginable thought. What should happen to all our stuff? In my head I saw a flat where everything is lying around on the naked floor. Stacks of T-shirts, books, clutter, in front of empty walls. But I love that he gave this impulse of change, like a rush of cold water hitting you unprepared and waking you up to the bones. I guess I really needed it in my life right now. Break up those old thoughts and those rusty brain clusters.

Living without furniture – why not? Let’s try something new, not that our current system is any good for an always tidy home! There are always some things lying around, that do not seem to have a designated spot for themselves. And there are things that are always on the wrong place, not where we need them right now.Yes, there are drawers where we can put all this stuff in, but then it is only out of sight and it is still at the wrong place. Drawer after drawer is filled with the only aim to hide away all the stuff.

Or can anyone relate to the moment when you clean out your wardrobe and suddenly there is a t-shirt or maybe a pullover that you could not even remember you owned it. That does not happen because I do not like the piece or because I do not appreciate it, but because it got lost in the dark vastness of the wardrobe. This happens to me, not too regularly, but still – and it makes me think about all this stuff. I mean, I’m calling it “stuff”, like a big grey mass where one can not make out its single components. Like a huge indistinct monster that wanders around in my flat, taking up so much space. Space that I do not only need to be physically present, but that is also needed by my mind to think big thoughts.

But there are also things that do not belong to this indefinite blob: There are my books where each one of it is an entity by itself, and there are my plants which I consider my friends. There is this small bottle of nail polish in my favourite colour cobalt blue. There is this one black hoodie that makes me feel like a hacker and that I like to wear on bad-mood days. There is the black pen, a present from my boyfriend. It is not very expensive, but the present came with a special feature: Every time I lose it I will get a new one of the same kind. I know, that’s not very sustainable, but he just knows me…

Unfortunately all these “things” that have the privilege to be recognized by me as single beings, get lost in all the indistinct clutter. Sometimes they are washed ashore, and then I am happy to meet them, but often they drown in waves of “stuff”.

So, why is getting rid of our furniture helping with this problem? First there will be an overall increase of space. Since we moved in we added furniture: A bookshelf and very cosy grandfather chair for me. A flat cupboard for Christophs cameras and especially the huge guinea pig home. There is some furniture we want to keep, like my grandfather chair or my desk where I like to write upon. But there are also pieces we want to get rid of. Our current couch. A typical sofa from the one big furniture store that comes in a L-shape. It is very big, and generally cosy, but it is actually not comfortable in the way we use it. We always sit together at the short arm of the L where we can lie next to each other and cuddle, but the space is not really big enough for that. The other side of the couch is used seldom and just takes up space.

We do want furniture, that meets our needs and that does not hide our things we live with. If our whole „stuff“ is hidden away all the time why do we have it. We want to live in between things that are at our service and at the right place at the right time. Things we are happy to own.

In the next weeks and months we are going to use our whole creativity to change the interior of our flat. Pieces of furniture and stuff will be sold or given away and new items will be built. We will have to find a balance between some storage room that hides away some items and many clever ideas to give the things their space.

I know, that many questions will come up and that some ideas just won‘t work. But I learned that this is necessary for a creative process. Maybe it will be a total failure (already some failures happened and we did not even start yet). We will find answers and we will learn with each step.

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