As a consequence of my Estonian Designer Project*, the trip to Australia and some very unfortunate and unforeseeable expenses/lack of planned revenue, my financial situation is worse than it has been for years. It’s rather embarrassing, really, I’m no longer a teenager and should plan my finances better, being bankrupt doesn’t quite have the same boho glamour now as it did when I was a student. Fortunately, I do have a family and a job (although technically I will not have one for two weeks), so this too shall pass and it’s not what I wanted to talk about anyway. The money-problem just lends some urgency to the thing I wanted to talk about.
I’m not one of those people who put their beautiful new party dress/nice china/lovely bed linen away to await some worthy occasion that inevitably never arrives. I open my stuff before I get home from the shop. I wear my silk dress to bed. I always use my best skincare first. But the thing is that I have a lot of stuff and I forget what I own, I get distracted by shiny new things and therefore have perfumes I haven’t worn for two years or earrings I’d completely forgotten existed.
Now, I am painfully aware that this is such a First World Problem to have. I know that even here, in the wealthy heart of Europe, there are people who don’t have enough to eat or have no home. “Oh, I’ve got so many unburnt Cire Trudon candles around the house!” doesn’t really qualify as a problem in that context, obviously. Still, I think the fact that we (I cannot be alone in this, can I?) get pleasure from acquiring things rather than using them is worrying on many levels** – it’s clearly bad news for our psyche, for the environment and our societies’ value system in general.
Anyway, whatever you think of my problem, this is the problem I’ve got. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and have slowly started to deal with the issue. The blog doesn’t help, as it motivates one to get new things all the time. That said, I cannot only blame the blog, as I have the same tendencies in areas that aren’t affected by blogging (or at least not much). Plus I can always blog differently, it doesn’t have to be about new stuff all the time.
This is where my current bankruptcy starts to look like providence. I was planning to cut down new buys and shop my own stash in the new year anyway, but there’s nothing like actual absence of funds to turn this plan into a reality. I don’t need anything at the moment. I’ve got enough clothes, books, skincare, makeup, perfume and interesting condiments to last me months, if not years.*** The challenge is to get excited about that stuff again.
I don’t buy things because I’m a hoarder or seriously think I need all of this to be a worthy member of the society. I acquire things because they offer new possibilities – a new look, a new story, a new flavour. I’m enthusiastic and I’m creative and physical objects are stimulating, especially if they are beautiful and/or interesting. I’m also fickle and impatient and often get tired of things/ideas/looks quickly. But there are ways to be excited without buying new stuff all the time (no shit, Sherlock), it just requires more effort than getting a new thingy-bob.
So I’m coming up with little projects to motivate myself and keep things interesting. I will wear a different perfume every day for a month. I will find new ways to style my clothes. I will put all my foundations to the test to find out which ones I like best. I will read the books I already own. I will sort and declutter and give stuff away (I really, really enjoy organising, if I have time).
I will also document some of it here or on Instagram and maybe on Twitter, too (haven’t been there for ages, but for some reason feel an urge now). If you have helpful suggestions or just want to tell me I’m a privileged bitch, please don’t hold back.
*This is something I didn’t really cover on the blog, as it was directly work-related. In a nutshell, I wore only Estonian designers when chairing press conferences during the Estonian Presidency of the EU.
**There is of course the question whether we should get pleasure from things at all, but this is a whole philosophical issue in itself that I have no space nor the intellectual capacity to tackle here. My own answer tends to be something like: yes, it’s fine, as long as you don’t get too carried away.
***I might need a warm scarf (I lost mine when travelling) if the weather stays as it is, but this is pretty much it.