Five days ago this was my view; I was sitting in the corner of our empty living room in our beautiful Copenhagen apartment. The day after, we left our familiar surroundings with only four suitcases in our hands. Headed for Bali, Indonesia.

We have, within the last couple of months narrowed our belongings down from furniture, interior and things for our seven room apartment to twenty-five moving boxes (that have been put in storage), a bunch of paintings and four (admittedly, rather big) suitcases. The process has been insane! Who would have thought that getting rid of things would be that emotional?

As I sat there, five days ago – feeling rather ambivalent about the whole situation; light, excited and slightly sad at the same time – I started pondering about people and their belongings. Why do we carry around so much stuff throughout life? Why do we gather more and more things as the years go by, and why do we, when we move to a new home pack up everything up and take it with us?

Of course some things are charged with memories or perhaps they are aesthetically nourishing, and hence they are meaningful to us as well as identity providing. But a lot of our belongings are actually pretty insignificant and easily replaceable. Yet, it is anxiety provoking and uncomfortable for us to get rid of our belongings; even the unimportant ones that basically make us heavy and clutter our lives. Why?

Right now I am sitting here, in the upstairs windowsill of the house that we have rented for the first couple of months of our new Bali life. It is getting dark outside, and I am nurtured by the the foreign sounds and smells; frangipani, bonfire, gekkos and cicadas.

When I unpacked our heavily stuffed four suitcases I was actually shocked by how much stuff we brought with us; books, toys, clothes, drawing equipment etc. What looked like next to nothing before leaving Copenhagen suddenly felt like an excessive amount of stuff. We have more than enough with us to make us feel at home!

In my forthcoming posts I will write more about the difference between significant and insignificant things, and about aesthetically nourishing and sustainable living.

13 thoughts on “Downscaling

  1. I believe our “things” are symbols of our life, that reminds us of what we have done, thought or experienced. Things creates stories and in our society most of us need these things to create our story. And then it becomes interesting to ask yourself -who are you without your belongings?

    But ofcourse things can be nourishing and provide us with joy if they are beautiful and usefull.

    Looking forward to follow your reflections! How long have you planed to stay on Bali?


    1. Indeed Manu – It is so interesting to think about who we are without our things…Or with only a few carefully selected pieces of our belongings. We are planning to stay here for a while. Hope you are well!


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