Give-a-thing-away-a-day: my advent challenge
In September, I went to a film screening at the Hackney Picturehouse of My Stuff, a film about Petri Luukkainen, a 26-year old man from Finland that decides to put all of his stuff in storage and only take one item back per day, for a year. Going through an existential crisis at the point of making this decision, Luukkainen hoped that he might be able to rebuild his life through this human experiment.
He starts naked in Helsinki. He gradually equips himself over the year and takes us on the journey with him by documenting everything on camera.
The journey is a funny and interesting one and it teaches two main lessons:
1. We don’t need as much stuff as we think we do
2. Emptying your life helps you focus – you can tackle the problems that lie within and fill the ‘empty spot in your heart’ by thinking about what really matters to you.
So it’s a story about consumerism and about our relationship with stuff. It’s a funny reflection on what happens when you take everything away.
After the film
We took part in a Q&A with Luukkainen and Jen – a woman that embarked on a similar challenge of not buying anything during her ‘Make do and mend year’ in 2012.
Luukkainen described how everyone he speaks to tells him about ‘that box of stuff they have in the attic that they never look at’… never mind use.
I have many of those boxes. I’ve spent the past 11 years taking them from flat to flat. Living somewhere on a temporary basis at the moment, I’ve actually put the majority of my personal belongings in a storage unit my mum has for work.
I raved about the film and have decided to put my money (or my possessions) where my mouth is. I’m giving one thing away every day during advent this year. It’s giving me the chance to think about what I really need and what I can offer my neighbours. It’s a clutter-diet in preparation for the Christmas thing-feast.
In preparation, I will spend the next few weeks filling yet another box, but this time with real purpose. I just need to find 24 things that I don’t need.
What is your experience of simplifying your life or doing without so much stuff? How did it affect you?