The Nesting Instinct in Minimalism
A recent post in the everyday minimalist blog about getting over one’s nesting instinct came up a couple of days after I had assessed my own cleanout and minimalizing progress. As a long-time nester and domestic goddess, I had come to realize that I was no longer a goddess but a sacrificial offering at the altar of American domestic lifestyle fantasy. I have always seen my home as my refuge, burrow, hutch, and nest. The world “out there” has always been something to retreat from. This tendency does not improve with age.
I have things from family members who passed away 10, 30, 50 years ago. Yet what stays with me is my memory of them. The stuff is nice in its own way, but without the stuff I’d remember them just as often and just as well.
i have learned that those we love never really leave us. We internalize our sense of them. likewise I have lived in several houses in my adult life. I can still remember how it was to walk up and down the stairs in each of them, the view from various windows, the quality of the light. So in a sense all my houses were my homes and I make a home in whatever house I find myself living. And it wasn’t about the stuff, it was about the living.
Nesting is an instinct that is about comfort, security, and a state of mind. Stockpiling results from fear. The less secure we are the more we fear and the more we want to ease the insecurity with stuff. But if we are truly nested, comfortable, secure, and unfearful, we don’t need more stuff or stockpiles. The person uncluttering and minimalizing is a nester, by my definition, and very secure.
The best place to nest is in the mind. Then home can be just about anywhere.
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