The minimalist’s scrapbook.
I’d always been a collector: artworks, books, Indonesian artifacts, mementos and fabrics. I adored them all, but they were anchors to a life and lifestyle. 1999 was the year I became a minimalist. Deciding to relocate from Australia to Bali and start a new life, downsizing and uncluttering became necessary. Most things had to go. Gripped by fears and tears I sorted everything into: take, store, sell, gift, charity and dump. Adventure awaited at the completion of this difficult task. Within a few months I’d reduced a household of possessions to two suitcases bound for Bali and seven boxes to be stored with Mum.
An uncluttered life.
In June, 1999 I rented a bungalow in the Penestanan rice fields and unpacked my meager belongings. I had the essentials and anything else could be bought in Bali. “If it isn’t sold in Bali, then I didn’t need it,” I told myself. And this is how I lived my life.
But there was and is so much available here and it’s all so cheap. Temptation lies in every direction. My resolve to be a minimalist weakened and I found myself hoarding again. Obviously, I had a big dose of the ‘collector gene’ in my DNA. Every few months I’d survey an overflowing cupboard or books piled high and announce, “Who wants these?” There were always happy recipients to cart away my excess.
Fast-forward to 2016.
I remain a minimalist. Well most of the time. Occasionally I give into temptation, but when I see possessions accumulating, I re-gift, sell or trade them to restore the balance. But I would prefer to have more will-power and not collect them in the first place.
Here’s my new solution.
I have a scrapbook, well actually a few. Let me tell you about one of them. I saw a photo of two elderly women posted on Facebook. Its caption called for marriage equality. It got me thinking and evolving a story called, “The Maiden Aunts.” This will be the next book I write. I printed the photo and stuck it in, The Maiden Aunts Scrapbook. Now I had a place to write notes, glue research print-outs and more.
Here’s the more.
“I want a typewriter,” I said.
“Why?” Dede asked. “You’ve got a computer. Will you use a typewriter instead?”
“Of course not. It’s just a symbol, to show I’m a writer.”
This seemed logical to me, but less so to Dede. He shook his head, but if I wanted it, he’d help me get it. He’s good like that.
“Gramedia sells them,” he said.
“I don’t want a new one. I want an old fashioned one, maybe 50 to 80 years old.”
“It won’t work.”
“Doesn’t matter. I just want to look at it, not use it.”
Dede glanced at Komang. Eyes rolled, brows creased and heads nodded.
“Okay. Let’s go,” Komang said.
Komang and I scoured the second hand shops in search of a reconditioned typewriter. Hearing prices he said in disbelief, “They want more than a new computer.”
We visited three antique stores, pawed fifty or more typewriters and bought none of them.
“Do I really need it?” I asked myself. “Let’s go home,” I said to Komang. “I have a better idea.”
On the internet, I found the perfect typewriter, printed the photo and stuck it in, The Maiden Aunts Scrapbook. Bess and Anne, the maiden aunts, will own a typewriter. It will appear in their story and I can look at it whenever I like.
Two days ago, I decided I wanted an antique gramophone. Lying in bed, trying to recall where I’d seen one, the minimalist fairy tapped me on the shoulder. I needed this reminder and bounded from my bed to the computer, searched for gramophones, found the perfect one, printed it and stuck it in the scrapbook. Yes, you guessed it; Bess and Anne will also own a record player and I will remain a minimalist.
So that’s the plan and so far it’s working. Instead of buying clutter that I really don’t need, I have become the minimalist scrap booker.