Domestic L’viving

I am taking a page from my minimalist mother’s book, here in Ukraine.

Initially imposed by the landlady (no pictures on the walls), shopping realities (no, we don’t have any more), long-term logistics (how would we get anything home?), and our budget (keeping two households is more expensive than one), minimalism is my new normal.

Thump! I heard some of you (mom) falling off your chairs. But it’s true!

I had anticipated a certain minimalism as the result of my experiences here in 1998 and 1999. In those times, relatively soon after independence, walking into a store meant walking into a room full of empty shelves tended by a very lonely clerk. Once I had seen the change in the consumer culture, I had relaxed my fears of lacking anything. Nevertheless, the culture has still encouraged my embrace of minimalism.

For example, at the hardware store where we got our garbage can, we had one choice. Like other retail businesses have demonstrate, this store carried one of everything. When that one sample was sold, they ran out of the item – they didn’t have it any more, at least until the next one arrived. (I suspect the hardware man reordered after we bought that garbage can.)

One advantage to limited inventory is that the inventory is the same story everywhere. Zachary and I decided on a sunflowers theme for assorted items in the kitchen. Some of them actually match, although they were bought in different stores – one item of a certain size here, another item of a certain size there. Other items may not match, but they all feature pictures of sunflowers. Sunflowers and poppies, along with roses and lilies, are pretty safe bets. If you don’t like those kinds of flowers, you may be out of luck (as Westerners might define it.)

Lack of inventory means towels and sheets on two beds in one room don’t match each other. As I say, the ability to buy sheets – and especially towels – is wonderful. Still, this kind of inventory spare reduces my inclination to buy changes of sheets.

So after a life of hoarding back-ups, I have one of the things I really need – and I find that I have everything I need. I think I have turned a new leaf.



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