Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Friday, March 12, 2021

My Not So Minimal Mother

Is it just me or is a certain generation just obsessed with having a lot of everything? 

Just to clarify, I am talking about the difference between my generation and that of my mother. I would like to think that I am more into the minimalist type of living: I may accumulate stuff, but when the time comes that I feel that I have too much, I purge everything and give away the things that I know can still be used. I do not like the feeling of having too much. Even before Marie Kondo introduced this whole keeping only what sparks joy thing, I had a habit of keeping things minimal. I think it stems from the period when we moved around several times. I did not like the idea of packing and repacking too much. 

Image by Igor Schubin from Pixabay

With my mother it is a whole different deal: she loves having things on “display.” It can be figurines, knick-knacks, anything you can show off to other people when they visit your home. She even places a whole range of plates, cups, mugs, etc on display shelves. None of them have been used. They just sit there. That is apart from the plates and cutlery that are only used “when there are visitors.” There is just too much stuff that does not have that much function in our home.  For me, it feels that if you are not using it, it really has to go. For my mom, it feels as if things are reserved for events that to me hardly ever happen.  

I find all these little trinkets awkward to have. For one it is not child-friendly and will surely be something you have to look after if there are children around. Plus it is such an effort to clean when there is so much out there on display. I do not understand why there is the need for all of it in the first place.  

I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have told my sister that I want to take out all of the plates and cups on display because they are never used anyway. Of course, my sister reminds me that unless I want to get into a fight with my mother, everything stays where they are. It just frustrates me to look at everything and know that those things will not be used in my entire lifetime and yet they will have those special spots on the display shelf.  

There is something about not having too many things that I equate with having a clean home. I find that it is also (for me) a good way to clean the clutter of my mind when there are not too many things that clutter my vision as well.  

My mother’s trait of having too much stuff is not limited to kitchen/dinnerware or living room displays. Take this for example she, the senior citizen who only goes out to church has more shoes and clothes than her daughter (me), who regularly has to go to work. While I go for having a practical number of clothes and shoes, she is more of the “one can never have enough of” persuasion. 

I cannot help but wonder if there is a psychological explanation for this. I wonder if there is something about her generation that makes them be the way they are. I know my mother is not alone in being like this. I have talked to friends whose parents are the same way. What possible satisfaction could they get from having all these things without using them that I do not see or understand? 

What do you think?  


1 comment

  1. I think this is usually the case for seniors. My mom's a hoarder, and she wants to keep everything and can't let go whether it's plastic containers, empty jars, mugs, cartons, boxes, old clothes, etc. In her mind, she thinks that we'll need it someday somehow. And just like your mom, marami rin siyang knick-knacks that only gather dust pero she won't throw it away pa rin. It's not like may extra room or attic kami where we can keep everything. If that's the case, okay sana. Pero wala eh.

    It's how our petty fights would start when kuya and I would try to get rid of things na kalat na lang talaga. Sometimes we are given the silent treatment even if we explain to her that clutter can actually cause stress. Almost always we give in na lang kasi ayaw namin sumama ang loob niya.


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