20 February 2013

Junk Bowl

My picture.

My thoughts on simplicity started with wardrobe simplification and curation, but soon extended to all aspects of my life, starting with my living space. There is nothing like enjoying a simple, clutter-free little nest to spend quality time in. I set myself various rules to achieve and, most difficult, maintain a simplified interior. One of which being the Junk Bowl.

When you read minimalist or decluttering/simplification blogs, it often comes to the "junk drawer". This drawer, that is a complete and utter mess, in which you stuff everything you can't really find another place for but still want to keep around.

Sometimes, it's bigger than that: a junk closet, a junk room, a garage, cellar or attic filled with junk, or even storage space. As George Carlin says, there is a whole industry based on keeping an eye on your stuff. Haha. I never get tired of that guy.

In my case, the 25m² appartment being a major cause, I can't afford to have any junk space. A drawer maybe, but certainly not a full room - and I'm not prepared to rent a storage unit for no other purpose than keeping some more stuff. That is way too much effort and cost for material objects.

So I have defined a rule upon my arrival in Paris: I am to get and maintain a Junk  Bowl, pictured above. And it does contain quite some junk: accessories from parties, receipts, business cards, hair pins, Totoro mini plushes from Japan... And it is fine, since this is after all, a Junk Bowl.

But the junk must never extend past that bowl. Effectively meaning, given the size of the bowl, that I can only keep a limited amount of junk in my apartment, and of limited size, too. This actually forces me, when I come in possession of an object with a great potential to become junk, to consider if I want to keep it or not. And given the fact that I work for a gaming company, I do receive a lot of goodies with high junk potential.

Bottom line of this demonstration is - simplicity isn't exactly effortless, but I personally find that with a simple set of rules, such as the Junk Bowl, it isn't that hard to maintain either. I have other similar limitations, such as the video games shelf, the make-up basket, the mug shelf in the kitchen...

These limitations helped me realize that:

  • Free stuff is still stuff and doesn't have to be brought home just because it is free.
  • I find the need to curate all objects, like with clothes, and carefully think what I want to keep around
  • I don't necessarily need new stuff all the time to function in my everyday life
  • Even if I like something in a shop, I'm not tempted to buy it unless I actually need it

If you are into wardrobe editing, did this extend to a need to simplify other areas of your life as well? How do you maintain a simplified environment?


  1. I too don't even want free stuff or papers if I have no use for it and it will only cause clutter.

    1. Exactly! But usually people tend to take everything that is free, regardless of its usefulness, just because they don't have to pay for it. This is quite puzzling to me...

  2. I have a junk drawer. Haha. It's quite embarrassing. But at least it's a small one.

    1. I think most people have a junk drawer anyway... The only reason why mine became a junk bowl is that I don't have any actual drawers in my appartment.