New Escapologist reader Richard directs our attention to a likable 2013 film from Finland called Tavarataivas, or “My Stuff“. It’s fun!

It tells the story (it’s a documentary but shot in a very filmic and narrative way) of a chap called Petri who decides to put all his material possessions temporarily into a storage unit. Starting over with nothing on January 1st, he allows himself to retrieve one item per day for the rest of the year. He’ll end up with his 365 most important things. A one-year minimalism project.

So Petri wakes up on New Year’s Day and dashes nude through the winter snow to retrieve a coat. It continues from there. What will he get next? What will he never retrieve? Will his friends and family disown him over his inconvenient experiment?

The result is a fun way of understanding the necessity or superfluity of things, of working out material and spiritual/psychological priorities.

Obviously, Petri’s doesn’t suggest that everyone should do this or even that he needed to himself. He doesn’t even sing the song of minimalism particularly loudly. It’s just a good-humoured experiment about how much stuff is enough.

I enjoy the way he’s forced to be resourceful without certain conveniences. Without a fridge, for example, he cools his food on the ledge outside his kitchen window. He has to get by without plates or cutlery for a while and discusses the problems and benefits of having no phone or computer.

I also like how he gets to (if memory serves) 23 things and starts to think it might actually be enough if it had to be: all problems solved with 23 things. He has similar thoughts around 50 things, the debate over which object to retrieve next becoming less and less important. There’s also a touching interview with his grandmother about the value of stuff and how it might differ between old and young people and men and women.

It’s interesting. But mainly, it’s just quite heartening fun.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at www.wringham.co.uk/about.

2 Responses to “Tavarataivas”

  1. Tony Edgecombe says:

    The thing I found interesting is it didn’t take long before he felt he didn’t need to fetch something every day.

  2. Me too. It didn’t take long to meet the “non-essential luxuries threshold”.

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