Our lives in Amsterdam are very temporary. We’re here for one wonderful year, and at the end we’ll pack up and go somewhere else. Who knows where, but due to money and permits and classes ending, we probably can’t stay here. It’s a temporary home.

It’s colored a lot of how I think about our apartment and home here. The nature of living in unfamiliar places lends itself to really thinking about what you value. In Portland I often felt like we had too much stuff. Stuff we didn’t need or use very often, stuff we forgot we had, stuff we didn’t know how to get rid. Now, living here with only the things I brought in a suitcase, I use everything around me. Because we’re so far from home those little things I brought are even more special to me. I know we’re not supposed to love stuff–money can’t buy happiness and all that. But I can and should appreciate it, right?

I’d like to learn to appreciate the things I own more, to learn why I love them, why I use this and not that, and what makes things special. Someday when we leave this city and find another one to make a more permanent home, I’d like to retain that sense of minimalism. I’d like to cultivate things I love around me, things that are the perfect combination of beautiful and useful.

To help me focus on that I’m going to start a new semi-regular series called Lovely Objects, where I allow myself to appreciate something I already own. Every post will come with a photo of the object, a short description of what it is, where I got it, what I use it for, and why I love it. If nothing else, I’ll end up with a great list of the things I’d never get rid of.

I should mention that this is directly inspired by The Marion House Book’s similar project last year of 52 Objects, where she picked one object a week. I’m not even sure I own 52 things I like that much, so I’m being a bit more vague with mine.

Until I get my first object up, what’s a special object for you?