I’ve stayed up nights wondering why it is that we love to buy things, and yet we feel so good when we give things away (and “de-clutter”). Is it the refining of “stuff?” Meaning are you just a sieve for the good stuff?
So this got me thinking, why not JUST buy the good stuff, always? That doesn’t mean more expensive, although oftentimes that is okay, too.
Being the over-exuberant person that I am, instead of just saying “thank you” I went on to tell them that I have gotten the cost per wear down to about $2.50 after wearing it about 100 times now. I try to spread the green philosophy where I can. And the best thing is that every time I wear it, I feel great… and clearly I wear it a lot and can continue to even with a growing baby bump. (Yes, this is one of the smartest purchases I have made. See dumbest at the end.)
- Here’s the thing. We are proven to be happier with less stuff. Yup, over the same last 50 years when our houses were getting bigger and we were becoming experts in shopping, our happiness flat-lined. You see, less stuff means more freedom, more time, and hence more happiness.
- Houses are bigger to help us contain more stuff. So we think we need bigger house, which means bigger mortgage and more house to clean. So now we are working harder to pay a bigger mortgage to store more stuff and then in the spare time we have, we have time clean more. That doesn’t make much sense, does it?
- Ma’ Earth would be SOOO much happier with less stuff. You see, from natural resource extraction to manufacturing to disposing of the toxic crap that spews out of the manufacturing process to packaging to shipping to keeping the lights on in the store, our addiction to STUFF is one heavy burden to bear – for everyone AND the planet.
This old model of things + more = better just drives us into debt and overwhelm, and puts the planet into tailspin.
I am not making this up. Check out what the New York Times has to say about it: “New studies of consumption and happiness show, for instance, that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects, when they relish what they plan to buy long before they buy it, and when they stop trying to outdo the Joneses.”
Did you know that one in ten U.S. households now rent a self-storage unit, although our houses are 3X bigger than they were just 50 years ago?
Another way to think about this new philosophy that is seriously trending is “LESS BUT BETTER.” (Thank you Graham Hill of Life Edited for that.) New Materialism offers a way forward – and it’s characterized by connection, appreciation and care for the things we use and possess. The point is about LOVING YOUR STUFF.
Wanna Get Started?
- Think Before You Buy – Strive to only acquire things you really have considered, and are designed to last less than 10 years.
- Love Your Stuff – mend, maintain and re-use things until it is no longer possible, then recycle them.
- Share – aim to share at least one thing a week, and see below to get something in return even.
- Watch the Story of Stuff, and see if your kids will join you. It’s an amazing 20 minute animated video that explains so well why this is one the most meaningful things you can ever do.
Cool Tools & Ideas
1) Sharing is Caring – Use Yerdle
The vast majority of durable goods in American homes are used less than once per month. Chances are you have dozens of things you haven’t needed in a long time – and plenty of those things would be treasured by someone else. Then you get credits so you can shop for things you’ll love.
Kitchen tools, camping gear, electronics, clothing, kid’s toys, unique finds – you can give and get nearly anything on Yerdle.
2) Become a Fixer, or Form a Fixers Collective
People hang out, have a coffee or a beer and get to know one another while they repair. Conversely, throwing stuff away does little for one’s interpersonal skills!! ☺
3) Make a Vow – Ditch Single Use Items and Instead Use These:
- Glass Straws (These are even Baby Sky approved!)
- Reusable Baby Food Pouches
- Reusable Sandwich Baggies
- Reusuable Non Toxic Dry Cleaning Bag
- Cleaning Products (Refill and remix so not shipping water and throwing bottle away)
- Growler for filling up on beer (Find a microbrewery near you!)
So to Sum it Up…
So what is the dumbest thing I’ve ever bought? Well I have accidentally purchased duplicate things just because I am not organized enough, and that feels pretty stupid. However, the dumbest thing I think I bought was — oh jeez I am realizing the list is long. I’ve made some people pretty happy at Goodwill. It boils down to getting stuff on sale, usually clothing. After 41 years, I think I am finally done buying anything trendy and/or cheaply made just because the price is tempting. You???? Do tell! (see deets below)
What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever bought, and what did you do with it?? Put your answers below and we’ll pick a winner to help us try out eco products with us!