This has been a habit that I have learned to break while living in our small apartment space. Stop buying junk!
It isn’t easy. The reality is that society with all the brains and money it can muster are trying to get us to buy junk. Add to that, the perceived cure to our current economic crisis would be people consuming and buying more.
However, it is necessary. To live a simplified life and a sustainable minimalistic life one has to mastering this concept. Stop buying junk!
The conspiracy is all interconnected. Bigger houses with bigger closets and more cabinets, bigger shopping carts and more trunk space in cars. All the space begs to be filled. They are easy to get filled with junk because:
- We can’t wait to buy a quality product so we have created a market for the cheapest, thinnest, flimsiest things we can find to give the look of quality. Look at most clothing…..
- Planned obsolesence which means that companies make a science out of how long something has to hold together or work for us to still buy it, then makes sure it breaks down beyond repair so we have to replace it again. This concept makes me angry! There is a science for making sure things break down and are hard to repair. Sound like most appliances?
Society creates the need for the illusion of success while marketing, store layout, scents, music etc make sure we buy all we can. Then once we have all the stuff the need is always there to replace items because they wear out, break, look used and flimsy all after just a short time. Increase stuff, replace stuff, increase our stuff, replace what breaks …. then we have a life full of worn out junk filling our houses and lives.
Stop the junk! It isn’t about just getting rid of stuff as it gets used and worn out or we get tired of it, if it was only that we would have a part-time job sorting and getting rid of stuff. The ideal with minimalism and simple living is that we go through, sort, get rid of stuff once. (it may take several times but each time it should be a much smaller pile. From 100% quantity to 60% to 30% to 20% etc… the piles should be drastically smaller not growing) Less junk, don’t buy stuff that needs replaced, less junk, keep quality that doesn’t need maintained….. and we have our time and money back.
The junk caused by our ‘consumer society on crack’ cheats us of:
- Time-Purchasing, picking up, cleaning, maintaining, storing, sorting, storing, sorting, storing, trying to fix, giving away….. you get the idea.
- Money-Yeah junk is usually the cheap stuff. It is the stuff that turns our grocery shopping trip for a few things into a cart load. Have you heard the example of compounding interest of a Starbucks coffee (or not having a Starbucks coffee in the example) turning into a fortune at the end of life? That is real money. This is the real money that junk is stealing from us every day.
- Our Home and very existance-Um… the idea of making and shipping piles of junk that end up in landfills, sometimes within months, is bad for the earth…. really bad….. just saying.
I found this website last winter and I love this woman. I think she should be president. Vote for Annie Leonard! She has some great movies on stuff that are great for all ages. Great educational material for kids. Check it out at www.storyofstuff.com
But what if our economy is hanging on this junk thread. What would happen if we just stopped buying junk? If we stood up and decided we wouldn’t take the poor quality, the manipulation, and the environmental burden any more? Would it ruin the economy completely?
I think it would definitely be a bit crazy for business for a while, but it isn’t that we want less. We aren’t asking for less, we are asking for more in smaller packages. People still have time and money to earn and spend. What if we demanded a quality that required much more time and work. People would still have jobs making these things even though it would take lots more time and design. These quality items would be worth the extra money and would hold up to wear. Also, if we weren’t so quick to buy junk from all over the world, maybe we could really develop and treasure ‘Made In America’ goods and keep lots more of the money in our country. They would take less space, but be much more efficient allowing us to free up our time and space. I believe our economy could recover, or even get better. What would change is the environmental burden and the time wasted. With fewer things being made and lasting longer, waste and transportation pollutions could drastically drop. We wouldn’t need to spend all our free time buying, fixing, sorting, hunting for, storing… etc.
So pick your reason:
- Appreciation of finer things
…. and STOP buying junk!
Note: I am not a Wal-Mart hater. I don’t really like the place, but I end up there now and then. Tonight I had to stop for a large envelope. … it is just that most of the place is filled with junk and it makes a great example.