For the last 3 years I more and more despised the consumerism I've gotten so used to and that I'm part of. I get angry with myself I let it get out of hand especially when I have to deal with all the things we acquired over the last years. All the stuff everywhere. I have to deal with it. Daily. And I deeply regret I got all that stuff. I regret all the time and energy the stuff required that I am no longer willing to give anymore. Living a busy hectic life as a family of four I realized it was time to rethink this in a bit way. It was time to let go. And foremost to change my consumer habits.
And I know I'm not alone.
Articles like this are really inspiring to me:
Ditch joyless items, but where do we send them to?
As always, change isn't easy, but I wanted to be part of something bigger, something with more meaning. I didn't want to be just part of the machine. I worked in Marketing before but I didn't want to be a gear that suggests 'buy more', 'buy now' anymore. It's truly terrible what we do to us, the next generations and the planet. This all is based on greed. Figuring something out that someone might buy and then making more and selling more to make more money. It's all fake.
This is just leading us to a few having too much in the end and many having not enough and a few in between having enough but thinking they wouldn't as they compare with the ones that have too much.
So, for my personal contribution to less, more meaningful, more conscious and ethical, I decided to make my kids more aware of the 'wants' versus 'needs' we have and try to buy used whenever possible. Clothing, toys, kitchen items, furniture, art, books, media, electronic if needed will require a trip to the thrift- or consignment store first. It works pretty well. I really dislike if I have to buy new stuff, like gifts for my kid's friends birthday parties. I wish it would be acceptable to just gift second hand items by now.
Once in a while I see myself falling into the old habit of roaming the aisles to look for the missing pieces, the pieces that will complete my household or the kids play set or the perfect gift, and then I have to remind myself, it's okay it's not complete. I want to celebrate the incompletion. I noticed if something is complete it's also not interesting anymore and falls of the radar pretty quickly, also does not give much satisfaction anymore. This whole construct is flawed and humans adapt too quickly to the sensation of a good buy. Money spent. 5 minute happiness. Need next fix to feel happy again. Need more money to get there. Vicious cycle.
It was really freeing when we finally moved. We moved to a smaller space with almost no storage. We now had to change the way we were attached to things (for insecurity or to get that instant happiness fix) and to let many many items go. We donated most of it and have a couple nice items I will be happy to gift to my community over the next couple of months.
Our kids joined a kids led organization 'Plant for the planet' 2 years ago that acts global with a goal to plant many many trees to counterbalance CO2. We already planted a couple and the kids did some presentations and a press conference. It makes me really proud to see them involved in this.
My Coworking business is all about sharing and caring and besides that a big part of the furnishing is second hand. Our members share all the resources, which in the end leads to less consumerism. Yeah! We recycle, use green cleaning products and reusables, whenever possible. We also invite the community into our space and host multiple meetings (like the Sustainable West Seattle meetings) that have direct positive impact on our community. Many members bike or walk to the office, which is also great for the overall outcome of this project.
My newest old venture is an online app to encourage neighbors to exchange free items. We started with this even before all the facebook free groups started but it took us a bit longer to create a platform that is customized for this process. We are almost there and hope we can soft launch this week and tweek it over the summer and then save lots of items from the landfill and further reduce consumerism.
For summer we are just about to plan a trip to plant more trees. I really hope we can make this a great family adventure and learn even more how we all can do better in the future. Join us! We all can do so much better!
Less stuff! More time! More adventures!
Optimistic, curious, human bee.