I stumbled across this post by Sara Wilson the other day. It struck a chord in me. I have always hated consumerism for the sake of having the latest and greatest. I don’t go to the shops unless there is something I need. The idea that people spend Sunday’s walking in and out of shops for pleasure astonishes me. Sundays for me are being home with my family, taking it easy and maybe soaking up some sun.
Having said all that there was something about the post that nagged at me.
Here are some of the comments that were made and with all due respect to Sara, I have to agree with most of them at least as far as this post is concerned
“Sarah you are so contrived”
“Well said Sarah, something to aspire to”
“If you have less stuff, don’t you have to replace it more often?”
“I find sometimes that these holier-than-thou statements and posts are somewhat contradictory.”
“It’s such an individual decision really.”
“With due respect, that all seems a bit obsessive to me.”
Trying to be less of a consumer, waster, and user is commendable and is something that we certainly do in this family. However, this is a family of four with two growing girls who NEED things.
We decided very early on that to be able to have life run a little smoother we need the things we buy to qualify as one of the following; it must improve our lives or make them easier.
With such a busy family life in order for us to find time for ourselves we need to orchestrate things to be convenient and quicker.
Going without a toaster would not be an option I don’t have time to wait and watch toast under the grill, its bad enough that anytime I do use the grill I set the fire alarms off.
A dryer is essential if you have had a week of rain and someone needs a clean formal uniform that day for something at school.
A microwave is also essential to quickly defrost or heat and how else would we cook our poppadums or heat our wheat bags for these cold nights, seriously!
On the flip side we;
Reuse shopping bags,
Chop up old fruit and stew it, or make a pickle,
Keep stock left over from stews,
Cook in bulk,
Try to buy only what we need; this is hard for me ‘cause I love gadgets and can get swept up in the nagging feeling that life would be so much better if owned that vegetable spirallizer or that butter pat maker. Truly there is such a thing, see here.
We use towels until they fall apart, ditto sheets.
Spin out the laundry powder with bicarb soda. Something I learned here.
Hand down clothes that don’t fit or take them to the Salvos. We also buy from the Salvos if we discover something we could use.
Molly’s first adult night out to the theater was in an altered $9 dress from the local Salvos. We have also put another $6 dress away for a semi-formal.
The list goes on.
Money is often an obstacle for many in choosing sustainable products as they often tend to be more expensive. Such as all natural make-up, clothes etc. It is a balance. Where I can, I buy wool jumpers because I know they are warmer and actually, with care, will last longer but my moisturizer, make-up etc. is generally what is on special.
So as one of the commentators says. It is an individual thing and you need to do what suits your situation. Do what you can to make the world a better place but don’t make it something that runs your life and causes stress.
I think doing good is something you should do without drawing attention to the fact that you are doing it. Sara has done spectacularly well and I wouldn’t be feeling as healthy and well if wasn’t for her but, to me, this post comes across a little as if living the simple life is a badge that one should wear to let people know what a good person you are.
How do you use less in your life or are you happy being a rampant consumer?