Friday, August 23, 2013

Consumption

Nothing makes you evaluate the role you play as a consumer like moving.  As I stand, surrounded by boxes of shoes and clothes and toys, I think, "how do I own so much stuff?"  This makes me think back to Lyn's post, which is better than anything I will write on the subject.

Then we make another trip to Ikea or Target to acquire even more stuff, stuff we need.  And admittedly, we do need a new bed to house our new mattress that will hopefully alleviate back pain rather than cause it.  Therefore we need new sheets and a new comforter, in the appropriate size.

I try to make sure that I'm using the things that I own, and what I'm not using goes to a new home.  I also try to make sure that new home is a local shelter or organization that will use my items and make sure they are useful to somebody.  Most of my clothing goes to a local women's shelter, because I know that they sell some stuff through their consignment shop but they also provide clothing to women who have, for example, had their clothes shredded, bleached, or stolen by their abusers.  Our furniture that doesn't come with us and doesn't get sold on Craigslist will be donated to a local charity that furnishes halfway homes and transitional housing.

I would like, very much, to be a person who mostly thrifts all of her clothing, because reusing is the best way to reduce.  I would also like to be able to make my own clothing that is work appropriate (and perhaps extra cycling appropriate).  I do not do this because my finishing is not very good and everything I make looks handmade.  I would also like to be the kind of person who enjoys minimalism, who doesn't like having stuff everywhere (or at all); however, I haven't figured out how to be a minimalist without being a mooch.

For right now, the biggest help has been to sign up for an app called EEBA.  Because it turns out that what's best for our wallets is also what's best for the environment.  If I save my clothing budget for this month, then next month I can buy a more expensive, ethically made, higher quality item that will hopefully last a long time.  If we don't buy too much stuff, we have more budget to go out and enjoy life experiences, which all of the research says is the biggest factor towards determining happiness.  I take a lot of satisfaction in recognizing that while I have not always been very good about reducing my consumption, it's never too late to start, and the less I buy now, the less there will be for me to agonize over and hoard in the future.

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