Conscious Consumption Part 1: Take Care of Your Stuff

There’s a instruction manual.no attributiontiny storefront in my neighbourhood with a simple sign propped up in the window reading “Rocco Shoe Repair”. I’ve gone past it a hundred times over the past 7 years, thinking how handy it was to have so close to my house, but only went in for the first time this spring. I took my comfy but well-worn black leather boots and met Rocco, who does all the repairs in the small space with equipment that definitely came before the computer. One week and $30 later, the broken sole was replaced and scuff-marks on the toes dyed to almost-new-again quality – all without the new shoe break-in period. Rocco is my new best friend.

To me, this just made sense: I love the boots, am lucky to live 5 minutes from the shop, and the cost was significantly less than a new pair. There are many other examples where repairing something is cost prohibitive – buying new can cost less and be much quicker than sending something away for repair or maintenance. Keeping our stuff in good condition is cheaper than both repair and replacement.

I think most of us learned in kindergarten to take care of our toys – sometimes it seems like we’ve forgotten that lesson. Maintaining your stuff doesn’t have to be a chore, and a little bit of time up front (to read instruction manuals, for example) will save time and money later on (i.e. to avoid costly repairs or replacement), not to mention the frustration of being without an item if it suddenly breaks down.

For seasonal maintenance like BBQs, bikes, and heating/air conditioning equipment, schedule reminders and make a fun project out of it with your family. Consider designating a responsible person for regular maintenance like knife honing and coffee maker descaling – and if you think about it, do it right then as it doesn’t take long and you’re likely to forget and leave it too long otherwise. For more tips, check out my Take Care of Your Stuff Tip Sheet.

 Do you take care of your stuff so you can enjoy it longer? Talk it up with your friends – brag about how long you’ve had a pair of shoes, or appliance, rather than only about your newest gadgets. I want to hear about it to!

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