“Stuff” Doesn’t Have to be a Bad Word

Recycle with wordsYou won’t find many green living advocates admit this, but I like shopping and I like new things – clothes, shoes, accessories, kitchen gadgets, you name it. Even though it goes against most environmentalist teachings, I find it therapeutic and rewarding. And really, I don’t buy all that much that is frivolous. But I’ve realized I could make some changes without giving anything up – and in fact, I’m happier about my choices, I’m saving money, and it’s freed up some precious time. This really surprised me, so I thought I would devote the next 3 blog posts to “stuff” – all the tangible items that collect in our homes.

In this series, I’m not going to push the minimalist approach, or make you feel bad about your stuff. There are enough resources out there if you want to go down that road (this satirical piece on minimalism is good for smile). Instead, I want to share some ideas and offer some food for thought that will save you time, money, and maybe even make you happier (not to mention lessen your impact on the environment).

Allow me to get metaphorical for a minute. Try thinking of your relationship with stuff as you would a human one. This relationship would often be manipulative, not supportive, and wasteful. What if you could get out of this relationship and start one that lasts and makes you feel good about yourself? With stuff, it’s easier than you think, and it’s called being a conscious consumer.

“Stuff” can make a house a home, tell the world who we are, and simplify our lives. And yet somehow, we’ve allowed marketing departments to convince us that our stuff should be replaced instead of fixed, upgraded instead of used up, and accumulated even if unnecessary. Products are increasingly being designed to fail, meaning we have to keep buying more. We’re told that having the latest and the greatest will make us happy and feel more fulfilled, but research shows this isn’t true. Instead, we’re spending more money, have less spare time, and are generating waste at a staggering rate. (If you haven’t already, check out The Story of Stuff YouTube videos for more info on the impact of our disposable culture).

This series is about positive changes you can make in your routine without sacrificing or giving up your style. I’m not going to tell you to make all your own clothes, stop buying beautiful accessories, and ditch technology. I hope you’ll follow along – I think you’ll be glad you did.

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