Thursday, January 05, 2017

Living More With Less

Wanting and buying less stuff is not a new path for me. Buying less gets easier over time once you've made a decision to do it. I think I'd call it 'mindful shopping' and I think carefully over what I buy and what price I pay for it. 

I'm also fortunate to have learned to sew as a very young girl which means mending, refashioning and making things from scratch is all doable and enjoyable so I don't feel I'm missing out on fashion. Plus, I have a large stash of fabric, patterns and haberdashery accumulated over the last 35 years. After all, I spent the best part of 10 years working in fashion retail, it's a hard habit to break. I also think fashion can be an artistic expression and getting it right (for you) can make a difference to how you feel. 

My reasons for the buying and having less things were selfish. I have accumulated way too much stuff over the years and need to get rid of it. It's making my life more difficult than it need be as time is spent making decisions of what to keep, what to discard, how to recycle, how to store when I could be spending time and money doing other things. It makes my home environment untidy and difficult to organise. Bottom line, it's wasting my time and money - neither of which are limitless resources. This starts by not adding to the pile from buying needlessly or mindlessly. 

I've been slowly shedding possessions for the last year or so. And it is a slow process. There's a lot to sort through to work out where to donate it, sell it, upcycle or recycle it. Throw in work and family commitments and the time to do it is limited. But I plan to continue on this path until it's done. When that will be, I have no idea but continue, I must.


The upside of this is that instead of getting 'things' as presents or choosing 'things' to treat myself with, I'm getting time with people I love and experiences of things I really want to do like going to the theatre, joining a craft workshop or walking in nature. These are all much better for my soul!

And as with my pescetarian preferences of the last 30 years, the ethics of 'less' came later but they're now part of my rationale too. I know retail is a large part of the economy, but it feels like the trend of 'less' is strengthening, not least as earning potential and the economy go down rather than up. This has implications for the retail sector, of course. And in turn, that impacts on the surrounding sectors such as advertising, marketing, packaging, distribution and more. This is not insignificant stuff but I'll leave the analysis on that one for another day when I've time to get an expert view on it from people smarter than me.

In the meantime, this is a good read around the ethical reasons for buying and having less. It's from a few years ago, but still relevant on re-reading yesterday.


And for those so inclined, the Marie Kondo books offer a way forward. You can get them on Amazon in all formats - the first one is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and the latest version is Spark Joy - The Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying. You don't need both of them - either will do to get you on the path of less. And remember, less is subjective. There is no need to go for complete minimalism, it's finding what works for you.