I have decided to put my money where my mouth is and NOT participate in the buying frenzy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. After years of reading about voluntary simplicity and the unintentional consequences of consumerism, I’m determined to only buy absolute essentials. It is easier said than done.
First, I have to dodge all of the tempting and sometimes ludicrous on-line ads that are so clearly focused on “stuff” I usually like (i.e., am addicted to). Ads for books, yarn, fabric, music, and hand cream bombard me. I have a stash of all of the above and could most likely open my own store. Yet, those ads are so enticing. They know what they’re doing, and their data mining usually pays off, but not this time.
I’m determined to make minimalism work and stop the whole cycle of having “TOOOOOO MUCH STUFF”. That means buying only what we really need. What a new concept! What do I really need???? In the grocery store, it means buying one package of tofu, not four. It’s not purchasing yet another toy for the cat… or more skeins of yarn to keep the other zillion company in my studio. It means more frequent trips to the Falmouth Public Library instead of filling up my bookshelves with bought books that I’ll only scan. I will buy a pomegranate or two, but not six or seven.
My buying habits reveal that I live by the “warehouse” concept, not the “buy as you use” system. At any time of the day or the year, I probably have what I “need” to complete any ridiculous task I dream up. I do think that I will most likely be dead before everything is used up and that’s rather pathetic. What would my widower husband do with enough yarn to make 47 sweaters?
This epiphany became apparent when we moved. I thought I’d need ten boxes to empty out a room; in reality it was thirty, ok really forty. There was a lot of stuff I had amassed. It was a physical sign that I couldn’t ignore. Yes, we destashed, gave to charities, to friends and to the recycle center, but the message was there in bold print. There’s too much stuff.
The solution requires halting the incoming. Since November 1, I’ve been diligent in only purchasing essentials, and I’m being fairly strict on my definition of essentials. Yes to healthy food, utilities and medical expenses; No to anything I really can do without. I’ve been living by the World War II adage, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Most of my Christmas gift giving will be handmade from my fabulous stash. It’s actually kind of fun to re-discover the interesting fiber, beads, and creative findings in my studio. I recently saw an ad for a gorgeous skein of yarn that would be absolutely perfect for a hat or socks for either daughter… my heart raced—it was sooo perfect. Then I rummaged through studio and found that I already had three skeins of that exact same yarn. Hmmmmm,.. embarassing and eye-opening
So wish me luck as I attempt this year-long journey of minimalism and voluntary simplicity. I actually am finding it quite exciting, and hope it will become a way of life. I will keep you posted on my progress and would love to hear how you’re dealing with this issue. In the meantime, here’s George Carlin’s bit on “Stuff”. Don’t pay attention to the ad!!!