Since my world has been opened to the minimalist philosophy, my view on consumerism has also been altered. In the process of offloading a majority of my possessions, it made me think really seriously about buying new things. From this vantage point, a new item would have to add substantial value to me on a weekly basis, whilst having a quality that will hopefully last the test of time. I am no longer interested in poor quality, ‘throw away’ items that seem to occupy most of our space.
I began to ponder how many things our society accumulates, that are so easily replaced or forgotten about. It seems the quality of items is going down, along with the cost. So when something breaks, we have a tendency to throw it out and buy a new one. Which is totally understandable when you look at how cheap everything has become. But what ever happened to repairing your stuff? (It’s most likely cheaper to buy a replacement than fix your existing item….scary) I find it disturbing to think about all of the ‘stuff’ that must get thrown out. Where does it all go? What impact is it having on nature?
Now i’m a fan of cheap stuff just as much as anyone else, but surely the production of these items is taking a toll, causing more waste and more burning of resources. Especially that items are, in a lot of cases, designed to break after 1 or 2 years, forcing you to go out and pay for a replacement. Now of course this doesn’t apply for good quality items, but it’s hard to buy a Sony sound system for $2,000 when you can buy a seemingly equal system for $400 at Aldi. Not to mention you have probably spent all your money buying an array of other ‘throw away stuff’ at a cheap cost.
You won’t see me out protesting against consumerism, but I do enjoy the fact that my newly found minimalist ways will reduce my personal waste and impact on the environment. From now on I will be researching properly on the quality of any new acquisition, and will not be afraid to spend good money if I feel something will last 10-20+ years, whilst adding value to my life. This will not only reduce my personal waste, but should I ever choose to sell the item, it will yield a decent selling price and be of long term value for someone else.
I feel that most of us are being caught up in this deadly cycle of consumption. The corporations are advertising their products for this purpose. They want people to consume in this way as it creates more returning customers, and builds habits around impulse purchasing. Not only does this hurt our planet (and pockets), but it is also teaching society to under-appreciate their possessions. Why appreciate what you have, when you can get a new one tomorrow? Not cool if your trying to train your gratitude muscles.
I am in complete gratitude for how minimalism made it’s way into my life, as it has opened my eyes (unintentionally) to a world of consumerism that I was previously blind to.
I am excited to walk a path of intentional purchasing, while living a more sustainable lifestyle.