Monday, August 29, 2011

Too Much Stuff

I have been on a simplicity kick for quite some time, striving for, less is more.  The impetus of the "less stuff" kick were my children.  Before my daughter was 3 years old, she had accumulated astronomical amounts of stuff.  Books, toys, clothes, stuffed animals, etc.  I was overwhelmed and I felt she was too.  Add on another baby and all of her stuff, and we were drowning.  We definitely had too much and I decided to do something about it.  I attended a lecture on Simplicity Parenting and was given even more fuel for my personal de-stuff movement.  It was wonderful and empowering to know that we didn't have to drink the Kool Aid of our consumer society--that there are growing groups of people all over the world that are waking up to the chaos that stuff can bring, and they are waving their biodegradable trash bags in war cry. 

A year and a half later, countless drives to donation sites, and cautionary thoughtful purchasing, I still have not won the battle with my stuff, my family's stuff.  No matter how much I get rid of, more keeps coming in.  Stuff is cheap and stuff is plentiful.  A lot of the time stuff is free.

Why do I care?  First of all, simple aesthetics.  Stuff equals clutter and clutter stifles clear thought and creativity.  Stuff ends up in landfills and most likely is not biodegradable.  I battle the ebb and flow of navigating one's life within a throw-away society.   I will not teach my children our plastic "love em and leave em" ways.   This of course is a work in progress.  I am still learning the ways of the Junkless Jedi.  Less is more on so many levels.

Simplicity Parenting mentions a childhood with having fond memories of that one special toy, that one stuffed animal friend who was there through the thick of it, or that well-read comfort book.  I want my children to experience these things; not the massive shifting of stuff that enters their world and exits before too much of an impression was left. 

Thank God for the green movement.  It is not going away, nor should it.  We have to adopt better ways of living.  Better ways of preserving and disposing.

I often wonder what it would be like if we all had to deal with our own trash.   Imagine taking out your household waste and recycling, and placing it in a corner of the yard for a year.   Maybe then we would finally say, "Enough is enough" to all the trinkety cheap crap we buy our loved ones, our children, our friends, ourselves, that ultimately ends up in a refuse bag next to Fido's dog house.

Let us purchase thoughtfully and with purpose.   Where was this made?  What is it made of?  How long will it stay in my house?  Where will it end up when I'm done with it?  When it finally ends up in a landfill, does it take up much space and will it be there for long?  Do I really need it?  Do I really love it?