We Are Better With Less

Just a friendly reminder as we enter the holiday season and the shudder-inducing, pathological consumption of “Black Friday” approaches: we don’t need all that STUFF. We’re better with less.

Stuff is what created the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an unfathomably huge area of plastic waste that doesn’t biodegrade, leaches harmful chemicals into the sea, and kills marine life. The manufacturing, shipping, packaging, and discarding of all our unnecessary stuff is killing the planet.

Stuff needs to be stored, cleaned, taken care of, packed, moved, recycled, re-homed, or disposed of. That’s time, energy, and money better spent on things that matter.

Stuff doesn’t make us happy. Experiences do. Experiences tend to bring us together with other humans and social connections are a key to happiness. Stuff demands our time and energy leaving less time for nurturing social relationships.

The quest for more, bigger, better, and still more stuff puts us in debt. Debt causes stress and hardship and can break up relationships and families.

Buying presents for everyone you love can be a huge time-suck and stress-inducer. Giving is supposed to make you happy, right? But that extra few hundred dollars in interest rates on your credit card from buying all that stuff kinda does the opposite.

Much of the stuff we give as gifts winds up as junk. (Click that link — really interesting article!)

So you didn’t realize I was such an old grinch-face, did you? Au contraire! I’m trying to lighten our load by reminding us that we are better with less. If you’re curious, let Courtney of Be More With Less explain why. Her site is full of good reasons to lessen our load of stuff and how this can help us live a better life.

I know I’ve taken the risk of sounding preachy. I’m not judging. (It’s hard to sit in judgement when I have a house full of stuff and, as my husband likes to point out regularly, three storage cabinets full of yarn and fabric. “Floor to ceiling!” he says reproachfully. Defensively I point out that the cabinets are in the basement which has a low ceiling. 😉 ) It’s hard to fight the urge for more stuff, when every message in our society tells us all day long that we need more. Stuff you didn’t know you needed until you were told. Stuff you “deserve”.  Stuff you can’t live without. Stuff that will make your life better. Stuff that is too good a bargain to turn down. Our capitalist society is built on the faulty premise that the economy must grow constantly (even though we know this is completely unsustainable for the planet and for our grandchildren).

Rather than being preachy I was just hoping to let you know that it’s possible for us to get through this season while minimizing a lot of the stresses and environmental devastation that goes along with stuff. Courtney has some good advice in her Guide to Simple Holidays and here’s some thorough advice from Wellness Mama on giving experiences instead of stuff, especially for families with kids.

By all means, let’s buy the things we need or want to support our creative hobby, because that is a creative endeavour that enhances our experience as humans.

But let’s allow ourselves the luxury of saying no to the rampant consumerism we’re constantly being badgered into. Let’s spend time doing what we love and being with the people we love. That’s what really matters.

I think we should rename Black Friday to Better With Less Friday, to remind ourselves of what’s important.

Thanks so much for stopping by (and humouring me on my ranting).

— Lori

 

 

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13 thoughts on “We Are Better With Less

  1. I really agree with you. In fact, I have sometimes (heretically, I know) wondered how many clothes some of the bloggers I read actually have in their closets… and clothes are stuff too. Some of them seem to pound out a new garment every couple of days. And I feel guilty of over-consumption too. While I don’t sew that fast personally, if I did sew up all the fabric (and knit the yarn) in my stash, I’d have enough clothes for four or five people or maybe more, not one. Guilty of buying more stuff as long as its fabric, yarn, or books I am! But I’m trying to stop. Happily I will be on an airplane on Black Friday so I won’t be able to indulge. (And why has Black Friday come to Canada anyway? I guess it’s a sales bandwagon the retailers have adopted).

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    1. Hi Catherine. I think about the same thing a lot. We can sometimes put pressure on ourselves as bloggers to have ‘something to blog about’ — i.e. a newly sewn garment. I often sew things I don’t need. I try to give myself a little slack on that due to the creative fulfilment I get from sewing, which I believe to be another pillar of happiness. And yes, boo, black friday is now firmly ensconced in Canada.

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  2. Hi Lori,
    I agree completely with your post, and clicked through from Feedly to let you know how much I appreciated your sentiments. I have to say though, that scrolling past ads for more “stuff” to be able to comment did give me pause. I greatly appreciate all of the wonderful advice, tips, tutorials, etc that sewing bloggers provide the sewing community, and I do understand that getting a small bit of compensation from advertising helps with the amount of effort that goes into sharing all of this goodness. I don’t know anything about Google ads, but do you have any control over the ads that appear? Can you choose experiences over stuff in ad preferences? I hope you aren’t offended—I was hesitant to post this, but I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot too, and I just thought this was a good example of how pervasive consumerism has become. It’s a dilemma for sure, and something we’re faced with all over the internet. Anyways, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jessica. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and no, I’m not offended at all! You make a great point. Unfortunately, I don’t have any control over the ads that are shown on my posts, and I don’t get any of the profit from them — that’s the ‘price’ I pay to be able to use the WordPress platform to host my blog for free. WordPress does have an option where you can pay them an annual fee to not have any ads on your content, but I decided not to fork out — all my expenses for blogging and podcasting are out of my own pocket so I’m trying to keep the costs down. It’s a great irony to have ads on this particular post, isn’t it? Sigh. 🙂

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      1. Thanks Lori. It’s not unlike the complaints about Instagram or Pinterest, with ads and algorithms and whatnot. All the price we pay for a ‘free’ service. I should have mentioned that I’m a retailer too; we depend on shoppers! But buying less, and buying better is always a good idea. Have a lovely weekend!

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  3. Thank you! You really got me thinking. Saturday I’m going to do the ‘Sinterklaas’ (dutch Santa) shopping and I was wondering what to get my daughter, because she’s a 4yo who doesn’t play a lot with toys, but with her imagination. Now I I’m thinking of giving her some experience tickets instead of toys she won’t use!

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  4. I’m with you on this one, being a person who has moved often I feel increasingly less attached to my stuff. There are some things that I really enjoy (sewing related mainly) that require a certain amount of storage and space but many other things have fallen in importance over the past ten years. Shopping for all the stuff has also become a less enjoyable experience for me than it once was. Experiences do have a far reaching effect on our quality of life, its a challenge with children but a good aim to have. Thanks for your post.

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