Friday, November 20, 2009

Story of Stuff

This is one of the proverbial straws on the camel's back that led to this entire project. If you have a few minutes, I recommend watching at least part of it. I couldn't get it to upload to the blog, so just click here: "Story of Stuff" to view the YouTube video.

If you don't have time to check it out, the gist of it is this:

Most of the stuff we buy is only made to last a short while. When people say, "They sure don't make 'em like they used to," they're pretty much spot on. Companies make things cheaply, and purposely make them so they won't last - that way, you'll keep buying more stuff.

How much of the stuff we have do we actually need or even want, and how much of it did we get because we are bombarded with commercials and advertisements that goad us into thinking we suck if we don't have that one item?

We're being hit with instant gratification wants, but at lower and lower prices. Problem with lower prices? You end up paying loads more in the long run because the low priced item is only meant to last a short while before it breaks and you have to buy another one.

Imagine all the waste. Imagine the landfills piling up with two and three times more junk because it doesn't last and we throw it out to buy something new.

I took a good look around our home with this in mind, and I noticed a few things. Our main DVD player is 3 years old, and on it's last legs. Our bedroom DVD player is 1 year old and recently began sounding like a jet taking off every time we load a DVD (and we've maybe used it 5 times). Our washer and dryer are 2 years old and I keep waiting for them to explode with the squeaking and booming sounds they make every time they run. My laptop is just over a year old and it runs like absolute crap (and that started before it got knocked over). Our very expensive dining room table started peeling and chipping before it was even 5 years old - and now that it's almost ten, it looks like it's a hundred. We've been through 2 answering machines and 3 home phones in the last decade, and 3 microwaves before we stopped using them.

I could go on, but I'll just stop now. We are simplifying, not just to raise money for Christmas, but because I'm tired of being wasteful. There are extravagances I love (like having an extra laptop), and things we need (even if they are wearing out) that we'll keep. I won't go buy a new dining room table, I'll just live with the ugly one or fix it or cover it up. As for the stuff we don't really need (like a DVD player in our bedroom, which we don't use anyway), when it breaks, it breaks and we won't replace it. Some of the stuff we don't use is being sold. Some of it will go to our Free Christmas. Most of it will not be replaced.


April said...

>Wild Applause<

Well put. It's so good to know that I actually DON'T suck because I never bought $300 skinny jeans. :)

And this speaks to the core of what I believe to be true. We don't need all of this stuff and while I currently live with someone who is excessive in every genre they purchase's good to be reminded that I'm not actually a mean cheapo mommy.

(My daughter does NOT need 14 brand new pairs of zip up Pajamas when I do laundry every week and she'll grow out of them within 4 months.***This last comment was obviously only a passive aggressive rant at my stepmother*** I really, really appreciate her buying things for my daughter...but I constantly have to remind her "not THAT much")

One Cluttered Brain said...

You are absolutely right! We usually have a pretty frugal Christmas too. I mean the kids are happy, but there is NO sense going into debt for things you can make do with or wait until your stuff completly wears out. Thanks for doing this!

You actually got to almost talk to a celebrity? Way cool!

MamaOtwins+1 said...

I made a whole post on being frugal for Christmas this year last friday. Some things are just not worth it and we all need to learn how to cut back.

MamaOtwins+1 said...

Oh- I found you on SITS

Corinne said...

I really appreciate this post! We've been really trying to go "minimal" on almost everything. Cut back, conserve, get rid of the "stuff" in our life. The clutter alone takes up so much space. And since we've been purging and changing... we've been a lot more content.
Sometimes less really does mean more.

Call Me Cate said...

I wish more people got this. I wish I thought more about it. My husband, self-professed Mr. Green, is HORRIBLE about buying buying buying. It's all gotta go somewhere eventually. And probably sooner rather than later.

adrienzgirl said...

We are simplifying here. I don't think we are getting out of this economic hole anytime soon, and my kids, they learn from example. Hubs and I are trying to change specifically to help the kiddos.

Ann On and On... said...

For years now we have simplified our lives(hubs and I).... My friends laugh at me for using my VHS player within the tv. O.k. I laugh at myself too, but the t.v. still works so why not use it. :D It started with not having a lot of money and became a way of life.