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.