I, like many others, took this quarantine as an opportunity to clean and declutter my space. Bag after bag, I became increasingly frustrated about what I had accumulated over the years… from themed tee-shirts and souvenirs to gifts that had never been touched. It was eye opening and disappointing, but I can’t imagine I’m the only one.
We have a ton of waste (literally, tons) and I’m not just talking about plastic straws or cups. I’m talking about old furniture, holiday decorations and countless other things that are thrown away on a daily basis. Once we get to the point of cleaning/de-cluttering, the only solutions are the landfill, recycling, reusing and composting, but the question is… How did we get here? Why is there so much waste?
It’s too easy. There is ALWAYS something new coming out that will make our lives easier and because *shocker we’re a consumer economy.
How Can We Reduce Consumption?
Buy smart and buy less.
- Buy sparingly. It’s so easy to buy just because you can or because it’s something you think you need.
Does your girlfriend need that giant teddy bear for Valentine’s Day? Does your two-year old’s birthday party need a theme? Do you need a new outfit for every occasion? Do you need to redecorate your living room every year? Let me answer all of those…. NO.
It is so easy to get sucked into social trends that have us buying things that we don’t need and often don’t use.
- Buy the best you can afford. My brother’s motto was always “Buy it nice or buy it twice”, and I’m realizing he was onto something.
This is my brother’s motto and I have to admit, he was onto something. By buying the best of something, or at least a higher grade, you’re preventing future purchases and waste (i.e. a reusable coffee mug, quality razors, or even investing in a pair of sandals that can last you for more than 2 months out of the year).
This is also a great opportunity to support local businesses. By investing in a higher quality product, you’re also investing in your community. *win-win
- If you can, buy used. I know this has a stigma…. about not wanting to use someone’s old stuff and not knowing where it’s been. However, this is a great way to cut down on production and save money.
Think Before You Throw
This information is good moving forward, but as you’re cleaning out your house these next couple of days… consider options other than your landfill.
A great resource I recommend using is Missoula’s Zero by Fifty “What do I do with…?“.