Buying nothing new

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Saw a TED talk called 'Wearing Nothing New', by Jessi Arrington.

The talk itself was nicely punchy, although a bit predictable - about finding all necessary items of clothing second-hand.

One problem is that she appears to advocate for saving resources, but doesn't acknowledge an obvious contradiction: fashionistas shop for way more clothes than they need - quite a wasteful starting point for a tree-hugger. Ok, she gives them back to the store in the end - and I like the statement 'It's OK to let go', to a certain extent. But then, you'd have to be pretty loaded on the long term to buy new clothes for a week, then give them all up and start again.

However, if you disregard the bobo incoherence, the idea contained in the title is pretty great.

Often I wonder if we could achieve this and for how long: living in a society where all available 'things' are visible / tradeable, and our first move would be to buy objects already 'in the world', instead of getting everything new.

Why do we need and end up getting NEW stuff?
Undoubtedly there is something about our psychological approach to self, wanting to be the first to use/wear something, associating NEW with a certain idea of CLEAN, good old-fashioned social pride to be able to afford NEW, etc.
But also, it still seems easier to buy NEW than USED, doesn't it - just compare the IKEA online catalog and the sexy Craigslist of results if you type 'wardrobe'.

More on this later.

Material - Immaterial

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ok, maybe I don't want to talk only about objects.
It's more about: how do you lead your life while using just what you really need. Things, food, energy, time.
So I am changing the subtitle: 'a blog about material possessions' into 'what exactly do we need'.

It's a bit tricky to be starting this blog because I have a backlog of thoughts to write, but need to feel I've defined the terms of the discussion beforehand.

So yes, this is also about immaterial things, and at all scales too. What do I really need as a person, to function? What does a building really need to function? What does a city really need to function? etc.

The subject is of interest to me because doing a bit of sorting would be soothing. There is so much stuff, everywhere. Matter, media, choice until you can't take it anymore. Stuff keeps coming, and we end up having to fend it off. No, I don't need a plastic bag. No, I don't need ten little pouches of ketchup with my fries. No, I don't want to receive your special offers.
It's tiring.
Being happy with just the necessary shouldn't be so hard.

Wasting ressources shouldn't be an Opt-Out behavior.
And we should pay something in return for the extras.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

If, like me, you live in a western(ized) society, leading a nomadic life (i.e. moves every 1,2,3 years) yet having a sedentary lifestyle (i.e. owning a queen size bed frame), moving is an extremely stressful time in your life.

It's probably the only time when you are forced to really face how much s... you have.

I recently moved for the 13th time.

Every time I think to myself: next time you will be lighter.
Slowly getting there, but even when being uber-careful about the things I agree to own, every time I am surprised by the amount.

This is my dream: Travel lightly. Live lightly. Bring with yourself only the necessary.