I keep thinking if I only have ___ then I'm done. I won't want any more stuff. If I could just get new pots that work better, a dehydrator, sustainable clothing etc etc. However, I seriously doubt buying a bunch of stuff to replace the stuff I really have is going to make me more eco friendly, or less likely to buy more cheap china crap. Suggestions on how to get over this?
Married to a wonderful woman since 2010. Baby boy C arrived in June 2013!
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For me, I find that the more things I have/the more I shop, the more things I think I need. So the best way I found to overcome that "if I only had _, I'd be satisfied" was to go the other direction and dramatically cut back on my possessions. So I started in one area (I can't remember what I started with, and it doesn't really matter, you could start with a closet or cupboard or anything that you feel might be fairly easy to sort through and start letting go of) and really asked myself why I had each item, what it added to my life and whether or not I could live without it. The feeling of freedom that came with letting go of the stuff was invigorating, and the feeling of not having enough/the right things gradually diminished. Now I notice if I buy a few things, that feeling can start to creep back in, so I combat it by doing my best to make mindful choices about what I bring into my home.
I've read many great blogs that have inspired me along, but I have found, personally, that the actions I took/take have been the most effective way to change my attitude about stuff and consumption in general. Leo Babauta's site "Zen Habits" is a great place to check out because he talks a lot about habits and how to change them. He also offers the Sea Change program to teach people how to implement his ideas and make small but significant changes that can help you move your life and attitudes in the direction that you want them to go. Good luck!
Sometimes when I want something new, I make myself donate a bunch of stuff to Goodwill first. Also, I try to find ways to be resourceful and innovative with what I already have. Saving money and being creative can also give me a kind of emotional boost, similar to the feeling of excitement over a new thing.
Working mom and grad student with a weird husband, a few cats, and a nifty kid! Anton, born 8/9/11
If you're down to watch a documentary (or two or three), you could turn on the Zeitgeist documentaries (you can find them online for free) if you haven't already. Also, the "story of stuff" on youtube (a great quickie!). They're great for just... reprogramming.
It's easy for us to "need" less because we don't have much money, and what we do have we are saving so that we are able to set ourselves up to be sustainable, so that we are able to provide ourselves with the basic things we need. Talking about your goals is also a great way to stay on track. I find that coming onto Mothering.com and discussing the ways I'm making our home more sufficient, environmentally friendly, and garbage-free helps me become more inspired to better myself further.
That's definitely one way I have been able to cut out consumption, is by cutting out disposable items from our household. The main one I haven't rid the house of yet is toilet paper... it gets flushed, but I'd like to eventually have a different (yet sanitary) solution for that, once we're on our own property. Don't want to have to buy a bunch of toilet paper all the time! Hmm...
I sometimes try and have these thoughts & sayings echo in my brain
"Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without"
From different religions.
"Who is rich? He who is contented with his lot"
'Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
"Suffering arises from attachment to desires"
"What after all, is a halo? It's only one more thing to keep clean"
- Christopher Fry, from "The Lady's not for Burning" Act 1
Finally - have you ever gone through or cleaned out a dead relative's possessions? Sometimes I imagine someone going through my stuff & it certainly makes me want to keep stuff tidy & down to a minimum. The cartoonist Roz Chast recently described it as "looking at things postmortemistically".
This book has some great photos, it was an eye-opener for me years ago:
Hehe, so was moving.
Empty-nesting SAHM to DS1 (1989), DS2 (1992), and an overachieving mother (1930). Married to DH since 1986.
I'm doing a bit better. I did spend $40 on clothes today but the husband's shorts were pretty much beyond repair so I got him two for $20 and I got a bunch of easy nursing outfits at goodwill for $1-3 a piece.