Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Three Degrees of Buying

I have been reading a good book lately called "Enough". It's about (funnily enough) having enough. Enough food, enough stuff, even enough work and happiness. It's got me thinking about stuff though today. In this house we definitely have enough possessions.

To create our current standard of living we have farmed one quarter of the land on this earth, overexploited our ocean life, increased the level of carbon dioxide by 30% and mutilplied the extinction rate 1000 times. Not much to be proud of there!!!!

Now when we have to buy something to add to the house I try to buy in the following ways.

I always op shop first.

Firstly, because the "stuff" in those shops already exists. Meaning resources have already been used to create them. So it's best to get as much use out of them as possible.

However, op shopping is an art. Yes, really.

Say I needed some jeans as mine are falling apart. You can bet your bottom dollar if I went to an op shop looking for a pair of jeans for myself I wouldn't find them. No way! That would be too easy.

No op shopping requires forward thinking. You have to browse with the future in mind.

last week I picked up a t-shirt foR Rhianna - almost new and she has very few shirts.

I also found two great non-fiction books to add to our collection. Both of them at her reading level and she has been interested in both these subjects lately.

Now, I am not perfect and I did manage to squeeze in a non essential purchase - a vintage handbag to add to my very small collection.

But really, it was only $2 and will be loved forever by myself and Rhianna who has taken a bit of a shine to it. It's the gold one.

After second hand I try to buy green and organic. For instance, I always buy recycled toilet paper and purchase things such as cosmetics and sunscreen from reputable organic sellers - usually off the net.

Lastly I'll buy new if I have to. Things that fall into this category are specialised clothing such as swimmers, electrical goods such as cameras and of course food that I can't get organically.

The whole purchasing thing is such a juggling act sometimes that often I do without.

Then there is always the law of the universe that says when you need something it will come to you.

Like yesterday, I mentioned to a girlfriend that I was going to begin teaching Time to Rhianna and she mentioned that she had an old magnetic clock set that she was finished with - a match made in heaven.

Do you buy green or organic or second hand. Or are you trying to reduce your consumption in other ways. I'd love to know.


Kristi said...

Land fill my family & friends are sick of the term...i look at somthing & think how long till thats in land fill! like childrens partys mmmm they will have them but i think tell parents what to buy ie a book or a small somthing you no will be loved, used & passed on. This way my home is not full of just stuff. No party bag, a copy of a book that you think will be past on:).

Vanessa said...

Great ideas Kristi

Busy mum of 3 said...

We try to tread as lightly as possible in our house, and there is a whole ground swell of people doing the same, I think before too long we will see the impact of this on retailers too. Have you watched The Story of Stuff, it's only a 10min video, very powerful message, well worth watching. You should be able to find it if you google it.

Vanessa said...

Yes I've seen it Busy Mum of 3. It's a terrific eye opener isn't it?

Libby said...

Great post. I love the idea of op shops but don't like any of the ones I've been in - just don't feel comfortable and the way they are set up. So for now I just try to be careful with buying only what I need, truely love and have a home for. I also donate as soon as we no longer use/need something so someone else can use/love it NOW, not when it's old/useless and out of fashion.