Monday, October 13, 2008

The story of stuff

Since I was pregnant with Charlotte and probably a bit before that I, along with a growing number of people, became interested and concerned about the planet, what we're doing to it and where it will all end. Soon after we moved to Canberra a met a wonderful woman who is one of the most amazing examples of anti-consumerism who motivated me to make changes in my life but more importantly in my thinking. It worries me though that while the kids are getting these messages at home, society around them is saying very different things, ads on TV, kids in the playground at school, even my own family is driving me nuts!!

Thinking about the things that we do in our home...
- We are clothed from the op-shop around 90% of the time (underwear and shoes are my must-have-new items though)
- Changed from paper napkins and tissues to hankies and proper cloth napkins
- Cloth nappied Charlotte (and it's been rubbing off!)
- We are trying to have one day (Sat/Sun) where we don't use the car. I'm definitely finding this one the hardest! We're close enough to walk to town but if we want to see mum or dad we have to drive over to see them.
- Limiting the use of cling wraps etc and trying to use plastic containers more for storage
- Buying in bulk for things like rice/flour/potatoes to try and cut down on the packaging - same thing with yoghurt. I used to buy the 6 little tubs but we're now getting the 1kg pack and decanting this into little containers.
- Making my own cleaning products - I use the kitchen one and have been using the concentrated laundry soap recipe for a few months now

Then I think about what the kids are exposed to while they're away from me
- For Izaak - the ads on TV are a killer. Every toy, every take away - he has to have. I'm not sure if it's an age thing or an autistic thing but he can't see/understand that things aren't literal - i.e an ad for KFC uses the tage "keeps the family happy" so recently when something was bothering me he told me we had to have KFC for dinner because it will make us as a family happy. I hate the exploitation of children through messages like these and am contemplating getting rid of the TV again for a while.
- My family - As a household with 3 adults and 2 children under the age of 3, they generate around 480 litres of garbage - A WEEK!. Yep - 2 big bin fulls. They do have 2 children in disposables full time but the food wastage in their house is unreal.

I have to admit though that while in the past I've been able to stick to my anti-buying stance, recently I've been caught up in the need-to-have-it or it's-a-bargain lures of yarn. I really don't need it and while some good fortunes have meant I've been able to afford it I'm now feeling terribly guilty about the ridiculous amount of yarn I have compared to the amount of knitting that I actually get done. So I've got an order in for some Bendy cotton with a friend and another fellow knitter was nice enough to get me some yarn on her recent holiday but I am pledging that there will not be any more yarn coming into this house until next year. I don't need any more and I've just let myself get caught up in the excitement/rush of buying and having stuff which is what I have been trying to avoid! Interesting thought really.... why does buying make me feel so good? Even when it's stuff I don't really need. Anyway, if you're interested in the issues around stuff, consumerism, consumption and the like this video is worth a look.

1 comment:

Bells said...

I hear you. I really do. I tell myself from time to time that I have enough. I know I could slow down a little more.

But I also know I feel strongly that i'm buying stuff that I will use as opposed to junk that will just fill up spaces I don't have in the house.

That's what I tell myself anyway.

But if it helps, I will no longer offer to put you down for orders!