Do We Need All This Stuff?
I recently spent a weekend with a girlfriend and her daughters as one of them is battling an illness and they needed a helping hand. It was so nice to be able to step up and help leaving my family to fend for themselves. It was wonderful to join in the routine and activities of another family and forget about myself. My girlfriend is pretty much a single mum raising her daughters to the best of her ability on a tight shoestring budget. It was amazing to see how far she stretches a dollar and the experience was a real eye opener for me.
We all waste a lot. You can look around and see how disposable our society is. We can all do better and really think about what we need and what we want before we go into automatic pilot being blind to our actions. I definitely feel a shift towards people caring about making changes no matter how small and it gives me such hope and motivation to live differently.
Just think about clothes and fast fashion! My girlfriend and her daughters LOVE shopping so we spent quite a bit of time at the local outlet mall and I attended my first suitcase sale. This is where people bring a suitcase full of clothes, pay a nominal amount for a space and sell the items. It's like bringing lots of op shops together in one spot. My friend's daughter A is in a wheelchair so everything takes longer. We strolled from suitcase to suitcase and she pointed out items to look at and consider and was so patient. I'm not so patient and don't really ever shop for clothes but I let go, took it all in and even ended up buying a couple of items. My friend's daughter A negotiated like a pro - her mother is her role model - and hardly paid more than $5 for any item.
They are regulars at their local op shop and all three girls have amazing wardrobes. So amazing and vast that A and I spent the afternoon organising her closet having great chats about life as we filled 2 garbage bags to take back to the op shop! I love how my girlfriend buys items for $0.50 at the op shop then brings back bags of stuff to donate to the same op shop. It's a logical cycle.
My friend found an amazing frozen yogurt machine at the op shop for $10 and every morning she'd whip us up amazing bowls of frozen fruit and yogurt. At a cafe those bowls wouldn't be less than $10 each and I think hers tasted better!
In the clean up we found a pair of broken sunglasses that I assumed would be thrown away (FYI I'm a thrower or give things away to try and live as minimally as possible). My friend picked up those broken glasses and said, 'wait don't throw those away, they probably just need a small screw and then they'll be perfect.' How true. One small screw was probably all they needed and I'd so quickly discarded them. That made me stop and think. How often do we do this with other things that are so easily discarded and replaced?*
Mindfulness. I think getting out of automate pilot and being aware of our actions and what's around us and appreciating the value of things as they are or with a bit of TLC is the way to be. I feel a shift in our disposable society and know if we all do our part with small steps, they'll add up to a much larger step and making a real difference.
Let's share our ways of living more mindfully with each other and treat the Earth with respect to help one another as we all can make a difference. Need more inspiration, check out One Million Women.
*That's what I love about our Fridge-to-go bags that they should last years and years if they're properly looked after and often parents take over old bags from their kids to use for the whole family or for work lunches. Let us know if you've come up with a clever way of using them once they've 'died' as we're all ears!