“Buy Me Once” Minimizing your consumption through smart shopping

Buy Me Once - Patagonia Repairable GoodsThe age of consumerism is arguably on the decline as minimalism, quality goods, and conscious purchases increase.  People are doing the math, and realizing it’s more affordable in the long-run to buy one quality product than it is to purchase and replace cheap items repeatedly. Businesses are getting on board, providing high quality, repairable goods rather than disposables.  Patagonia’s Worn-Wear Campaign is an ideal example.  The outdoor goods company creates top quality products, and when these items do wear out they offer a repair program – encouraging their customers to love their clothes rather than throw them out.

Buy Me Once This idea of having a relationship with your goods is a valuable one.  Think about those shoes you had as a kid, the ones you wore until your big toe stuck out the front.  In adulthood this commitment to our goods diminishes as we jump on the “more, more, more” bandwagon – fueled by society’s needs for better products and new styles.  It’s time to go back to having relationships with our items.  Think of having a cast-iron pan for decades that you have cooked umpteen holiday meals in.  Treasuring that hat that you’ve re-sewn the top together five times because you know it has another three years of hiking in it.  Replacing the liner in an antique jacket because it’s comfortable, beautiful, and classic vintage~  These are all examples of how my friends and family have maintained a relationship with their goods.  As quality products come back into style, the ability to hold onto your goods increases.  A great example is an up and coming store called “Buy Me Once.”

Buy Me Once Tara ButtonTara Button is a entrepreneur who’s goal is to provide her customers with the highest quality, most durable products on the market.  She was recently quoted in Telegraph’s “The Rise of Buy Me Once” saying, “I thought to myself one day last year when I was washing my Le Creuset pan, I will have this for life – wouldn’t it be great if everything else in my kitchen was like that? You buy it once and you never have to buy it again.”  Tara populates her store with high quality goods, like Le Creuset, that will last a lifetime.  She does the research and tests the products, ensuring they will fit her consumers’ needs.  This diminishes customers frustration with trying on their own to find the best products on the market.

Buy Me OnceTara’s Buy Me Once is an online shop, that launched this year, offering  clothes, shoes, kitchenware, appliances, and even toys to name a few!  Her website also has useful articles, tips, and design challenges.  Check it out!  Wouldn’t it be a great resolution to set for the New Year, that everything we buy we’ll never have to buy again?  Buy Me Once Campaign – give it a try.

Why we should choose a minimalist lifestyle: three reasons to cut back

by Heather Kallevig

minimalist lifestyle - the new American DreamThe American Dream was established on principals of freedom, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. Initially these concerned religion, commerce, and day-to-day activities. As time wore on, the pursuit of happiness became more about property, a nice home, and items to fill that home. The 20th century is marked by many accomplishments, failures, and trends. One of the major trends was consumption.

Especially during the second half of the century, Americans’ buying and spending increased at a shocking rate. As wealth spreads globally, so does consumption and awareness of the problems it creates.

minimalist lifestyleIn the 21st century we are seeing the start of a new trend, one that celebrates minimalism. We are attracted to quality products, conscious capitalists, and tiny houses. This perhaps may be the inception of a new trend, one that is healthier for people, our future, and our planet. If you are considering a minimalist take on life, below are three benefits of this lifestyle.

Lower consumption

minimalist lifestyle - lower consumptionEach year 35 million cell phones land in the garbage, 25 billion Styrofoam cups are not recycled, and the average American is responsible for 65 pounds of clothing tossed in the landfill. These are the result of a consumptive society.

Think about the activities you participated in over the past week. Now consider the items that were used and thrown away. Whether it was disposable food containers, plastic decorations for a party, or bags at the grocery store. (The average American uses 300 plastic grocery bags a year!)   These are only a few examples of the items we are creating, consuming, and tossing.   If everyone in the planet lived at the consumptive level of Americans, we would need 3 planet Earths to support the minimalist lifestyle - stop being a customer, be a humanresource need for goods!

Next consider the items you’ve purchased in the past year. How many of those things do you use on a daily basis? Weekly? Monthly? If you haven’t used it in the past six months, do you really need it?

World household consumption increased fourfold in the years between 1960 and 2000. 60% of this consumption took place in the US and Europe – regions that account for only 12% of the world’s population. The consumption class is a group that has been growing since the 1960s. As developing nations gain technology and wealth, the consumption class will continue to grow, stressing our already over-taxed resources.

Minimalism is a growing response to the negative impacts of over consumption. By choosing a minimalist lifestyle, you decrease the goods you purchase, and minimize the items you need. If everyone adopted a minimalist lifestyle, it would have major environmental benefits for our planet.

Gain Freedom

minimalist lifestyle - getting rid of stuffGeorge Carlin, a famous comedian, had an infamous bit about “stuff” and the encumbrance of having more. As he sardonically stated, “The meaning of life – trying to find a place to keep your stuff.”

Minimalists choose a different meaning of life.

Whether its clothes, tools, gadgets, or trinkets – people have things they’re attached to. The problem with this attachment is you cannot get away. When the time comes to relocate, whether it’s to a new house, state, or country – the more items you have, the more stressful the move!

You also have to spend more time and money taking care of these items. Consider the amount of time you spend sweeping, dusting, cleaning and repairing. Now cut that time because you have fewer things. You can instead enjoy yourself doing something fun outside with your family, friends, or pets. Using the same idea, reflect on how much money you have spent on items you brought home, stashed somewhere, and soon forgot. If you had not wasted money on more “things” you may have instead applied those funds to travel, charity, or built up a healthy savings account.

minimalist lifestyle - the tiny house movement

Choosing a minimalist lifestyle can be liberating. Decreasing your “stuff” gives you more freedom with space, freedom with time, and freedom with money.

Shorten the workweek

shorten the work weekThe American public works harder than any preceding generation. According to the Center for American Progress, 85.8% of males and 66.5% of females clock in more than 40 hours per week. While 134 countries worldwide have laws regulating the workweek length, the US does not. Americans are also taking fewer holidays and sick days. The image below by the Center for Economic and Policy Research compares work days and holidays across several developed countries. The US is at the bottom level of the chart.

minimalist lifestyle - paid vacation and paid holidays in working days

So why are Americans working so hard? You may assume it’s the passing down of the age-old American work ethic, but researchers are finding new reasons. Many argue the increase in work is a result of our consumerist culture and our growing consumption class. The more things people want to buy, the more they must work to afford them.

minimalist lifestyleBy choosing a minimalist lifestyle, you can live with much less money and can significantly decrease the time spent in the workplace. The overall health benefits of this decision are invaluable.

Go minimal

The minimalist movement is gaining the attention of people at all wealths, ages, and cultures. Whether you are attracted to the freedom, the affordability, or the opportunity to lower your footprint, minimalism is a choice with innumerable benefits. By reconsidering our values and choosing to deny consumerism, we break away from an existence tied to “stuff” for a more fulfilling, enriching lifestyle.

The minimalist movement is growing, and there are many helpful leaders to follow. Check out The Minimalists for more helpful information.

In the end, choose simple living. Choose Minimalism.

minimalism - because less is more

References

20 Something Finance

Care2

Center for American Progress

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Center for a New American Dream

EPA

Facing the Future

National Wildlife Federation

World Watch Institute