Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Story of Stuff...

Continuing on the clutter/junk/stuff theme of recent posts, I came across Annie Leonard first as an author of a book called "The Story of Stuff" when I was researching consumerism for a Uni assignment, and then afterwards as an educator who is quite active on the net and you-tube.

It gave me a bit more of a global appreciation of the mess that we are getting ourselves (and our planet) into and has stopped me from buying and using one use items such as paper plates, balloons and take away meal toys...

Here's what I saw...

There is a book that goes into a ton of detail and is great for people who like to read and also who like more detail But a good introduction to the topic of "stuff" is the 20 minute movie that is hosted on their website. (You can also find it on you-tube). Grab a coffee (not in a paper cup) and have a look - Its very well done and quite suitable for kids to watch too! We watched quite a few times in our house!

My last post was about moving all that junk out of my house - this post is about not bringing it in in the first place! Instead of using paper plates at a BBQ or party, we now use the normal crockery and cutlery. Yes, we have to wash it up but we find that this is good bonding/talking/boasting time for the men (who usually wash up as the women usually set up and cooked) and after watching the video - I took all my paper plates to the local kindy to use as craft projects rather than be tempted to use them. I know they went into the bin eventually, but I wanted to get out of the one-use mentality as quickly as I can.

The book and video have made me stop and think about what I bring into the house, which declutters before it gets to the house, saves me money and makes me feel virtuous! Yes - that item may be cheap and I may have a use for it one day, but these days, I get it when I need it not when I see it. And I freely admit, I have missed a few bargains, but I bet I have saved more money AND cut down on my cleaning time!

Not so long ago I put birthday candles and balloons on a shopping list. Then I started to wonder... Did I already have some. I had a quick look and found no less than six packets of brand new never been used (or even opened) birthday cake candles and about 2000 balloons of every colour imaginable! I plan to use them all up and then never buy them again! If I don't use the balloons, they will eventually rot and be useless and thrown out - so I may as well use them (or donate them to that kindy down the road) have the fun and throw them out used rather than useless and unused...

Have  a look at the video and tell me what you think!

Score card:
Green-ness:  5/5 Educating yourself about stuff has gotta be good for you and the planet
Frugal-ness: 5/5 Saving money by not buying things  you don't really need - Awesomely frugal!
Time cost: 20 minutes to watch the video.  At least  a weeks worth of discussion with everyone you meet!
Skill level: If you can sit still for 20 minutes - you'll be just fine!
Fun -ness: More than you'd think!

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