By Tara McKenna
A quick Google search for the term “materialistic” brings up the following definition: “excessively concerned with material possessions” – and sure, we’re living in a very materialistic era where people endeavour to buy more and more things.
Based on how we use the term in day-to-day conversations, the definition should probably be more like this: “excessively concerned with obtaining more material possessions.”
The problem is, in my opinion, we’re not materialistic enough based on the definition that pops up on a Google search.
If we were excessively concerned with our material possessions, we’d probably be more thoughtful about our purchases, and look after our items for the long-haul, instead of constantly shopping for the next best thing to replace that old thing we just bought last week.
This isn’t a new idea (that we should be more materialistic). Annie Leonard articulates this well in her book The Story of Stuff:
“In fact, I’m pro-Stuff! I want us to value our Stuff more, to care for it, to give it the respect it deserves. I want us to recognize that each thing we buy involved all sorts of resources and labor. Someone mined the earth for the metals in your cell phone; someone unloaded the bales from the cotton gin for your T-shirt. Someone in a factory assembled that pair of sunglasses, and they might have been exposed to carcinogens or forced to work overtime. Someone drove or flew this bouquet around the country or the world to get it to you. We need to understand the true value of our Stuff, far beyond the price tag and far beyond the social status of ownership. Stuff should be long-lasting, made with the pride of an artisan and cared for accordingly.”
Personally, I’m not against consumption, and I’m not anti-capitalist. That said, I believe that growth for growth’s sake doesn’t help anyone (except, perhaps, the wallets of a select few big corps).
We need to do better for the planet, because to keep producing the products we consume (including things we need, like food, shelter, and transportation), we need a healthy planet. So, being more materialistic just makes sense!
Let’s Be More Materialistic
I believe we should be more materialistic – meaning, we should be more caring of the stuff we buy and the stuff we own.
Here are some tips for being more materialistic:
Avoid mindless shopping: Are you shopping for fun or to de-stress? Perhaps find some other activities to fill that time instead, like spending time with family and friends, and enjoying hobbies and activities. Mindless shopping is an unnecessary expense and leads to clutter, which results in the need to declutter, which adds to our landfills.
Keep a wish list: Buy only want you truly want and need by keeping a list of things you’d like to buy. That way if you are out and about and you find something you’d like to buy on a whim, you don’t buy it and instead pop that item onto your wish list. If you still want/need that item in a week or two, then perhaps it’s something you should buy (chances are you won't want to).
Buy things that are made to last: These days stuff is designed to break easily, and that's called planned obsolescence. To combat planned obsolescence, we can buy things that are built to last and that can easily be repaired. That way, less ends up in the landfill.
Take care of your belongings: Look after the stuff you already have. Maintain your items, clean and repair them, and give them the attention they need. If you don’t love your items enough to look after them, perhaps they need a new home.
What do you think, should we be more materialistic? Share your thoughts on social media and share this post! You might also love The Declutter Workbook!