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Fighting the Stuff Dream

October 5, 2010

Toby's Brave Fight by Kevin Steele

It can be difficult to fight the dream of Stuff. We’re constantly inundated by images and messaging that we need something more to be happy. Buy more. Buy new. Ads say more stuff will make you happier, but study after study confirms they don’t.

You think you’re living pretty well, but actually not unless you’re driving a certain car. Think you’re gonna impress a pretty lady tonight? Not unless you buy her a nice, cold specific beer. But to get her attention, you also need the right body spray.

They get me where it hurts.

Whether subconsciously or not, we all absorb the ads. You ever see a product and burst out in some jingle? I hear the voices in my head singing the slogans to things as I walk through stores. “Choosey Mom’s Choose Jif.” “You’re not fully clean unless you’re Zest-fully clean!” Researchers and advertisers spend big money and long hours tweaking ads and products to seduce us.


So how do we avoid living lives driven by products?

Ignore ads. Whether it’s skipping over them in magazines, using a pop-up blocker, or flat out redirecting your attention when your commuting. Mute or don’t watch tv ads and the commercials that pop up before videos online. And the next time you’re shopping, consider how advertising might be swaying your choices.

Be a person advertisers hate. Foil their plan of buying heavily advertised products and seek alternatives. There’s something of a movement around buying local, and it’s a great one to propagate. Beyond supporting local businesses and buying local food, support local talent and avoid big brands. Spend your money on products you believe in.

Wear it out. When was the last time you really wore out a pair of pants or shoes? I’ve put you up to the challenge.

The doosy: consume less. Think Handmade, Reuse & Repair. I remember my disbelief when my mom and I pulled up to the tv repair shop as a kid. It was full of old tvs stacked up and gutted with wires and little parts I never knew existed. Often we think of replacing something when it’s not working, but instead find a repair shop to keep it alive longer. Reinvent old objects, and even repurpose them. Turn old containers into planters. Repaint old furniture. And if you can’t use it, sell it, give it to a friend and give it new life.

Have other tips? Feel free to share.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2010 9:54 pm

    Loving the new site!

    This is such a great post! I don’t know that I have anything to add, as you hit the major points, but the one thing we are trying to be very conscious about is to not buy new. Like you said, so many people just throw things away when they are “broken” and you can get them cheap, cheap, cheap and fix them up for way less than the cost of new. It’s the same thing with clothes. We live in a fairly wealthy suburb (although we are not) and people donate to the Good Will stores and sell their “gently used” items at garage sales ALL the time. Being a good bargain hunter and knowing only what you need and not want, is a great way to not only save money but not clutter up your life. (Trust me, no one “needs” the newest style of jeans when last year’s style works just fine.)

    Plus, when you don’t buy anything new, you aren’t swayed by those pesky advertisements to get the latest, coolest thing on the market. You learn pretty quick that you really don’t need those things and that they are a waste of time, money, and space in your life.

    Just my 2 cents… 🙂

    • October 8, 2010 10:29 am

      I like your 2 cents, Kristine! It’s so true that there’s a lot of pressure to buy the newest, but “last years” stuff still works & looks fine! And looking for gently used is a great tip – especially with kids that might quickly tire of something or grow out of it, or for things that you don’t have a lot of use for, it’s great not to pay full price or give something a big monetary value when it doesn’t add a lot to your life. I used to love finding Goodwill treasures for a few dollars, getting my use of them, then dropping them back off a few months/ year later.

  2. October 7, 2010 10:37 am

    Love the focus of this blog, you have a new faithful reader!

  3. maryrichardson permalink
    October 13, 2010 1:01 pm

    Dear Bessie,
    I really appreciate the message of less stuff and the value of a minimalist lifestyle. I follow the same mantra in my everyday life, and I really feel that it’s made me happier and more focused on what’s more important.

    • October 13, 2010 1:14 pm

      Amen to that, Mary! It’s great to find a kindred spirit. You say it well that having less stuff allows you to be more focused on what’s important.

      Thanks for trekking over to our blog – great to hear from you.

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