Minimalist Home: Is New Necessarily Better?

Every day new products are being manufactured. New clothes, housewares, electronics, and so forth. There is a whole culture built around “new”. Shopping channels to show you what’s new. Email subscriptions to tell you what’s new. Advertising billboards. Radio AD time. Television commercials. All for the sake of encouraging consumption. Something I find interesting is that alcohol ads are (nearly) always come to an end with the words “Please Drink Responsibly”.  What a simple saying. I wonder what our lives would be like if we applied such caution to other areas! What if we were additionally encouraged to consume mass produced  fashion, electronics, housewares and processed foods responsibly! This thought begs the following  questions:

  • Is the purchase truly necessary?
  • Do I need this item or want this item?
  • Do I have duplicates of said item that are in usable condition?

I still buy new products. As I mentioned in one of my first posts, I used to work in retail fashion. Overconsumption was certainly a large part of my lifestyle. In fact, I was required by the company to add  pieces from each new season to my wardrobe. Over time, I’ve learned to buy less. Less new things. More gently used things. I love them equally to my new items because they are in essence, new…to me!

Such as:

  • Clothes (thrift stoeres, vintage consignment, eBay, friends)
  • Appliances (my lovely vitamix blender is certified reconditioned)
  • Various electronics (pawn stores, resale shops, eBay. My last two phones were purchased on eBay: Motorola razor and Blackberry Q-10)
  •  Shoes (vintage stores, eBay!)
  • Purses: (one of my two purses was bought on…you guessed it! eBay)
  • Books (resale shops, used on Amazon, E-Books, library, used media stores)

It’s so fun hunting for “new” old things. I always save money when I buy used. Sometimes I experience buyers remorse when I impulsively purchase new items at full retail price. It hurts less when I make an impulsive used purchase. If and when something I bought used stops working for me, I re-sell it or donate it. My wardrobe and house essentially has its own Eco-system, with a full life cycle! Now, my goals are to fully use what I have in my closet and house until no longer usable,  cut down on impulse buys (new or old), and eventually become a more responsible consumer. It’s all well and good to downsize, which I’m still in the process of doing. However, I know that choosing to not buy products will help me achieve my goals in the long-run. Apply foresight! Trust your gut. Play around with cultivating a new habit of loving what you already have.

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