Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stuff

This is Jonty on his new rocking horse that I picked up at an opp shop the other day for $10. He loves it and I love it and the concept that it was some other child's (or children's) toy at some point is not something that he could even comprehend at this age and even if he did I don't think that he would mind. He is still at the blissful age of not being affected by societal pressures to have everything that is new and shiny; preferably bigger, shinier and more than the kid next door. He thinks the rocking horse is cool and that is all that matters. And really, when you think about, that should never change. But, unfortunately, I know that there will be a time in the future that the marketing will get him. He will be convinced that he will not be happy until he has something that some kind of advertising tells him he needs to have.


I too have been caught in that vortex of the shopping centre, mesmerized by the bright lights and secret messages that tell me I just have to have that pair of canary yellow flat shoes, that they are on sale and that they really are a bargain price and, well, I just won't be able to live a happy life without them. I then purchase those shoes and whatever other crap I got sucked in to, leave the shops, get in the car... and wonder what the hell just happened. I end up less happy than before I bought the shoes. This is why I avoid large shopping centers. There's just something about them that make us leave our sensible selves at the door. If I do, for some unavoidable reason, need to go to one, then I prep myself beforehand with messages of senseless consumerism, etc, and I race in with blinkers on, get what I need and race back out again. This seems to work for me anyhow.

I still shop, but pretty much everything that I have bought for the last few years has been secondhand. I have to be in opp shops continually to source fabric for my business and while I am there I keep an eye out for anything that I need. I always find it eventually. And,instead of the empty satisfaction and guilt of buying something new impulsively, when I pick up something that I had wanted for virtually next to nothing, I get such a high and congratulate myself for some good shopping! By buying secondhand I am being environmentally responsible and then if it comes from an opp shop I am also donating money to a charity. It's a win, win situation really. A much, much better feeling than the OTHER kind of shopping.

And really, why the hell do people keep buying more and more new stuff?? Especially when it comes to kids stuff the opp shops are packed with good quality clothes that have hardly been worn and toys that would be way more expensive than I could afford new. Why wouldn't you? I don't understand the aversion some people have to second hand stuff, once you take off the tag and wash it for the first time it's secondhand anyway. People just seem to be working harder and harder to have more stuff that doesn't satisfy them anyway, then they think they are unhappy because they don't have enough and so the cycle continues. Well, I choose to get off that tread mill and I choose to have less stuff, I choose to work less and spend more time with my son and husband and in my garden because these are the things that make me happy. Instead of working harder to get more money to pay people to make things for me which I then buy from a shop, I make them myself, buy them second hand or just go without. Once you get into the mindset it's fun trying to spend as little as possible...more fun than spending as much as possible!


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