Last week, we talked about the wasteful practice of planned and perceived obsolescence. In that post, I implored you all to share your solutions for ways that we, as caring and conscious people, can help combat or at least lessen the impact of cheaply designed goods, made to be discarded.
What I didn’t expect was the outpouring of ideas (77 idea-packed comments); but what happens so often around here happened again. You guys came together, brainstormed, and eventually wrote THIS POST.
The interesting thing to me is that all of these ideas aren’t just a part of combating planned obsolescence, they read like the beginnings of a blueprint towards a considerate, minimalist lifestyle. If you’re still a newbie to this kind of thinking, I truly believe that reading through all of these ideas from the incredible people who left them will give you a good start to buying less junk, being more impervious to manipulative advertising, and forging a community, even if it starts only with your own household.
At the end of these ideas here, I’m going to ask one more thing of you, so be sure to make it all the way down to the end.
Now, without further ado, I give you …
Simply Thoughtful Steps to Change Your Life and the World
(First, my apologies if I didn’t include your idea. Sifting through, editing, and organizing 77 comments wasn’t a cakewalk, my friends. If your comment is on here, THANK YOU for contributing. If your comment isn’t on here, THANK YOU for contributing, too! I chose the “categories” based on the popularity of ideas spread throughout everything you all wrote!)
Ditch the TV
The easiest thing for me has been to stop watching TV … I wasn’t as hungry in the evenings, presumably because I wasn’t seeing those food ads. Also, because I was engaging in stimulating activity – sewing and paper crafts and home improvement projects, etc. Some were physically engaging and some were mentally engaging.
Over time, I realized I had jumped off the consumer bandwagon. I had no idea what was “it” to own and I no longer cared. – Karen SDCA
Get in the kitchen! Experiment with recipes. Jazz up your cookie recipe (or make tortillas!). Make lotion. Make laundry detergent. Bring your hubby/kids/dogs in on the experimentation. Anything is better than the mind numbing brain washing of the TV. – Jennifer Sweat
I agree with the “less TV’ theme going on here. I also don’t have cable (we use Netflix) and I also find the lack of television commercials to be refreshing. – Tiffany A
Employ Sneaky Counter-Tips or Do It By Hand!
When a pair of my nylons gets a run, I cut the leg off. (The pantyhose leg, not the one on my body.) Then I save them until another pair gets a run. Then I cut the leg off of other pair and I wear both pairs of one legged hose at the same time (making sure each of my legs gets covered of course). Sure it is a little odd to be doubling up on the panty part, but hey, we can all use a little extra tummy support…it is like getting spanx without paying the high price. Take that, Leggs! – Lori
If you dry your razor after you use it, it will last close to a year. This really works I do this now. Its the corrosion of water not the dullness of the blade that causes razors to ruin so quickly. – JT
I make toasted sandwiches on a pan [instead of owning a toaster or hot plate]. It takes the same amount of time, it’s not any more or less convenient. – charmaine
I just made cookies as a thank you to a neighbor last night. I creamed the sugar and butter by hand (instead of using a mixer), using the flat part of a wooden spoon against the bowl. Did you know when you do that the sugar cuts air bubbles into the butter and makes your baked goods fluffier? Plus I got a little workout, plus it was soothing, plus I did it late at night without the noise of a mixer… And don’t get me started on the magic of watching egg whites transform as you whip them by hand! – Gabrielle Mejia
Practice Your Handwriting!
Love my 4 year old black and white laser jet. When I want to print photos – maybe 2x a year- I let Snapfish do it for pennies. I have also discovered that you can (gasp) HANDWRITE a lot of the things you might want to print. All you need is a pencil! – Sarah Mueller
Research and Then Reach Out to Companies
I have started calling the companies that make this stuff and nicely complain. I have had positive results with my discussions. I always try and find the VP or someone high up in the food chain to talk to…it’s relatively easy, most of the time you can find these contact numbers in their “contact us” part to their website. I think if more of us take the time to call, our message of “no more crap” will start to be heard. – Beth
We’ve been doing this too, and had really good results…except with the printer company! – Chowstalker
Such an important topic and this inspires me to seek out and support reputable companies that make products for the right reasons and have good return policies. For example, I love that the glass straw companies have a lifetime warranty! – Eco-Vegan Gal
Being mindful of where you spend your money always helps. If you support companies with good practices, it makes sense for others to jump on the band wagon. Honestly, we shape the world with every dollar we spend, we need to watch were our money goes. – Nuni
Forget the Fashion Forever
Clothing? How about purchasing handmade items that are actually made to fit you, made in America with love and quality stitching? Or learn to repair the clothing you already have. We also need to abandon this idea of staying in “current fashion”. My opinion of “current fashion” – look like everyone else! I have no desire to be a drone. I’d rather have unique items that look fabulous on me and show my style. – Cheryl Roberge Hartzman
People get so wrapped up in what’s “cool” and “now” that they let other more important things fall by the wayside. And we have people in our lives who are like “OMG I couldn’t live without cable, I would just die! What would I do every evening?” (These are the same people who scoff at homemade tortillas, or homemade laundry soap.) – Jennifer Sweat
First Declare, “I Shall Fix It”
I know there are local computer fixer dudes in most places you can go to get that done for much cheaper than buying a new computer if you feel like you need those kind of upgrades. – Joanne Wheeler
When it breaks (because it will!), fix it. Try really hard. If you break it more, that’s ok, its a learning experience for next time. Go to www.ifixit.com – or search for it on about.com – bluemosquitoes
My personal policy is to use things until they don’t work anymore, then fix them until they can’t be fixed any more. – Stephanie
I’ve seen quite a few shoe repair shops. I haven’t used them personally, but I have a wonderful bra shop in my town that alters bras so they actually fit right for a very reasonable price. These places exist, and we all need to support them with our business! – Gabrielle Mejia
Just When You Think You Want Something, Wait a Week
Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. Just when you think you really need it, don’t buy it – wait a week or so. Still need it? Try to make it instead, its so much more fulfilling. Or find it used. Borrow one from your friend. Or atleast try to find one locally made, with less packaging.
We have a rule in our family….if there’s something we try to avoid buying, but eventually determine we really do, for real, need it, we wait just a week or two more. Unbelievably, almost always, in that period of time someone will approach us with a hand-me-down of that exact item. I kid you not. So we always try to pass it forward later, to keep the grooviness flowing.
Love Your Second-Hand Treasures
Furniture is easy – go to garage sales, second hand stores, thrift shops. You find much better quality there (read; actual wood) for much better prices. – Rachel Lewis
I bought a second hand safety razor from an antique store for about AU$15 and then bought a pack of 100 blades on Ebay for AU$15. I’ve worked out that these babies will last me about a decade!!! Not only is it so much cheaper and sustainable but the safety razor gives a much better shave. – charmaine
Seek Out Sustainable, Long-Lasting Goods
I happened to read an article on CoExist yesterday about a potential solution: the $55 pen. – Kristin Jones
(Betty’s Note: I actually read a blurb in Natural Health a couple of days ago about the 7-Year Pen, which is only $7.50. Looks like pen waste is going down!)
My mother has a cabinet full of tupperware that has lasted forever and is still doing its job. It hasn’t bubbled, stained, dried or cracked. Can’t buy that kind anymore. In fact, most of us now purchase the even cheaper, crappier Gladware and its equivalent. Did you know that Pyrex makes a line of glass containers in varying sizes with plastic lids. Much longer lasting. – Cheryl Roberge Hartzman
What Are YOU Going to Do Next?
Change happens in small amounts, but every small amount counts.
So here’s something you can do right now (and it’s IMPORTANT to decide this right now!):
- Choose something from this list that you don’t already practice in your life.
- Decide that you’re going to start practicing it.
- TELL US here in the comments what you’re going to change (declaring it helps you change it, and sharing it with other like-minded people reinforces it even more!)
- CHANGE IT.
- Once you’ve done something new, different, and made a positive change, tell at least one person in your life that you did this. This is how ideas spread. Your success will be inspiration for the people around you, who will then inspire people around them.
Don’t think for a SECOND this isn’t how we change the world. Because it is!
What are you going to change?
(And if you have any other ideas, leave ’em here! Learning is a continual process and we can all benefit from your ideas!)