As my entry to Christy’s contest, I just had to share this one again.  For a number of important reasons:

  • because I truly believe that watching The Story of Stuff had a major impact on how I am living my life that will stay with my for years and years to come;
  • because it is one of my most read posts ever with 118 page hits (oddly enough this post had more hits??);
  • because if by chance you haven’t watched the Story of Stuff yet, you really and truly must; and
  • because I really want to win ice cream – which is ok because it’s edible stuff!!

Without further ado I give a re-post of The Thing About Stuff:

“The thing about “Stuff” is that we all have too much.  I’ve known for a long time that I’ve had too much stuff, although I try my best to purge regularly and avoid bringing things into our lives that we don’t really need.  But I find lately that I’m failing miserably at this task.

As of yesterday, however, I have a renewed sense of purpose.  My friend Rachel (thanks Rach!) sent me a link to a site called The Story of Stuff.  I was looking for something lazy to do yesterday while the Nate-man was napping, so I downloaded the 20 minute video and watched.

I was amazed.  It is all about the material economy and how North Americans (well, it talks about Americans – but I know that it applies to Canadians too!) are consuming and disposing of way too much stuff.  She talks a bit about the political history behind today’s blatant consumerism and describes in detail just how much damage we are doing to our planet.  And not just the environment either.  Nope…the environment is just one small piece of the larger puzzle.  We are hurting ourselves too and our communities.  It was fascinating.  And depressing.  But also motivating.

And then I went to Walmart.  And despite my new-found motivation and renewed sense of global responsibility, I was lured in by rolled-back prices and a cute little notebook for my 365 day challenge.  And that depressed me even more once I was home and I thought about it some more. 

And then I thought about it some more (at 3 am while I was nursing…isn’t that when everyone decides what to blog about?) and I decided to share my thoughts with you.  Because maybe global responsibility is kind of like the 365 Challenge (which, BTW, I am right on track for!) in that it’s easier to keep on target if you share your goals with others.  It’s working for Megan with her Seven Days, Seven Rooms Challenge

So I’m sharing my goal to consume less and to consume more wisely.  Dale and I were actually just talking about stuff like this a few days before he left.  We both often feel like we aren’t doing as much as we could be to be good custodians of our planet.  We like to pat ourselves on the back for things like using cloth diapers.  And yes that’s good- but it’s not enough.  For instance…at home I use cloth wipes.  But I didn’t bring them to Ontario with me and I’ve been using disposable wipes.  But now I’m asking myself…if I can do cloth diapers in Ontario – why-oh-why couldn’t I have done cloth wipes too?  They are so much nicer for Nate’s bum anyways.

There are other things that we do that I know are good…like shop at local farmer’s markets, use reusable shopping bags, recycle, etc.  But, as the movie will explain, we need to do more.  I want to do more.    Our society just makes it really, really hard. 

I highly, highly recommend that you check out The Story of Stuff and please come back and tell me what you think.  I am going to set some more concrete goals….because although “consume less” is a worthy goal, I’m thinking it’s a pretty vague and lofty target for little ol’ me to strive for. 

I’m going to start by taking back two of the things I bought at Walmart.  One didn’t work anyway..and the other I decided I just don’t need.  Thank goodness for liberal return policies, right?  I realize that returning these items doesn’t really solve the problem, but it limits the “stuff” in my house and it’s a start.

How are you going to start?”


Well, I did return a few things to Walmart after I wrote this post.  I probably could have returned it all, but let me tell you I have been certain to get lots of use out of those things I did keep!  And many of you read my goals and update posts so you know how things went from here.  Now I’m not going to subject you to another lengthy update, because I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about all my stuff and what I’ve been doing with it, but I will say that I am pretty happy with my progress so far.  I did have a garage/moving sale a few weeks ago though and besides making over $200, I was able to get rid of a lot of things cluttering up my space that I just didn’t need. 

I am working to organize our home by the rule “If you don’t use it or love it, get rid of it”.  And so far so good.  The remains of the garage sale stuff are all being either donated or freecycled.  (BTW – if you haven’t checked out Freecycle…please do!  It’s an easy way to get rid of the stuff you don’t need and get the stuff you do for free!) I was even amazed at how much Dale was willing to part with.  He actually consented to letting go of his prized collection of ancient but still-unread engineering textbooks.  I was very proud!!  Of course no one bought them, LOL, so I’m hoping the library can use them!

However, I think what I am most proud of in this journey is the fact that I have been able to encourage others to think more critically about their consumption habits.  My Mother-in-Law has done a fantastic job of spring cleaning this year, my sister (previously the ultimate consumer) is trying to reduce her footprint on the planet and even my mom is taking recycling more seriously than she has in the past.  It gives me hope that we can turn this downward spiral around. 

So that’s my one cool post and a recap. Can’t wait to (re-)read yours!  Oh and get an update on how you’re dealing with “stuff”!?