In the past year, I’ve visited my parents’ house three times. Each visit included cleaning one of the bedrooms, which gradually had become storage for all the unwanted stuff we all have gathered over the years.
Last year I found so many items of clothing that it made me cry just to think how hard I had to work to buy those things, only to abandon them when I decided that it wasn’t my style anymore (as if I knew what my style was), or when I was confident that my perfectly fine clothes were out of style, even before I managed to wear them. Thank you, mainstream media, pop culture, marketing departments and advertisers for gently but consistently brainwashing me into overconsumption.
On all three occasions, the storage room became an excavation ground where I found: books, which I never read but knew would make brilliant gifts, small items that I could easily re-gift and, somehow, amongst all those unfashionable clothes, I found my style. I also uncovered kids’ toys, colouring and sticker books, and crayons. In short, I found a lot of stuff that cost money to purchase, which was just gathering dust on shelves, in boxes and the black bin bags. All because I couldn’t say ‘no’ to the endless marketing messages that messed up my decision-making abilities.
In my case, those carefully curated “habits” led me to amass heaps of unnecessary items that, in the long run, affected my finances, impacted my retirement plans, and of course, had a massive impact on the long term sustainability on Earth.
I’m not suggesting that stinginess is the next best thing, but eco-minimalism may just be. We can all start implementing some aspects to benefit long-term sustainability on Earth and positively impact our finances.
If you set financial goals for yourself, which is vital in such a fast-evolving uncertain world, you should do whatever it takes to make those goals a reality. Spending money on clothes, only because someone decided that we should have gazillion fashion seasons during a year, doesn’t mean you have to be part of this circus.
As a society, we are so overwhelmed with what we already have that adding more items to the masses isn’t helping the environment or us.
Mindless consumption adds to the climate crisis and impacts our financial goals while borrowing from the future of our children and grandchildren.
Re-discovering clothing, I completely forgot I had felt pretty empowering because I could finally create one of a kind wardrobe for myself and discover what I identify as my style. And of course, re-using what I already had, has positively impacted my personal finances, not to mention long-term sustainability and circular economy movement.
We can find treasures everywhere.
We might no longer see much value in our treasures, but others could make good use of our unloved treasures. Sharing our unwanted things with others isn’t just humanly kind but also introduces more people to the circular economy concept while actively preserving the sustainability of life on Earth.
Re-using what we already have in our houses or our parent’s houses (thank God they could still afford to have big houses) won’t inflate your personal budget and, in the process, will help you experience the joy of eco-minimalistic living.
Without an inflated lifestyle, you will be able to do more with your life and your time because you will need much less money going out each month to satisfy your needs.
Time is of essence to us all, and personally, I would rather hang out with the people I love than buy shit I have no use for.
The solution to spending money on silly stuff is simple: don’t do it. Don’t spend money on items that aren’t useful in your life, and definitely don’t spend money you don’t have. With more financial recourses, more possibilities open up, such as travelling, taking time off work, retiring early, following your heart’s desires, or pursuing your dream job that doesn’t necessarily pay much but gives you satisfaction beyond anything you have ever experienced.
Use what you already have; don’t buy just for the sake of buying. People who care for you the most want to spend time with you, not receive gifts as the “next best thing”. Re-gifting shouldn’t be considered shameful, only mindful. It simply shows that you know you have enough, and you are comfortable sharing what you have with others instead of adding more pollution to the masses of pollution we already breathe in.
So, check out your parent’s houses, your storage rooms, and your garages. You might be pleasantly surprised while saving lots of money in the process with your low-key thrifting.