Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Consuming and Awareness

I am sure it does not come as a surprise to you: I am consuming, too. It's like with communicating - one cannot "NOT" communicate [Paul Watzlawick].

Every week we go shopping for food, the children need new clothes and shoes (and so fast!!), household items break (and tend to do so in groups together...). And i can't make everything myself. There is also the point where being too minimalist would make life difficult for me and my family. 

What I find important about consuming is being aware of our consuming behaviour. 

I have written about my 4 magic questions already, here they are again:

1. What purpose does this item serve?
2. Have I got something at home that serves the same purpose?
3. How often would I use it? 
4. If I don't get this item now, will it make my life difficult?
5. (Bonus question: Is the quality acceptable for the price?)
These questions aim at rationalizing and minimizing consume. And of course they also create awareness. 

But apart from minimizing consume and being aware of it, I think it is important what I consume and why.

For example, when we go food shopping, we try to do go shopping only once a week. It saves money to plan meals ahead, cook e.g. double portions of rice for another rice dish the next day (it also saves work!), and it also saves a lot of time. We try to buy our food from local producers/the market. E.g. no strawberries in December, we wait until they are in season. (Confession: We do buy bananas, they certainly don't grow here, but the children love them and they are incredibly practical to take...). We don't regularly buy "organic" or "BIO", because I find no evidence that organic products are more healthy for us or more sustainable. I do believe that buying from local producers and only buying what you need (not throwing food away because it's gone off) makes a difference. No, that is not the cheapest way, but we hope the healthiest. :)

I think that buying quality products (that usually come at a higher initial cost) usually pays off because of their durability.

I have nothing against consuming for pleasure. If it is pleasure and doesn't become a hollow habit. I've reached a point in my life at the moment where I don't see going shopping for clothes every day just for the sake of it, as something I would do now (because I would constantly ask myself the above questions...). But if it's done as a treat and with awareness and appreciation of the actual act of consuming, fine. :)  We thoroughly enjoy going out for a cup of coffee every now and again as a special treat. :) 

Minimalism is not about chastising ourselves. :)

And here, because it is such a good graph:


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