Whatever happened to making do?

“I’ve found that the less stuff I own, the less my stuff owns me.” 

Nathan W Morris

At heart, I’m a minimalist. That means wherever possible I try to make do.

It’s hard at times to make do, and, yes, I’ll admit that I’ve succumbed to some crazy buying sprees, chief among those being my obsession with bikes.  But, even where I’ve managed to acquire too many things at one time, one thing’s for sure, I cherish what I own.

From my earliest years, I’ve had to make do. My parents, who were brought up in an age of austerity, made sure that everything that they owned or was bought for me was looked after so that it lasted. At the time, it gave rise to numerous arguments where I wanted the latest fashion accessory or gizmo, but it made me appreciate the value of things.

Nowadays? We’ve gone to hell in a hand basket.

The truth is that nothing is valued. It’s not just a case of if we want it we get it. It’s more a question of everything being viewed through the same prism, namely it’s completely disposable.

I know in the past that I’ve raged against the incredulity of inbuilt obsolescence, but I think our current predicament goes much further than the natural lifespan of a product. Now, we don’t wait for things to fall apart. Hell, no. The message is quite clear: ‘you need one of these [things] and you need it now’.

In time we will look back on our obsession and realise how much of the earth’s resources we’ve squandered for nothing. And in the process destroyed our environment.

Perhaps as a post-Christmas message this lacks the necessary insight, but I think it behoves all of us to consider our buying and ownership habits.

For me, if nothing else, I see 2014 as an opportunity to stop buying things. I also intend to recycle or give away anything that I no longer need.

I know many other people have written about their experiences with decluttering and living with less but I would rather show how little we need by reference to how long things actually last, whether that is a Bic biro or an expensive pair of shoes.

Perhaps if we could all make do with what we currently own then just imagine how little we would need to buy not just in the next 12 months but, perhaps, for the next 10 years.

– Julian

(My current recordings on Audioboo)

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