Before you start, I didn’t buy ‘Stuffocation – Living more with less’ by James Wallman. I borrowed it from my youngest daughter when I was last visiting her flat. She always has some interesting books to grab as if I don’t have enough to read already. We share similar tastes in reading material, a little offbeat, a little anarchic. Anyway it isn’t management theory and so it doesn’t really count. I could have bought it with my book token.
Like all books of this genre it starts with a simple premise and repeats it throughout using argument, counter-argument and stories that support the idea. I think my book (which is in second proof) does the same.
The idea is that we are entering a new age where consumption of goods will be replaced by the consumption of experiences. Over manufacture to support over consumption has been the driving force behind economic growth over the last hundred years or so but is becoming unsustainable. The equation of more and more people owning more and more stuff yet living in a fixed sized world with limited and finite resources just does not add up. We cannot continue to consume more than our share and to do so would be to expect others to live with an unfair share.
Consumerism is dead apparently. But before you reach for the scissors to have a go at your credit cards news of its demise is a little premature. As far as I can see the temples of mammon are still thronging with willing consumers stuffing their shopping bags with things they can neither use nor actually need. Consumerism taps into millions of years of evolution. We are geared up to grab as much as we can while the going is good so we have some in reserve for when times are not. Not that we will need most of what we have post-apocalypse. The vast majority of our gadgets and keepsakes will prove to be worse than useless when our backs are against the wall.
I’ve noticed recently though that I am consuming less than I once did. Driving my overall debt down is more of a concern to me than owning the latest thing. I am becoming more discerning in my buying habits or it may be that I am just getting old. I have most things that I need. Everything in the shops is more of the same. The clutter in my life is dragging me down and feels like sludge that I have to drag my feet through.
I’m throwing stuff out. Some of it goes to the charity collection bins while some I try to sell on EBay. The rest goes into landfill.
This takes me back to how I gave up my desk, office, pen and paper. It is over a year ago now and to be honest I never miss them. I tell everyone that listens that I don’t have an office any more but I have a confession to make – I still have some stuff in the room that I used to occupy, things that will only mean something to me and won’t be of any use to others.
It’s time to throw it out. It’s time to finally let go. I need to leave only a shadow and some memories.