Five reasons to live with less

I made a choice three years ago to actively reduce my clutter.  I had started feeling as though the stuff in my house was beginning to suffocate me.  I started pursuing minimalism, reduced the amount of stuff I own, excluding furniture, by about half.  

Since then, I have chosen to continue pursuing a minimalist lifestyle. Here are five reasons why:

 
1. Because my ‘stuff’ is made of finite resources.    

If climate change is real and man-made (which I happen to believe), the biggest culprit is that we in the West use too much stuff.   I see a problem when coal is dug out of the ground a few hundred kilometres from where I live, shipped to China to power factories making consumer goods to be sent back to Australia, only to languish in the back of a cupboard or end up in landfill.  But more than that, overconsumption in the West cannot continue.  The coal will run out. The oil to power the ships will run out.  The oil to make the plastic will run out.  The phosphorous to make the fertilisers to grow the cotton will run out.  The rare metals that go in your phone will run out.  But if we start slowing down our rate of consumption, then maybe they won’t run out quite so soon. 

 

2. Because ‘stuff’ costs money.

At the moment I’m home raising small children full time, and plan on keeping my focus on my family as they grow older.   I don’t want to feel compelled to return to work to earn money to pay for things we don’t need.   And the money we do have should be going to things we use, not things to fill the house, and to those who are less fortunate than us.

3. Because everyone who has contributed to the production of my ‘stuff’ matters. 

The things that I own didn’t start their life on a shop shelf.  As a Christian, I am called to love my neighbour, which I understand to mean everyone I have a relationship with.  This means my children, and making sure they are able to grow up with the same great living conditions that we have now, and not jeopardising that by selfishly having whatever we want whenever we want it.  It also means the people who produce my stuff.  It’s not really fair that I have cheap consumer goods if the people who have made them are being paid a pittance for their work just so that we can have more.  It’s also not fair if the growers and factory workers are working in appalling conditions just so that I can have more.  Buy less stuff, of higher quality, and pay more to make sure the producers are receiving a fair price.

 
4. Because less stuff means more time for the things I love most. 

Less work to earn more money to buy more things.  Less time keeping a huge house clean and a mountain of possessions tidy and organised.  More time with my family.  More time doing things I enjoy.
 

5. Because I don’t need it all. 

Before, I used to think I needed a lot of things.  Now, I realise that I don’t need half of what I think I do.  There are only 24 hours a day, only 7 days a week.  Only 365 days a year, and only about 80 years to live.  I can’t do everything in that time.

 
 
 
*This post is an edit from one of my now defunct blogs. 
 
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4 thoughts on “Five reasons to live with less

  1. I really struggle with the issue of buying cheap, “made in China” kinda stuff. Because I want to support local businesses and buy Australian made etc. However, the reality is, even though those factory workers etc are working in appalling environments, they’re actually working. And even though they are making so little, they’re actually making something. And that’s actually so much better than not working and not earning anything.

    “Not only are sweatshops better than current worker alternatives, but they are also part of the process of development that ultimately raises living standards. That process took about 150 years in Britain and the United States but closer to 30 years in the Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

    When companies open sweatshops they bring technology and physical capital with them. Better technology and more capital raise worker productivity. Over time this raises their wages. As more sweatshops open, more alternatives are available to workers raising the amount a firm must bid to hire them.

    The good news for sweatshop workers today is that the world has better technology and more capital than ever before. Development in these countries can happen even faster than it did in the East Asian tigers. If activists in the United States do not undermine the process of development by eliminating these countries’ ability to attract sweatshops, then third world countries that adopt market friendly institutions will grow rapidly and sweatshop pay and working conditions will improve even faster than they did in the United States or East Asia. Meanwhile, what the third world so badly needs is more “sweatshop jobs,” not fewer.” – have a look at this link. This is just the conclussion but the article does go into more detail – http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2008/Powellsweatshops.html

    “Oh and those children that get laid off because countries start to get pressured internationally? One of the more common solutions is prostitution. Apparently, when 50,000 children were laid off because of America’s policy, many resorted to becoming prostitutes. Better than the alternative right?

    Read more: http://www.cracked.com/funny-5759-sweatshops/#ixzz30nr7l2lq
    ” – there’s a few links within this link too. Cracked is primarily a comedy website, but it does actual research for (most) of the articles published.

    • I hear you. It’s a complex issue. I won’t boycott things that might have been made in a sweatshop, because it is providing a job. But, I still want workers to have fair treatment!
      I’ll check out those links!

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