Why do we all (most of us) feel the need to create an island out of our home, with everything in it that we could need?
On the street I live in, house after house after house has their own shed, filled with their own bikes (rarely used), their own lawn mower, their own hedge strimmer.
Inside, people keep their little-used pianos, a library’s worth of books, a gym’s worth of equipment, a catering company’s worth of crockery. Even with several years pruning my possessions (with my very own sacotuers) and diligently considering new purchases (or so I thought), my house is still full of stuff. And yes, I have my favourites and most useful things that get used day after day after day. But I have way way way too many ‘occassional’ items.
I sometimes kid myself that I am a lightly treading consumer, that I limit my environmental impact to the slimmest amount. And whilst it’s true that I own things longer than most people perhaps do, and derive glee from reducing my cost per use of items, I’ve just had a bath and could see 9 lotions, potions and bottles just at the end of the bath. Above my head, should I have looked up, as well as in a shelving unit alongside the bath, and in a little hidey hole underneath are dozens more. I know this is a bit of a tangent- I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t own your own shampoo! But how on earth have I, someone who owns one mascara and one eyeshadow pallette, managed to amass so much of this kinda stuff??? What the frick?
Until recently (when I acquired one for free that was taken to the tip and is still in full working order!?), I shared my dad’s garden strimmer. It saved me buying and storing one, and saved one needing to be produced for me. Why is this unusual though? Why do we need to have our own one of everything? We’d all have more money and space if we shared more.
I have a long way to go, but I’m trying to consume less. Not just for the financial benefits, but for my own sanity (I find clutter very stressful) and for the environment. Getting better at sharing isn’t easy when no one needs you to share anything with them. So here’s where I’ve dipped my toe into the communal pool:
- Owning different board games to the ones owned by friends, and playing with non-board game owning friends
- Pledging to lend some of my crockery to a friend the next time she throws a family party
- Lending accessories to my sister on special occassions (honestly, being the big sis, I don’t think I’ll be able to escape this, but I secretly love it!)
- Lending films and books to people who will enjoy them
- Taking our own towels when we stay with friends. Some friends did this when they visited us so we wouldn’t have to wash once used towels. I appreciated it so much, I’ve pinched the idea when we visit! 🙂
- Sharing our suitcases with family when they go on holiday
- Borrowing my aunt’s smoothie maker on the odd occassions that I feel like making smoothies
Every house doesn’t need one of everything. Virtually every house needs less, not more. This kind of attitude can help save a lot of money, not just by sharing those little used items with others, but by helping you realise you don’t even need to share some stuff because it’s completely unnecessary. Those contraptions that turn courgettes into spaghetti are a fantastic example.
If you’ve got any more ideas, anything you do or are trying, to get away from the ‘my house must have one of these of its very own’ mentality, please do let me know! I sure could use the inspiration…