Manifest for Mindful buying

6-1-2015 – version 1

“… As rapacious consumers we continue tot buy evermore things in spits of lacking the time to use them, instead simply storing products away in garages, attics, or paid-for storage facilities for an imagined future of increased leisure time. [Junk is] piling up in households around the country, reflecting a new and growing class of consumers who have fallen in love with the idea of a leisured lifestyle,  but who lack the time to lead it.” – from the book Time on our side

This is the manifest for a year long ‘experiment’, if you will, to become more aware of my spending, of my buying, of clutter and of what money does, of what marketing does.

What and why?
I want to be more content.
I want to support the new economy.
I want to become more self-reliant and independent.
I want to reduce the clutter of all the stuff that I already own.
I want to lower my impact on the environment.
I want to support others and myself to feel at home, at peace and show that things can be done differently.

Be more content:

  • Know that stuff is not happiness
    Advertisements may make you believe that more is better, cars have emotions and candybars can make you feel less genderdysphoric. It’s not true. Happiness does not come from matter alone.
  • Let go
    Get rid of stuff you don’t really want. Give away things that you don’t have any connection to. Memories belong in your heart and mind, not in frames and crap. Keep what matters emotionally, maybe.
  • Make time
    Instead of rushing everything and having no time to experience what you truly enjoy. Make time, take the time for things. Consider how much you work and if you really need all that money if you don’t have any free time for yourself. What does money do for you and what does extra time spent with family, friends or during pleasant activities do for you?
  • Do
    Instead of using stuff as a means for activity, do things you don’t need extra objects for. Talk, laugh, walk, swim, sit, run, climb!
  • Appreciate
    Appreciate what you already have. Enjoy what’s worn, it has a history. Find beauty in imperfection, a dented water bottle is still a good water bottle.
  • Nourish
    Take care of your basic needs. Eat, drink and sleep. Exercise. Go outdoors. Talk to friends and family. Get inspired.
  • Be
    Accept who you are. Accept your flaws, be conscious about them, work on them. Accept your talents, however obscure they might be, be proud of them. Accept your oddities and allow them to be. Let yourself be whole. Accept failure, no one is perfect. Life in the moment.
  • Express
    Show yourself. Show your feelings. Take up the space you deserve. Give expression to your personality. Voice your thoughts through words, singing, pictures, your body, or any other way you want to. Express yourself to how you are, not merely through how you dress.
  • Understand
    Take a different point of view, don’t blame others for your problems. Don’t call others stupid, you will be and have been them. See the world behind the world. Figure things out by yourself, ask others for help, don’t blindly believe, don’t stubbornly ignore.
  • Make reason
    Life is probably without a greater meaning. Find freedom in it and give your life meaning, give yourself a reason to get up in the morning.

Supporting the new economy:

  • Buy local
    Don’t buy at big chains, franchises or companies. Spend more money on less stuff at small local shops to support local economy. Sometimes a local product has less impact than an organic one that comes from across the world.

Become more self-reliant and independent.

  • Make
    Make your own furniture, your own bread and other things. Ownership makes things more emotionally valuable and probably more enjoyable too.
  • Grow your own food
    Grow healthier food for less, share what’s left over and recycle unusable scraps for composting or feeding animals.
  • Learn
    Become skilled in useful things like cooking, repairing, mindfulness, gardening and sewing.
  • Detox
    Stop buying for pleasure. Stop watching advertisements. Stop being a mindless consumer.

Reducing clutter:

  • Think twice
    Never buy something on a first encounter, always sleep a night over it. It’ll be there tomorrow, if it isn’t, that’s fine too.
  • Reuse
    Don’t buy a special bowl for crisps, use some bowl you already have. Always carry a grocery bag or two with you. Use bottles and jars for drinks, juices, sauces and herbs.
  • Reduce
    Don’t replace something whose function can be fulfilled by something else. e.g. Using an already owned pot of water to boil water instead of a new electric kettle.
  • Share
    You can’t own everything you will ever need in life, and you shouldn’t want to! Borrow things from neighbours, friends and family. Share what you own. If no one else owns it, rent it. Go to the library for books.
  • Functionality
    Buy a good grilling pan, not a teppan-yaki and a gourmet set. Buy an oven not a cakepop maker, breadbaking machine and donutmaker. Get rid of things that don’t do anything for you.
  • Upgrade
    Replace broken objects that are vital with a superior, more durable, more sustainable object. e.g. a cheap cutting knife, mass produced for a low price with a locally, handcrafted sustainably produced knife.
  • Size down
    Same functionality, smaller size. Portability over style.

Lower impact:

  • Buy less
    Don’t buy a new shirt every other week because it’s hip and in, or supposedly expresses who you are. Don’t buy too much food, it’ll just go to waste if you’re not careful. Don’t buy duplicates of something just because it’s on sale.
  • Buy organic
    Support animal health and the environment. Save the bees. Buy organic products.
  • Buy raw
    Get fresh ingredients, things that you can recognize. Less junk is healthier and less packaging or chemistry and factories are needed.
  • Buy from the source
    A shorter distance is less fuel is less impact. The producer also gets a bigger profit!
  • Buy sustainable
    Buy things that are produced responsibly, under fair wages and safe conditions.
  • Buy durable
    Objects that last longer or can be repaired easily do not need to be trashed or replaced.
  • Use scraps
    Get the most out of toothpaste, foods, paints and more. Use everything to the last bit and find uses for stems, scraps and bits of food you’d normally throw out.
  • Freeze
    Freeze left-overs in small portions, take out only what you need, you can always defrost more, not refreeze what’s thawed.
  • Recycle
    Even the littles things make an impact, separate and recycle everything, never be lazy about it.
  • Repair
    Repair what’s broken. It might cost more, but it’ll waste less.

Support

  • Support creativity
    Buy music you really like to support the artist. Donate money to writers or get their books. Show your appreciation of good art.
  • Volunteer
    Do things for others, don’t expect anything back for a change.

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