As part of my ongoing effort to make my life more eco friendly I have started to look at my consumption, so I’ve stopped buying and started selling instead. And here’s why.
6 reasons to stop buying and start selling
1) Owning more stuff doesn’t make me happy
I think we can all associate with that nice feeling of having something new, but it does begin to lose it’s appeal. Have you ever gone through your place and filled a black bin bag with unwanted goods? Chance are that if you look closely there will be a few things totally unused in there. So, that moment of fleeting happiness of having something new? Well, it ended up being a waste of your money and of the worlds resources.
2) I’m running out of space
That’s one of the big problems of buying new stuff all the time, you have to find somewhere to put it. My triple wardrobe, chest of drawers and ottoman are bursting (let’s not forget the boxes of shoes and bags under my bed). Living in clutter is no fun. I want my home to be easy to tidy and look after, which it never will be if it is constantly bulging at the seams. Ridding myself of all this meaningless stuff is going to make it so much simpler. No more searching for something and finding it buried at the bottom of a pile.
3) I’m being marketed to 24/7
There used to be four seasons to shop for, now there are 52 mini seasons. There’s mid season sales, end of season sales, black friday, cyber monday. 10% off your first order. Buy now pay later. Not a day goes by that I am not being marketed to and encouraged to spend. I’m making a conscious effort to see this for what it is, rather then getting straight onto my laptop for some ‘bargains’. Chances are I don’t actually need anything new and I’m just being inticed out of fear of missing out.
4) Selling my stuff gives it another life
It’s so easy to do a spring clean and just throw out the things you decide have no purpose anymore. I used to do the same. Chances are though that there is someone out there looking for that very thing you are chucking out. On a whim I decided to set up an eBay account see if this really is the case. It made me feel good to see that my unwanted purchases were being used by someone else instead of contributing to landfill. But I will admit, I didn’t expect it to be so successful! People literally buy anything; my broken nintento DS, the old thermostat from my house, etc. I genuinely sold these things, and people paid a fair amount for them. At one point I was posting out 10+ parcels in one go!
5) Consuming less helps the environment
This is a big one for me. So much about our modern way of living doesn’t make any sense when you look at it in the context of looking after our resources as a planet. The mass shopping we all partake in plays a role in that too. The manufacture of goods causes a lot of pollution, then you add to that the emissions from shipping it from the factories to our shelves. Oh and the plastic it all comes wrapped in. I could go on, but alas I won’t go off on a rant right now! All I’m saying is I don’t want to play a part in that and spending less on products I don’t even need is a pretty easy and realistic way I can ensure I’m doing my bit.
6) And lastly, I’m saving loads of money!
Now if there is one final point to end this blog post on, it is this one. I am saving a fair amount of money. There’s no more H&M orders on my bank statements and as I’m not impulsively going out to the shopping centre either that’s saving even more. Plus the extra cash coming in from selling my old gear is being put aside to fund a charity hike in Romania. Not too shabby, especially considering that this has taken minimal effort. If you, like a lot of people in the UK, are living from paycheck to paycheck, it really could be a good thing to start doing. Just make one conscious choice to think before you spend and you too could be benefitting from a slightly healthier bank balance!
Being a conscious consumer can be pretty easy, you just have to figure out how you can adapt your lifestyle in a simple way. If we all did this it would make a big difference!
Inspired by this ladies plight to spend less, or in fact, spend nothing, for a whole year, I am looking at how we can all benefit from spending less and living more.
I’m not going to lie, the reason I started this post is because I live in a teensy cottage and have soooo many clothes (and shoes, and bags..) that my boyfriend is forever nagging me that we haven’t got enough space. He’s right, but during my clear out, it did get me thinking..
“The average consumer is now purchasing 60% more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but each garment is kept for half as long”
Why Do We Do it?
We are all guilty of spending too much and on stuff that we probably didn’t know we even needed. A well placed advert appears whilst scrolling through the internet one minute and there you have it, a full trolley on Asos the next. We are constantly reminded to spend at every corner. On the TV it is more advertisement than actual content. When I read the sunday suppliment in the paper there are pages dedicated to flogging us the latest cream or a smelly candle that costs upwards of £40.00.
The big companies are good at making it look as though you need to buy something. They focus on human pyschology to hook you and give the illusion that your life will somehow become better and more enriched from buying their products.
What are we actually getting out of it?
We are getting stuff, obviously. We’re also feeling that buzz of having something new which is exciting. But, we are also losing space in our homes, money in our purses and worst of all excess consumerism is contributing to pollution. According to the World Resources Institute fast fashion has allowed us to consume more. “The average consumer is now purchasing 60% more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but each garment is kept for half as long”. Now that can’t be a sustainable way for us to live. I know when I was doing the rounds at the shopping centre I wasn’t thinking about the environmental impact of the top I just bought from a fast fashion retailer, but I will now.
What could happen if we stopped?
Spending less could not only save you a load of cash, it will help the environment also. Making a small change like re-thinking where you buy your clothes can help make an impact. Second hand shops and vintage markets are a good start. Even if that doesn’t appeal to you, you can make a start by ensuring to recycle your unwanted garments. Big companies have already started to take responsibililty and H&M have introduced a garment collecting initiative in their stores, so you really have no excuse!
So, I’m not saying I’m going to go all out and spend nothing, but I am certainly going to give it a good try and implement some new tactics in my life to help reduce my impact on the planet. It’s also been really nice to have more space at home. Like us all, I get attached to my clothes and stuff, but queue some mass-ebaying and the little cash injection every time I sell an item and I am convinced. I have still got a full wardrobe with lovely stuff in it, so I really don’t need anything else. I’m not going to get drawn into ‘fast fashion’ this year.
1) Before I buy something, ask myself if I really need it
2) Spend less in fast fashion retailers and more in second hand/vintage shops
3) Keep looking at what I already own and if I haven’t used it, donate or sell it
Spend less & live better is definitely my new motto!