ELIMINATE THE UNNECESSARY! Simplicity isn’t a lifestyle it’s a necessity!
By Dominique Tudor - Prosource Environmental Ambassador
It’s a paradox in life that the more things we choose to accumulate, to add value to our lives, the more we are led to acquire, which eventually leaves us with less.
Accumulating more things than needed often results in less space to store it all, less time
to use it all. Eventually things once treasured become devalued and no longer useful.
Of course, this isn’t just my opinion. There’s a psychological theory that explains this human behaviour called ‘The Diderot Effect’, which states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled.
You might be asking yourself “what does any of this have to do with the environment and waste management?” Think about how many times we buy items that we do not need? Think of all the things we end up throwing away as a result! I’m not telling you to discard
your desire for things that bring you satisfaction or personal growth, after all we are the ‘craftsmen of our own fate’. However, choices and collective behaviors have consequences. Overconsumption in the case of the environment, leads to many natural hazards.
Eliminate the Unnecessary!
In the book The Wisdom of Frugality (2016) by Emrys Westacott he writes:
“Two centuries of industrialisation, population growth and frenzied economic activity has bequeathed us smog; polluted lakes, rivers and oceans; toxic waste; soil erosion; deforestation; extinction of plant and animal species, and global warming. Many people are still unconvinced by this. But if our current methods of making, getting, spending, and discarding prove unsustainable, then there could come a time – and it might come quite soon – when we are forced towards simplicity. In which case, a venerable tradition will turn out to contain the philosophy of the future.”
Many people are very frugal, especially in these challenging times due to the high cost of living. Yet, I’m sure that many people relate to buying a new outfit, then needing shoe
s to match, and before you know it, you’ve bought so many things you might only ever use once.
For me, I think of my new mountain bike, and the fact that after years of having a regular bike and no desire to purchase fancy bike accessories, suddenly trips to the bike shop satisfy my soul, but only ever temporarily. The real value to my life is the exhilarating outdoors experience and social connection which my bike allows me to have, without the added accessories.
Here’s 5 things you can do to help you to reduce your consumption and Eliminate the Unnecessary!
1. Reduce Exposure
Nearly every habit is initiated by a trigger or cue. One of the quickest ways to reduce the power of the Diderot Effect is to avoid the habit triggers that cause it in the first place. Meet friends at the beach rather than the mall or block your favorite shopping websites online, you don’t need to browse Amazon again!
2. Buy items that fit your current system.
You don’t have to start from scratch each time you buy something new. When you purchase new clothes, look for items that work well with your current wardrobe. When you upgrade to new electronics, get things that play nicely with your current pieces so you can avoid buying new chargers, adapters, or cables.
3. Set self-imposed limits.
This is probably the hardest one to follow, because it means being accountable for your own actions. If the cap fits, wear it! If it doesn’t why are you buying it only because it’s on sale?
4. Buy One, Give One.
Each time you make a new purchase, give something away. Get a new TV? Give your old one away rather than moving it to another room. The idea is to prevent your number of items from growing. Always be curating your life to include only the things that bring you joy and happiness.
5. Go one month without buying something new.
Don’t allow yourself to buy any new items for one month. Instead of buying a new lawn mower, rent one from a neighbor. Get your new shirt from the thrift store rather than the department store. The more we restrict ourselves, the more resourceful we become. Life is such a beautiful contradiction. Less is more! Right? Wrong? Maybe?
Imagine if I said that to Jeff Bezos, I’m here looking at photos of his amazing yacht in the ocean off Barbados and thinking that looks quite necessary to me! It’s a good thing my granny taught me that wise Bajan saying:
“Wuh ain’t pass yuh… ain’t miss yuh!” This is why it’s always quite easy for me to Eliminate the Unnecessary!