The Story of Stuff


The job this week has really got me thinking about Stuff. In particular, what is it that makes people desire the latest “bright & shiny” in place of their trusted and well loved possessions. Don’t get me wrong – things age and need to be replaced. I have no problem with that. My problem lies with a need to “keep up with the Joneses”… 

Keeping up with the Joneses (illustration by Allan Sanders)

It can become an endless cycle of buying the latest and greatest. No sooner have you ripped it out of the box, than it is out of date and so the cycle continues again. If we set aside our rose coloured glasses and pop on the green tinted ones – it is easy to see how this can all go a bit pear shaped. One planet with limited natural resources which are being used at an ever faster rate = A need to do a major rethink.

We need to realise we can be part of the solution, embrace beautiful things that last and can become heirlooms, think about all the components (like the packaging), embrace upcyclingread more, become educated, think creatively, see the possibility, look for real long term solutions and be patient and persevere

Row of identical houses Eastern Ave, in Cincinnati, Ohio (photo by Carl Mydans - 1935)

I think a beautiful home is very similar to a person. It needs character and real personality (and a good dose of Wabi Sabi!). If you are going to spend a huge amount of time there, don’t you want the space to really say something? A house filled with the latest fashion fads will look like a showroom of the mass produced, made in china variety of store. It will lack any depth, it won’t tell a story about you and it certainly won’t feel like a home. 

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If a house is designed around the notion of being in fashion there is one guaranteed outcome… it will fall out of fashion and in an instant a space will become dated. The very notion of fashion is that it is designed to be transient. Whilst it would be nice to think that this was just the rolling creativity of fresh ideas, the fact is, it is designed to make people buy more – it’s all about consumerism.   

So it got me thinking.. why is this? How did we get on this crazy roundabout? 

And that’s when I heard about Annie Leonard and found the Story of Stuff


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