Simple changes – The first R

Simple changes – the first R

Simple Changes Series - The first RYou might think it’s a little unusual for someone who owns a e-commerce store to say this, but we’ve never been ones for ordinary, so here goes…One of the simplest things we can do, to have a massive positive impact on the planet is – Buy LESS stuff.
The first R is of course – Reduce.
Simple, but not always easy.
Getting  new stuff is nice, it can be fun, exciting. But our insatiable need for ‘Stuff’ is one of the biggest problems the world faces.
But it’s not your fault, or mine, marketing and society has convinced us that we need more stuff, the latest stuff, that stuff will make us happy and improve our lives… But rarely is that the case.

We also like to get our stuff at a bargain… but everything comes at a cost, even if that isn’t an immediate cost to us.
Is it time that we started asking ourselves – What is the actual cost of the things we buy and is it too high?

We need some stuff of course, but we can buy with Intention. We can vote for the world we want to live in by how and where we spend our money.

I’ve found this checklist really helpful whenever I want to buy things…

  • Do I really need it?
  • How much or for how long is it going to be used?
  • Can I buy it second hand?
  • Can I borrow it?
  • How/where was it made, and by who?
  • What will happen to it when I don’t need it anymore?

The added advantage of this is that by buying less stuff we save money too. I know of someone who didn’t go clothes shopping for a year, and saved enough money to pay for her wedding!

Clothes is one of the biggest ways to have an impact. The fashion industry is a triple threat the environment, polluting the land, air and water. And fast fashion is built on a literal throw away society, producing items as quickly and cheaply as possible, to the detriment of farmers, workers and the environment, the clothes then don’t last longer than a few wears/washes before being discarded. And If they don’t sell within a few weeks, they are literally burnt.

What can you do?
Try to buy the best you can afford, quality, high stitch fabrics. Organic cotton. Think about buying second hand, or vintage. Think about buying clothes that are timeless in design and can be mixed and matched to create different outfits, creating your own, unique style.
Think about looking into how clothes are made, and by whom. Are they paid and treated fairly?

What about something even harder than clothes…Toys.
This is the hardest because  kids want the new things, they want what their friends have, they… want!
All I’m going to say here is what we have personally found with our littles, and what friends of ours have said they do too.   I know all kids are different and into different things, and I know that each family is different and has different time constraints, priorities etc. These are just ideas….

Outside time is our biggest helper. Our girls love being outside and the beauty is that being outside is not only a great way for them to learn about nature and really connect with it but also nature provides! There are endless things to do, some of our favourites –

  • Walks
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Natural weaving
  • Mud – painting, pies…mud!
  • Puddles
  • Nature crowns
  • flower pressing
  • Gardening
  • Den building
  • They love playing with us – Stuck in the mud, hide and seek, all the classics. This will no doubt change as they get older, but at the moment they’re 4 & 6 & we’re still cool enough to play with.

Indoors,

  • we play board games or make believe games,
  • do treasure hunts,
  • bake
  • they colour or write stories
  • read stories
  • make potions (indoor or out)
  • do crafty things
  • Dress up
  • Dance parties
  • Build forts (like dens, but inside and more blankety!)
  • And of course, there is always the odd film or tablet time.

We’ve also found that giving them experiences goes a lot further than just loads of presents/gadgets etc at Christmas and birthdays.

They do get a couple of things they want – we try and judge what they really want. As well as some things they need, like some new clothes, they always get books.

But things like memberships to local attractions from family members has been worth its weight in gold, and has been some thing they can enjoy throughout the year.

Nana taking them for an afternoon tea where they got dressed up and treated like princesses and had a lovely time out with one of their most loved people. Their Great Grandparents have paid for most of their swimming lessons – which we’ve done since they were six months old and has been one of our favourite parts of their early years.

Things that create memories and support local businesses too. And yes they may have fewer exciting things to open on the day. But we’ve found that it makes the things they do get even more exciting and cherished – rather than being lost in a sea of stuff. And now they’re getting older especially, they are loving having things coming up that they know they can look forward to after the day is over.

It’s not about going without. It’s about looking at it through a different lens. For me, it’s meant less clutter, it’s meant more appreciation and loving what I have even more.

And this is not about me telling anyone else how they should do things. This is just about asking the question, and giving some possible answers….

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