August 26, 2011

The Fight Against Stuff

How do you fight the urge to buy stuff?

Reddit is one of the most popular web sites in North America. It is a form of social media where members post links to news and items of interest on the web. It is a place to share and discuss anything - including the Fight Against Stuff.

I am a moderator on a Reddit sub-page, or 'sub-reddit', called Simple Living. When I took over moderating about a year ago, the page had 209 subscribers. Now it has 4142, so it would appear that simple living is a topic of interest in these economically challenged times.

The brief description for the Simple Living subreddit reads:

"Ideas and inspiration for living a simpler, saner life. A place to share tips on living with less stuff, work, speed, and stress, and more freedom, time, self-reliance and joy."

Over the months the page has become a great place to share ideas on battling consumerism and the flood of temptations that we are exposed to daily. Take for example the following post:
"I want stuff. I want a lot of stuff. Almost every day I'm surrounded by stuff I don't have but want. None of it is useful, all of it is expensive.

Every so often I have moments of clarity. I stop and think. I don't really want this stuff. It wouldn't improve my life in any way. I'd actually be quite happy with nothing but a few clothes, a small computer, and enough money to pay rent and food, and the occasional book. Maybe some shoestring travel on the side as well.

I'm constantly told I need a high-paying job. Why? To buy more stuff of course! And to get a bigger house! I don't want a high-paying job (and, indeed, I'm not qualified for any), and I don't ever want to own property.

How do I get away from these urges? How do I break the habit that's been ingrained into all of us since birth?"
I responded with the following:
"The rural area I live in is less materialistic than the city I moved from. Less advertising, more wilderness. Being away from the stuff-oriented mainstream reduces pressures to spend.

I have also come to realize that "the habit that's been ingrained into all of us since birth" is a scam, and that I don't want to participate. Therefore, the less I buy, the more successful I am.

I have been buying so little in the last 10 years that I have been able to support myself on temporary casual jobs. All of the jobs have been fun for one reason or another. I have worked as a limousine chauffeur (for a VERY interesting look at how the rich live), a raft guide, and an environmental educator with school-aged children.

I was able to do these things because I quit my "high-paying job" so that I could do whatever I wanted. My low stuff/low wage labour lifestyle has been fun and free ever since.

You can break the habit by realizing that your personal liberation lies in living simply, even if (especially if?) you have next to nothing."

How do you break the habit to buy? What has been successful in your fight against stuff?

Read more comments on this Simple Living thread here. Consider becoming a Reddit member, and subscribing to Simple Living. It is a good way to access information, and discuss topics that may be of interest to readers of this blog.

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