The Story of Stuff

June 28, 2008

Story of Stuff The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.”

I first watched The Story of Stuff when I was working at my long-term temp job back in California. The job was excruciatingly boring and I didn’t have access to the internet.

Thankfully, my wonderful husband, Kevin, bought me an iPod Nano (ironic that I watched it on one of the very products she talks about) for our anniversary last year and I was able to download podcasts and video casts to watch while working (the job was mindless).

One of the first video casts I downloaded was The Story of Stuff and I was mesmerized by how interesting it was. Plus, it taught me a lot about all the stuff we buy that I never really knew. I came home that day a little depressed, but with determination to lessen the amount of stuff we buy and really take a close look at the stuff we already had.

So, Kevin and I sat down and really thought about doing a serious decluttering and worked out an agreement for buying less stuff overall.

The best tip I ever read about training yourself to buy less is to ask yourself two questions:

  • Do I need this?
  • Do I love this?

If the answer to either question is “yes”, then go ahead and get the item. If you’re unsure or the answer is “no”, then it’s probably not something you want to spend your hard-earned money on. ;-) I personally use this and it works like a charm. Most of the time I end up putting the item back and, truthfully, never even give it a second thought.

Kevin and I still hold true to our discussion that day and we rarely, if ever, buy something without really mulling it over and asking ourselves those two questions. The questions also work for when it comes time for purging yourself of clutter or if you feel overwhelmed by your stuff.

The Story of Stuff doesn’t go into these kind of tips, but it will surely teach you something you didn’t know and get you motivated to take action. I highly recommend watching the quick 20-minute video!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle June 29, 2008 at 8:24 am

That sounds good. Have you ever read Affluenza? It’s a great read along the same lines. It’s painful to think about it all, isn’t it?

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Mrs Pop July 1, 2008 at 7:49 am

I need to go through a major purge of crap in my house. I try to ask the questions you ask, but it is so hard.

It’s hard to tell myself “NO” on something. And I think my husband has an even harder time with it sometimes.

I think I’ll check out the site, though. I’d never heard of it.

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Binary Blonde July 2, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Michelle – I haven’t read Affluenza, yet, but I looked into it and will be checking it out from the library whenever we make it there. Thanks for the suggestion! Also… yes, unfortunately.

Mrs Pop – Purging can actually be fun. I always feel physically lighter when we do our bi-yearly purge, almost as if I can breathe easier. It’s such a great feeling. It takes some practice to say “no”, because we’re all so used to saying “yes” to everything we buy. The more you do it, however, the easier it is. It’s like starting a new habit – takes 30 days to make a new habit (and 3 days to break one!). Good luck! ;-) I hope to read about it in your blog, maybe!

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