Tuesday, October 30, 2007

the working spending thing

I think that part of the reason we buy things is to make ourselves feel better about working - a sort of reward for all the hard yards put in day in day out ...

This seems to be part of my desire to buy stuff - 'I deserve it' seems to be part of the rationale - and a desire to have some fun with money rather than just saving it and paying the mortgage, which really is not that much fun really. (Or have I missed something?)

There is a distinct lack of logic about all of this, but there you go.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

some things you just need

I recently bought (through necessity) some new glasses. Some things you just don't want to do second hand - and glasses is one of them.

There is something very personal about glasses - sort of like toothbrushes and underwear on the 'no share', no second hand stakes. Is it because we wear them every day and are by their nature not communal?

Monday, October 22, 2007

doing less and doing it less often

I was doing some housework the other day and I was wondering do we need to do all this stuff so often? Do we need to clean the shower/toilets etc as often as we do? Do we need to vac the floor as often?

Do we really need to shower every day - wash our hair as often as we do - all of that stuff. If we did it less often, we would use less water, less energy, less resources and save ourselves a lot of hassle into the bargain.

I am not advocating a rapid descent into squalor and a great lowering of personal hygiene standards - but do we really need to do all this stuff so frequently? Who says?

I used to wash all my work clothes (shirts etc) after one wear - and then it dawned on me that all I do is sit in an air conditioned office all day - don't exactly work up a sweat - so maybe I can wear them twice! Not sure if I am game to try for three times, but gee the old sniff test is still pretty reliable. So much of our behaviour seems to do with conditioning rather than common sense.

I now wash my hair once a week rather than twice, and guess what? It looks fine, doesn't hang in lanky strings and that is all it needs. All it takes is to question your habits and give it a try. Pretty low risk really.

And I can think of way better things to do with my time rather than washing and drying my hair every day and incessant cleaning and clothes washing.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


A few weeks ago I was reading a 'women's magazine' in a cafe which had an article on how to reduce your consumption and do your best for the planet. It had a few pieces of vaguely worthwhile advice e.g. 'fly less' and was about as shallow as you would expect in a publication of that sort.

The irony of an article on how we can help save the planet featuring in a magazine dedicated to consumerism - mainly via the fashion industry - and bulging full of ads exhorting us all to buy more stuff was not lost on me.

I concede that a fluffy fashion magazine is not where you are likely to find either intellectual fodder or a strong political message, but still ... The actions sure did not match the words.

Guess it is the same with all of us - no point wringing our hands about climate change and all the rest of it without changing our behaviours. It's the cause and effect thing.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

the book issue

I thought when I began this exercise that the biggest challenge I would face was on the book front. I am an inveterate book buyer and reader - always have been, always will be. To the point that I have run out of places to put the darned things.

So - several things have happened.

1. I have rediscovered the joy of the library. I was going before I started this Compact gig, but now I am a library consumer big time. Tend to get a bit carried away with the number of books I can actually read at any one time, but hey - life's a challenge! And I can take them back and they don't hang around my house forever and a day. (Yes, I know the logical response here is - why don't you give some of your books away? I am trying - and succeeding on a minor scale - but find it a bit like cutting off a limb... Some things are a work in progress).

2. And I now buy my books from Op Shops. Does this lead to a completely different reading experience or what! Books I would never have bought, books I read years ago, books no longer in fashion ... It's great! And somehow I find it easier to part with the Op Shop books, so I am quite living on the verandah yet.

A win all round. It's working for me.