Seeing Ohara Henri‘s book on how to take 5 days off a week and live a hermit’s life was tremendous comfort in my heart. It is a minimalist approach: working hourly for 2 days a week, living in a remote place, spending as little as possible, buying second-hand items, staying at home with the door shut in most days.
That life sounds very appealing to me. Ever since I was a little kid, I lamented the huge waste of material wealth in this world: numerous clothes, food, and household items are being thrown away every minute, while most of us are working extra hours and engaging in unpleasant human relationships to buy extra stuff. High trash mountains are stacked up or buried around poor communities; high trash mountains are stacked up or buried in our minds. And of course there is the dimension of the environment: we turn natural objects into something that doesn’t break down for hundreds of years and call it “GDP”.
I am going to resist that life – it is actually easy if you don’t have much resource to begin with:
Currently the only luxury goods I buy is essential oils. I am not ready to give them up yet.
I have never spent much on skin care or makeup and will continue this approach. My current makeup is still more than I need, and for skincare I’ll try to only use natural or simple things, like coconut oil or glycerin as lotion. I may give out most of my makeup and perfumes.
Baking soda is my cleaner for almost everything.
DIY toothpaste, DIY perfume, DIY as much as possible.
Recently I have spent lots of time researching clothes. I learned making one pair of jeans would cost tons of water, pollute the environment, not to mention poorly treated factory workers. As somebody with little resource, I used to buy H&M and now plan to avoid it as much as possible. At the same time, I cannot afford Theory or Equipment, or even Everlane. The current answer is second-hand clothes from thrift stores. In this way I help to reduce trash.
I’m aware that for my age it is time to wear nice clothes, but I’m not ready to wear wool or cashmere, not having enough time or money to dry clean them.
But more importantly, I’ll try to buy less, and less. Then I’ll be spending less time on shopping, comparing different brands etc. I’ll not compare my situation with others and feel bad about myself. My mind will be less distracted by the material world.
Of course shopping is not only for necessary needs. There is beauty in objects. But my theory is, relying on buying others’ creation to get aesthetic enjoyment is because we’re not creating anything. Doing creative projects may help with that.
Consumerism plays on our greed and insecurity. It doesn’t meet my needs – it tries to convince me that I need stuff, so that I feel good and more sure about my place in the society. That’s the cause of overproduction, pollution, and over-consumption. I’m not buying into that.