Monday, September 21, 2009

Need vs. Want

Experts will tell you that my recent questions of need vs. want are part of this economic down-sizing. That it's a natural result of having to tighten our belts as a nation and reassess where we're going.

I'll tell you I've been doing it for years. When I no longer worked outside the home and became the full-time COO of Kline Industries, I started looking at the things inside our home. I started watching organizing shows. Neat and Clean House are my favorites. I read books. "It's All Too Much" by Peter Walsh is my favorite.

We, as Americans, accumulate too much stuff. We've passed this message on to our children. More is better. New is better. You want something new even though the old thing is fine? Get it! Fill the landfills!

This is why we have become the parents of the Entitled Generation. Kids who don't want to work for anything. Kids who expect things to be handed to them without question. Kids who believe every activity, every sport should be theirs for the asking. Just because.

We didn't live like this when we were kids. You got games and you took care of them. Because no one was going to buy you another game until next Christmas. To my kids, games are disposable. Take care of all the dice in Yahtzee? Why, we can buy another. Lose the hotels and cards for Monopoly? No problem, Target has more!

I don't have any answers. I just want you to think about this. How can you make a difference?

I'm only buying things we need. But that's hard because I'm not sure even I can tell the difference between need and want. We need food, shelter, and clothing. I want crab legs, new curtains, and cool clothes.

I'm trying to use the one in one out rule. When you buy something that you already have, throw out or recycle the existing one. I've been doing this for clothes. New t-shirt? Throw out a stained or torn one I'm keeping "just in case."

I tell my kids that God wants us to be good citizens of the Earth. He wants us to treat people well, and to take care of the Earth. I believe this wholeheartedly. It is our responsibility for our children, grandchildren, and beyond.

I just wish the advertising people weren't so good at their jobs. Or that Ipod would stop making cool devices.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions on minimizing waste and ending our mass consumerism?

Happy Purging!

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