Are you trying to learn to buy less, live more or just reduce the amount of “stuff” in your life? It’s not as simple as it sounds! Every day you’re faced with a media machine that teaches you to buy more, more, more. And you’ve been exposed to that media machine from the time you were a very, very young child (this is true for boys, but even truer for girls). Learning to move beyond society’s addiction to consumerism and stuff isn’t unlike making any other kind of big change in your life – you’ll be more successful if you have a support system. Here are our favorite tips and tricks for using the power of social interaction to become a more successful Postconsumer and fall in love with your idea of enough.
The Buddy System: Two is Always Better Than One
One may not be the loneliest number (we, in fact, like some time to ourselves!), but it’s not always the best number for success when you’re trying to make changes in your life. If you’re particularly strong willed, then you may be fine on your own. But for most of us, having somebody to be accountable to helps us to achieve our goals. Find a buddy to help you on your quest to reduce stuff. Who makes a great buddy? It could be anybody from a friend with the same goals to a relative to a spouse or partner. Can’t find somebody who shares your same goals for reducing stuff? Consider creating a MeetUp or buddy group (we’ll talk about that below).
What should you do with your buddy? It can be as simple as sitting down to coffee (or a cocktail if that’s more your thing) once a week to talk about where you succeeded and what was a challenge. But you can also use each other to call or text in moments of consumer weakness to talk each other down!
Make It a Family Affair
If you’re in the family phase of life, making it a family goal to reduce consumerism and “stuff” can be healthy for the entire family and can bring you all closer together. Talk about your consumer habits at dinner, set family budget and “stuff” goals, have weekly family meetings and even go on a media diet together so that you’re not exposed to as many messages about consumerism and “stuff” as you normally are. The family that minimizes together spends more quality time together and has more money for fun activities!
Consider a family chart that you hang on the refrigerator. People add a check mark next to their name every time they succeed at walking away from an unnecessary consumer purchase. At the end of the month, the winner can be excused from chores for a week!
Any activity that families do together is great, but learning to let go of stuff together has even more benefits than just the immediate impact and builds nonmaterialistic values for life.
Create a MeetUp Group
Especially if you live in a larger urban area (or even close to a city) you may be surprised how many people share the same goal as you but just haven’t made the leap into taking it to the next level yet. MeetUp is a great tool to try to get people in your area organized (sometimes the internet is used for good!). If using the internet to meet anonymous strangers isn’t exactly your thing, there are other more “real life” ways to create groups. Put up flyers at your local library or community center, write a guest column for your local paper and invite people to contact you to set up a group or even reach out to existing groups in your area.
Social groups can offer support and the opportunity to meet people and get involved in your community as well. Be the organizer and you’ll be the catalyst for change.
Speaking of the Internet Being Used for Good…
If you live in an environment where you’re just not going to find the local support for an in-person group (and let’s be honest, some places embrace consumerism more than others) then remember that there’s actually lots that‘s good about the internet. Find a message board or other online group that you like and start a thread about consumerism, postconsumerism, stuff addiction or even de-cluttering. People across the entire globe communicate online every day. Be a part of the action – and guide the action in the right direction.
Teamwork – the world is always better when people use teamwork! Have an idea that we missed about how to use teamwork to become a more successful Postconsumer? Tell us about it. Comment below or tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram
Photo Credit: Nic McPhee via Flickr