How Many Do We Need?

I saw an episode of Dick Van Dyck in which someone offered Rob (the dad) a big stuffed bunny leftover from a TV sketch at work.  They said “Take this home for your son, Rob” and his response was “no thanks, he already has one.” One?! One.  Wow. In this day and age, who has one of anything? We have several boxes full of stuffed animals that we just can’t part with.  And likely half a dozen of them are bunny-shaped.

And I realized this may well be our ONE biggest problem.  I don’t know how many times I have had to refuse a speaker gift of a really nice water bottle.  I have a water bottle.  It works great and I don’t need another.  How many times have I been at a conference and received pens, thumbdrives, squeeze balls, keychains…you name it? It takes a great effort to say “no, thank you, I’m all set”.

We often find ourselves in the strange position of needing to explain that we have to plan our travel and social engagements as we have only one car. People just assume we have two.  Now we do have three kayaks (there are three of us) and three bikes, well, one of us is in transaction and is figuring out if he will keep one of the two old bikes he has been given or if he will find a new, properly sized one.  But you get the point.

Why do we need to collect more of any one useful thing?  This comes into play for toys and sketch books (yes, I am scolding myself) and re-usable bags as well. This ties into shoes and purses and winter coats. I have one winter coat for every day (eight years old), one from Sweden that I bought when I was 22 and one for hiking. I swear I am not cheap, I just don’t see the need for another, and the ones I have are in good repair and still fit fine. I do understand that fashions change, but I will state that fashions change for a purpose, and that is to get people to buy new” things they already have. It’s a bit of a scam.

  • One part of being sustainable is maybe looking for classic looks (or looks that look great on you) that never go out of style.
  • One part of being sustainable is knowing that one good spatula can be washed if you need to reuse it, and maybe you don’t need several…or maybe knowing if you do.
  • One part of being sustainable is buying durable goods that will serve for a long time. They may not be the flash in the pan “it” entity of any particular moment, but they will be useful, valuable, and appropriate for a long while.
  • One part of being sustainable is maybe waiting for everyone else to buy the toy of the year, knowing that playing with it for a week does not justify owning yet another thing.
  • One part of being sustainable may well be in-the-moment actions and experiences, rather than another stuffed bunny.

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