Personal item log
Trying this idea out.
An incremental approach on identifying essentials, responsible consumption, and supporting manufacturers of durable goods. As an individual living in the twenty-first century, it's an introspective challenge to reconcile living in the times of the impending climate crisis with spillovers of attitude and luxuries from globalization efforts in the previous century. Sustainability is a large topic, but this working theory focuses on consumer goods.
Prevailing consumer norms generally only includes a surface-level analysis on the costs and utility of owning an item for an individual. Storage, maintenance, and the impacts on the environment from the supply chain are usually not first considerations while looking at the shelf or on shopping site.
To influence positive environmental changes on the greater society, consumer behaviors of supporting disposable or poorly made goods have to change. That is not to say the responsibility to address the climate crisis solely fall onto the individual. Governments and corporations have to play a outsized role too. However, an individual can make an impact at a local level by becoming more sustainable in material consumption.
Environmental sustainability on an individual level doesn't mean throwing out all of the single use plastic straws and replacing them with glass ones. Nor is it getting rid of a perfectly working 2020 Honda Civic with a new 2023 Tesla Model 3 for the sake of using an electric vehicle. That's merely another form of consumerism with some greenwashing.
Demand drives production. Instead of assuming someone else will pick up the item at the right price or save it from the dumpster, continuing to use items until they reach the end of their lifespan is the best way to ensure one's demand stays close to linear of their needs.
Of course, the answer to a more sustainable lifestyle is complicated. A one-size-fits-all approach when everyone's abilities and needs are different. A person's journey to become more sustainable can take many forms. Minimalism generally makes the ask of a reduction of material possessions without asking the basic question on whether said possessions are necessary. In extreme cases, Rob Greenfield even decided to dispose of their Social Security card.
This is not a call to action to live an extreme lifestyle or change the world in a snap. It's not even about giving up luxuries at all, as some possessions have special meaning that's worth more than its cost in materials. The idea is a record keeping tool and a logical framework to become more intentional about owning material items. It’s like a perpetual spring cleaning, airing out the attic, or flat-laying out possessions. If the process brings a new revelation on one's relationship with material goods, then that's all the better.
This project is inspired by:
- Matt D'Avella, "I counted everything I own as a minimalist"
- Exploring Alternative, "EXTREME Minimalist Living With ONLY 47 Possessions!" Interview with Rob Greenfield.
- Alec Leach, "The World Is On Fire But We're Still Buying Shoes"
- Marie Kondo, "What is the KonMari Method?"
Simultaneously, I'm trying to rewire my terminally engineer brain to avoid overengineering simple ideas or reinventing the wheel. To see test out this idea, I created this table in Notion to track the date of purchase and price of items I own.
Below is a truncated version of the table. It's clearly not complete, but I'll continue to expand this list over time.
Items logged: 44
Cost today for all items: $77.18999999999996
|Item name||Categories||Cost per day since ownership||Days until $1/day|
|Arcade belt||Clothing and accessories||$1.25||6|
|Clear backpack||Clothing and accessories||$0.26||🎉|
|White pants||Clothing and accessories||$0.54||🎉|
|Apple iPhone 12 mini clear case||Clothing and accessories||$0.08||🎉|
|Samsung Galaxy Folder2||Electronics||$0.8||🎉|
|Loop Experience Plus Earplugs||Clothing and accessories||$0.42||🎉|
|Dr Martens boots||Clothing and accessories||$2.12||138|
|Paynter Six Mile Tee White #2||Clothing and accessories||$0.16||🎉|
|Paynter Six Mile Tee White #1||Clothing and accessories||$0.16||🎉|
|Paynter Six Mile Tee Black #2||Clothing and accessories||$0.16||🎉|
|Paynter Six Mile Tee Black #1||Clothing and accessories||$0.16||🎉|
|Bike pedal wrench||Transportation||$0.14||🎉|
|Bike tire pump||Transportation||$0.05||🎉|
|Tote bag||Clothing and accessories||$0.16||🎉|
|Running shoes||Clothing and accessories||$0.3||🎉|
|White leather sneakers||Clothing and accessories||$0.16||🎉|
|Apple Watch leather band||Clothing and accessories||$0.07||🎉|
|Fan||Home and living||$0.73||🎉|
|Bed sheet set #2||Home and living||$1.03||17|
|Pillows||Home and living||$0.59||🎉|
|Bed sheet set #1||Home and living||$0.48||🎉|
|Comforter||Home and living||$0.57||🎉|
|iPhone leather case||Electronics||$0.08||🎉|
|Sunglasses||Clothing and accessories||$0.1||🎉|
|Fake Banksy Rat canvas art||Home and living||$0.09||🎉|
|SD card #2||Electronics||$0.07||🎉|
|SD card #1||Electronics||$0.07||🎉|
|Vans shoes||Clothing and accessories||$0.16||🎉|