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:

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.

Notion table screenshot

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 nameCategoriesCost per day since ownershipDays until $1/day
Arcade beltClothing and accessories$1.256
Clear backpackClothing and accessories$0.26πŸŽ‰
White pantsClothing and accessories$0.54πŸŽ‰
Apple iPhone 12 mini clear caseClothing and accessories$0.08πŸŽ‰
Samsung Galaxy Folder2Electronics$0.8πŸŽ‰
Steam DeckElectronics$1.96191
Loop Experience Plus EarplugsClothing and accessories$0.42πŸŽ‰
Bluetooth speakerElectronics$0.31πŸŽ‰
Dr Martens bootsClothing and accessories$2.12138
Paynter Six Mile Tee White #2Clothing and accessories$0.16πŸŽ‰
Paynter Six Mile Tee White #1Clothing and accessories$0.16πŸŽ‰
Paynter Six Mile Tee Black #2Clothing and accessories$0.16πŸŽ‰
Paynter Six Mile Tee Black #1Clothing and accessories$0.16πŸŽ‰
Bike pedal wrenchTransportation$0.14πŸŽ‰
Bike tire pumpTransportation$0.05πŸŽ‰
Bike lockElectronics$0.47πŸŽ‰
Tote bagClothing and accessories$0.16πŸŽ‰
Running shoesClothing and accessories$0.3πŸŽ‰
Battery packElectronics$0.14πŸŽ‰
White leather sneakersClothing and accessories$0.16πŸŽ‰
Apple Watch leather bandClothing and accessories$0.07πŸŽ‰
AirTag #2Electronics$0.03πŸŽ‰
AirTag #1Electronics$0.03πŸŽ‰
FanHome and living$0.73πŸŽ‰
Bed sheet set #2Home and living$1.0317
PillowsHome and living$0.59πŸŽ‰
Bed sheet set #1Home and living$0.48πŸŽ‰
ComforterHome and living$0.57πŸŽ‰
Hue lightsElectronics$0.41πŸŽ‰
iPhone leather caseElectronics$0.08πŸŽ‰
SunglassesClothing and accessories$0.1πŸŽ‰
Fake Banksy Rat canvas artHome and living$0.09πŸŽ‰
SD card #2Electronics$0.07πŸŽ‰
SD card #1Electronics$0.07πŸŽ‰
Vans shoesClothing and accessories$0.16πŸŽ‰