Have you ever watched any of the TV shows about hoarders? Doesn't it motivate you to start clearing out your own junk? That's the effect it has on me, anyway, when I catch a glimpse of all the crap that these people accumulate. I've gone through purging binges lately and have gotten rid of trash bags full of junk that's cluttered my life for decades. It's a very cleansing feeling, but I have a long way to go before I'm living the simple life.
The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard is an excellent video about how our society is based on getting more things to make us happy. Colin Beavan wrote a book (and a movie) about living in a way which he wouldn't produce any trash, called "No Impact Man". He even has a blog about it. Check out some of the ways he's decided to not make an impact on this planet.
In this economy, people have had to curb their shopping tendencies in order to pay the necessary bills, or else face increasing debt and credit card bills. I wonder, though, if people will ever be happy with what they have and focus on the important things in life. Countless people have lost their homes in the tornadoes that have ripped through the country recently, and they're just happy to be alive. I've heard of people who've lost their homes in fires and see it as a fresh start to not focus on the things so much. Does it take a major disaster to see the value in everything that's not material?
I have to admit, I don't get retail therapy. I never have. I'd rather spend the day with my family and/or friends any day of the week over getting another piece of jewelry or an outfit that will be outdated in the next season. But I know that a lot of people in Western cultures fill a sense of void in their lives by buying shiny new things. It's time we wake up!
The more things are in demand, the more things they're made, which causes more pollution and trash and clutter. Take perspective and inventory into your life and assess what you could get rid of and still be happy. And the next time you go shopping, think twice before buying yet another item you don't really need. Try the simple life and focus on what's important. It'll be great for your budget, it'll fill your life with so much value and good memories, and isn't bad for the environment either.