We are heading into the biggest retail season of the year, so I want to take this opportunity to invite you to consider mindfully and gracefully your relationship to….stuff. How do your buying habits impact the planet? Where do you shop? Where do the businesses you support get their resources? What do you do with stuff you don’t want anymore? How do you share what you have?
The resources that are expended on the manufacture, trade and transportation of goods on a global scale are staggering and crippling for our planet. It’s hard to imagine the impact that one shopper has in the whole of that web, but to make ethical and moral choices is the responsibility and joy of citizenry on Earth. You get to live out your values each day. That is the difference you make.
Now, I recognize that the urge to buy things can be deeply entrenched in complex psychological motivators, and I’m not about to claim any authoritative understanding of that. I just know that I don’t have a “shopper’s personality”. I don’t get excited about buying things or receiving material gifts. (This was an enigma to my husband, may he rest in peace, who really enjoyed giving me presents.) I do enjoy using something up completely and never replacing it if possible, finding new ways to use stuff that’s already around, and finding other people who can enjoy stuff that I no longer need.
With all the stuff that’s already been made and is overflowing junk yards and landfills, I think we can all do a better job at using what’s already here. My partner Steve feels the same way. He’s been running an online used book store out of our apartment for the last 10 years or so. He goes to estate sales, book sales and thrift stores and buys good books, unusual books, quality books and lists them on retail websites as a third-party seller so that people who are looking for a specific used book can find it easily at a fair price. He loves books. He’s got a B.A. in English, and his very first job was at the public library. There’s nothing like the feel of a book in your hands or the smell of an old book from your grandmother’s attic!
Steve’s small business is called Scholar and Poet Books. If you value or collect books, music, vintage printed material or puzzles, check out our inventory. You can see our listings on eBay Here, or browse our book list on ABE Books Here. If you shop on Amazon, you may see our name on the list of sellers for a particular item, but we can’t direct you to our inventory exclusively. (Many of Amazon’s third-party sellers are actually large warehouses.) If you have friends who are bibliophiles, you can share our Facebook page with them. Thank you for reading this post and considering my invitation. May your decisions about Stuff bring you joy and peace!
This week’s challenge is perfect for the photos I took yesterday at Hippie Tom’s Serendipity Farm – an antique/junque pickers’ and gleaners’ mecca in Southeastern Wisconsin. Steve and I were out for a ramble through a wildlife area and stumbled upon the road signs advertizing his sale. The parking area was bustling, TV cameras were rolling, and Hippie Tom was in full swing for Spring. It seems that his farm is only open twice a year for the public to browse and discover treasure in his vast complex of old out-buildings. It’s a jungle of old and semi-new, broken and mostly intact, recyclable and re-purposeable stuff. And we do create a lot of stuff, us humans. It makes no sense to simply throw it on a trash heap, polluting the land with it. Reduce, reuse, recycle, refuse. Broken is not finished. There is purpose and life even during brokenness. If there weren’t, I wouldn’t be able to type with my left pinkie right now. (Broke it in high school. It’s distinctly crooked, but usable. Yup, I play keyboards and sometimes guitar with it…not expertly, but ‘proficiently’.)