Why buying stuff built to last a lifetime can save you money and angst
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
In my student days I had a friend called Nick. Nick was a musician and bon viveur who wasn’t remotely interested in the mundane, which, by definition, as far as he was concerned, included anything that could be termed domestic.
Washing clothes fell into that category but although Nick didn’t like to do the laundry he wasn’t a slob either.
He thought he’d discovered the perfect solution when he came across a stall on Bury St Edmunds market selling £2 shirts.
“I need never wash a shirt again - I can just wear them a few times and throw them away,” he enthused.
But, of course, ‘bargains’ like this are rarely what they seem and although Nick had a plentiful supply of cheap shirts that allowed him and his washing machine to become strangers there were other problems: chiefly, the dye in the shirts leached into other fabrics, including the seats in his car and sitting room.
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I think it’s safe to say Nick wouldn’t have had much in common with Tara Button, the author of a new book called A Life Less Throwaway.
Tara has become a champion of something called mindful curation, a way of living in which we carefully choose each object in our lives, making sure we have the best of everything from kettles to desks, pots, pans, coats, dresses and, yes, shirts.
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Instead of surrounding ourselves with throwaway items and appliances built to fail after a certain amount of time, Tara, founder of BuyMeOnce.com, advocates a life that celebrates what lasts.
Her book provides 10 steps to master mindful curation, from freeing yourself from “external manipulations”, finding your priorities, through to learning to let go of the superfluous and make wise choices.
It will, she says, make you happier, healthier and more fulfilled as well as protecting the planet.
Tara, a reformed shopaholic whose habits left her feeling anxious and overwhelmed, acknowledges price can be a barrier to mindful curation but argues buying the cheapest option can be more expensive in the long run; something, it’s fair to say, my old mate Nick discovered long ago.