Now many of you who are looking to actually live in a Tiny House have some level of awareness of this cultural phenomenon we know as consumerism. It essentially functions by creating social pressures to buy more stuff, our culture has an instilled mentality that we need more stuff to be happy.
The more stuff, the more happiness right? Wrong. Studies have actually shown that the purchase of stuff gives us a quick high, but ultimately leaves us even more unhappy. Buying more stuff means we need to work more to pay for it, we incur more debt. All of these things bring stress, give us less time to relax, time away from family and friends and when we do have free time, we are hounded by collection agencies. When we move into a Tiny House, we need to reduce the amount of things we need to fit in, this actually reduces stress, focuses us on what is important and create greater value for what little we do have.
I encourage you to have some time set aside to do some introspection. During that time consider what you have purchased over the last month using receipts and a spreadsheet. I have seen it a million times, people who don’t track it, don’t realize how bad the problem is. This is a pretty well document phenomenon. Studies have shown that when people track things, they typically spend 1/3 less, just by tracking it!
It has taken me a long time to really weed through my subconscious to get to a point where I can realize when these deep rooted influences are pushing me to buy something. I have been on this journey now for 2 years and still am struggling with it. I do intentionally strike a balance between separation of consumer culture and still staying generally socially acceptable. Clothing for example is a big societal function, fashions and trends drive us to buy more and I think many have a hard time breaking this cycle.
Now it is true, men’s clothing is easier to do this with, but I still believe anyone can do it. My clothes literally can fit in a big suitcase, all of them. I own 1 suit, 3 pairs of pants, 2 shorts, 10 shirts, 15 undershirts, 30 pairs of socks, 30 pairs of underwear, 3 work shirts, 3 shirt that get dirty, 2 pajama pants, a hat, rain jacket, winter jacket, one pair of dress shoes, one pair of running shoes, and one pair of garden shoes. I have also worked to be able to work from home or a job that I can dress casually, this drastically reduces the amount of clothes and limits social pressures.
So today start looking at what you have spent, take some time to think about how these cultural norms influence you behavior and check out the story of stuff to help understand these mechanisms.