Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Buy Once - Quality Over Quantity (Minimalism)

Buying products is an integral part of life in the modern world.  We need products to provide various services and for various functions that make up our lives.  The bad part of this, is that the manufacture, sale, distribution, etc of these products can have a horrible impact on the environment.  My thesis is to buy something of high quality that will last an extremely long time, so that we can minimize the amount of purchases that need to be made.  A prime example of this is in clothing, which is something I think about constantly, but it also applies to furniture, cooking utensils, and really every product.  The one that can be most frustrating, is technology which goes through constant iteration, and products that were recently state of the art are almost entirely outdated in a few years.

Let's consider this through the furniture example.  Furniture at Ikea or other low cost makers is extremely affordable for any budget, however the expected life on many things is only several years.  In addition, the amount of travel and economic output that went into this product is extremely high.  Instead, you could contract with a local woodworker to have a piece custom made for your home with high quality materials.  Sure, the price would be much higher, but you would have a one of a kind piece, made by a local craftsman.

That may be a bit extreme, especially since the marginal price increase of artisan furniture is probably beyond the budgetary confines of most people.  Instead, you diligently research your options and find a piece that you know will last you a long time from a stylistic perspective, and also make sure that the item is sturdy and well built.  For example, check out the Herman Miller above.  This means you will not need to replace it nearly as soon.

If your piece of furniture begins to wobble in its legs, instead of just donating it to the Goodwill (or even worse throwing it in the garbage) try to repair it yourself.  Or if you are not able to, call in a favor with a handy friend.  It would even be preferable to consult with a carpenter who would possibly be able to repair it himself.

This applies to all things.  If your computer is slowing down, instead of simply replacing it, see if you can upgrade it.  Your car as well.  Clothing may become damaged or you may gain/lose a few pounds.  That's what tailors are for, especially if the garment is well made, it can be adjusted.  Shoes can be repaired.  Make sure to perform all regular maintenance to ensure that you can facilitate the longest possible life out of these assets.

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