Friday, December 2, 2011

Story of Stuff

I came across this amazing short documentary a few years ago and it really changed me. At the time I was working as a product designer in the home decorating industry. I was contributing to the chain of stuff and didn't even know it. The products I was designing were only meant to last a short while and then be thrown out, either because they were such poor quality or because they were no longer in style. These products were being produced and shipped from the other side of the world so that we in North America could enjoy them at a low cost.

But where does all that "stuff" go when the next trend comes along and all the new "stuff" is brought in to replace the old? We aren't encouraged to think about this because if we did, guilt and conscience would certainly put a stick into the spokes of the cycle of consumerism.

When I started my company, I wanted to approach decorating more conscientiously and "the story of stuff" was never far from my mind. I didn't want to go into a home and have my clients get rid of everything only to replace it with the newest trend. I believe that displaying family heirlooms gives a home such character and it tells a story about our lives. When a client has dated or well worn furniture and objects, I often refurbish and update them. I do my best to keep newly purchased items on my decorating projects to a minimum. Garage sales, vintage stores and the internet are where I find so many unique and quality pieces to decorate with which keeps pre-loved items circulating locally and out of landfills.

We've been convinced for too long that we need to buy the next biggest and best thing to keep up with our neighbors and appear that we've "made it" but this kind of consumerism has come at a high price to humankind and the earth.

Check out this amazing thought provoking documentary

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Tracy. I've seen that documentary before; it's truly enlightening and really well done. There really is SO MUCH waste in the name of following the latest trend!

    How about slowing down technology for starters or making the devices up-date-able instead of disposable after 1 or 2 years' use.