Who are we?

More Useful Me takes a unique spin on the first two phases of “reduce, reuse, recycle”, and not just for the sake of our impact on nature. Reduce and reuse for the sake of making life more gratifying, and saving money in the process. Those two reasons alone are significant enough to take time and energy to rethink and take necessary action – and if it positively affects our environment, then that’s worthy of applause as well.

Let’s get more specific.

Reduce: Our lives are full of many things we don’t need and don’t appreciate. If you disagree then consider this scenario: You get a job that requires you move every two months (This goes against much of what we stand for, but just play along!). You have to pack up everything you own and transport it with you upon every move. Storage units and leaving items in boxes are not an option, and neither is leaving belongings at your parent’s for safekeeping. So you’re not tempted to cheat and buy disposable everything, your trash is only collected once every 2 months. What is worth keeping? What would hold-up to the abuse?

Everything you have is taking up a portion of your time, space and money. That often goes unnoticed but the clutter piles up and disrupts potential for much more freedom and enjoyment. So it is important to take this stage seriously. The things that you use once every year or two are really not worth keeping, and if you don’t use it every week it is worth further consideration. Keep only what is truly useful and brings you joy.

Reuse: Here we take a different approach and will likely talk about this the most. Now that you’ve bid farewell to the rubbish, it’s time for improvements. We take what has passed the chopping block and consider how effectively it meets our wants and needs. It could be as small as the pre-ground can of coffee in your pantry. Why do you drink it? If you choke it down only for the boost in energy it’s possible you could also get volumes more pleasure from it. You could buy it from a local roastery and try a different brewing technique. The advance in flavor and quality would assuredly give you more energy than before, and the brewing process could bring satisfaction as well. If it could taste amazing, be better for you and not cost much if any more money, why not give it a try?

Reuse isn’t just about re-purposing things when faced with the option of throwing them away or recycling. What we intend when referring to reuse is getting the most pleasure and use out of something before it becomes eligible trash. There is significant satisfaction that comes with understanding the production details of an item, what it means to make it with integrity and supporting the folks who specialize in making it well.

We’re talking about everything from the type of razor you shave with to all the aspects of the home you invest in. If we take a little more time to research what to get, where to get it and how much to spend, our resources could go a lot further – they could go generations further.

Our stuff has too high a turnover rate. Achieving something that could be lasting is rarely priority. That takes time and effort. So we make disposable everything. If it would require our time to prepare or maintain it properly then we would invent a plastic version so we could just throw it away and get a new one. When you really dive into this it is costly to perpetually discard and replace. We are shortsighted in our spending. We have been trained to seek inexpensive, low maintenance things. We seldom realize that acquiring something more slowly could mean less frequent replacement and, in some cases, we might have the privilege of passing something on to our grandchildren.

Think about something that was handed down to you by a grandparent. It could be a watch, piece of furniture or even a small kitchen appliance. Have something in mind? Now, pause to think if you bought a similar item today. How would it be made? Odds are, it would be mass-produced, cheap plastic. Furthermore, the life expectancy would be five years at most. What is yours now that would last long enough to become your grandchild’s prize possession? It’s sad to realize that most things made today will soon be landfill, not heirloom.

This pattern can stop and our lives will assuredly be more joyful if we learn to appreciate quality. We will address specific methods and products that we appreciate. We will focus on many aspects in which our existence could be improved therefore becoming, all around – more useful.


Published in: on October 9, 2010 at 3:58 am  Leave a Comment