A conscious consumer is an agent of change who considers the social, environmental, ecological, and political impact of their purchase.
Being a conscientious consumer is about being aware of how the product you purchase is made, the way that the people who make the product are treated, the environmental impact of the production, and overall, the quality of what you are purchasing.
Strive for improvement, not perfection.
We make dozens of consumption decisions on any given day and asking all of the above questions can be overwhelming. To begin, I recommend starting with a few purchases per month. Strive for improvement, not perfection. Set the goal of only buying things that you truly need and love and that are produced in a way that aligns with your values. Secondly, when you are no longer making use of something, pass it on to someone who will.
Times are changing and it’s amazing to witness! It’s refreshing to see that consumers are more conscientious than ever before, and are becoming increasingly discerning when choosing what to spend their dollars on, which brands to support, and what to bring into their homes.
As a professional organizer, I see excess on a daily basis. My own experiences with consumerism, and my observations in the field have dramatically shifted my perspective on materialism, attachment, and being more intentional with what I allow in my space. I encourage people to pause and think about what they’re bringing into their homes.
I try to purchase from brands that have ethical business practices. Why not make a purchase that also has a positive impact on the world? Stray & Wander is an example of a female run business that makes every attempt to ensure their practices are ethical at every stage. From working with women’s cooperatives and artisans, to using only organically grown cotton, to ensuring that every product that they produce is fairly traded. I also LOVE the versatility of the products as this helps me to buy less. I use my towel as a scarf, as a beach towel, a bath towel and a sarong. It’s a purchase you can feel proud of – you’re not only sprucing up your space with gorgeous handmade products but you’re also supporting hundreds of women, and helping to preserve traditional methods of production.
It’s important to consider that our homes reflect who we are and how we’re feeling. Many of my clients hold on to items because they don’t want to be wasteful, yet holding on to everything and not using things for long periods of time (or ever!) is also wasteful. We rarely use our just-in-case or what-if items—they sit there and collect dust, take up space, and weigh us down. Take a moment to consider that there are people who could really make good use of these items. Why not donate what you’re no longer using?
When my clients come to me, I ask them what it is that they really want, beyond just the organized space. Often the response I get is that they want to be able to feel calm and stress-free when they’re at home.
What is it that holds value to you?
It’s important for us to consider this question as it relates to consumerism and what we’re bringing into our homes. Personally, I’ve embraced the values of minimalism and it’s been a truly freeing experience. I apply minimalistic practices to both my personal and professional life. Take it from me, getting rid of clutter will help you to feel more focused, relaxed, and productive. Decluttering also makes it easier to see what you have, and in turn, to make use of it.
Overconsumption is unhealthy. Whether it be food, alcohol, social media etc. When is comes to material possessions, the same is true, yet we persist in amassing more. But in the end, clutter ultimately produces stress, distraction, and disappointment. By holding onto things that we no longer have a use for, and no longer serve a purpose in our lives, we’re living for the past. And when we fall victim to countless marketing messages that we’re bombarded with on a daily basis, and believe that if only we had this lipstick or these news shoes our lives would be better, what we are really doing is trying to buy our future happiness.
Although I witness a lot of over-consumption, I am thrilled to see that people are addressing their clutter issues and taking the necessary steps towards conscientious consumerism and creating an organized lifestyle.
Kelsey Marion is the owner of Get Sorted, a professional decluttering and organizing service. As an enthusiastic professional organizing expert, Kelsey aims to help people release their limiting beliefs and emotions surrounding clutter through her practical and heart-centered approach. She is thrilled to bring the joy of uncluttered living to Toronto and can be reached at email@example.com