Three First Steps I took to Remove Toxic Desire to Hunt and Gather Crap
1. I got rid of cable.
I stopped watching television and all its advertisements. I literally unhooked the cables in the middle of the night. I came to the realization that I have little control over my television viewing habits. I was too enthralled by crappy shows. I admit I started watching tv again through unnamed internet outlets, and I must rehabilitate. Nonetheless, physically removing cable has drastically limited my exposure to ads. This was the very first thing I did and I'm so proud I did it when I was pregnant. My kids see tv commercials only at other people's houses. It's less stressful knowing I don't have to change channels or turn off/on the tv to circumvent commercials. Yay!
2. I refused junk mail.
After a month or two of vehemently refusing and rejecting mail inserts, crappy ads and crappy catalogs, I am junk-mail free. This process is on-going. Every time something comes in the mail I did not order, I deal with it immediately. Otherwise, the problem can get viral. Catalog companies seem to sell your information to each other: hence, one annoying catalog can become a horrible infestation. I see friends and family with catalogs stacked high in their living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. I contribute to the problem by browsing through them to give the false impression that catalogs are sanctioned, when in truth, catalogs fuel the desire to desire crap and fill our homes with landfill-destined crap. I took the steps outlined by Bea Johnson's post "Junk Mail War" in her blog Zero Waste Home.
- In addition to creating accounts with http://www.dmachoice.org, http://www.optoutprescreen.com and http://www.catalogchoice.org, I also clicked over to "penny saver" and "red plum" to stop mailing me their dreadful junk mail. Maybe this does not pertain to you, but as an Angeleno, I called the crappy Los Angeles Times at 626-472-5242 and left a message detailing my request to be removed permanently from getting their crappy Local Values insert. I said my address twice. I don't want to be responsible for getting rid of these things. I hate land-fill guilt, don't you?
Some of my worst, most shameful purchases were "inspired" by magazines. For me, the culprit was Martha Stewart's Living. I spent thousands of dollars on organization products after reading her magazine one stupid year. Now I realize she is a crapitalist hoarder. I have no respect for her and her empire of crap! I love to make beautiful things by hand, so I was drawn to her, but she has really led me astray with her vision of disposable, crapitalist, land-fill crap. I am also disenchanted by Oprah and her O magazine. I have wanted to say that for a long time, her emphasis on stuff has turned me off. Too bad--she seemed cool once upon a time. Magazines and their mentality of "must buy," "new" and "fashion" suckered me for a long time. I'm an aesthete. I love beautiful, warm 'nouns' (people, places, things). And as a homo sapien, I am susceptible to hunting and gathering crap. Hence, to love myself and get closer to my reality, I have let go of magazine distraction. As part of my magazine purge, I donated and recycled French and Japanese magazines I had hoarded for years. It felt so great!!! I kept back issues of Marie Claire Idees because I love that magazine. Yet I limited that love by stopping my subscription of several years. I don't want the spanking new that screams I upgraded cause I felt existentially insecure. Now I prefer, as Pony Rider says, "the worn-in and comfortingly familiar."