Waste not, want not v1

21st of April 2020

In the beginning…

Currently the UK, along with many other countries around the world, is in lockdown in response to the threat Covid-19 poses to the NHS. There has been panic buying, shortages of food and reduced working hours among many other things.

This has bought the thoughts and feelings I’ve had over a period of time about ‘things’ and my relationship with ‘stuff’ into closer focus. I feel like I have collected a lot of belongings over my 34 years. Probably not as many as some others but all the same I have things for reasons that are no longer valued to me anymore and these ‘things’ have begun to feel like they are holding me back and stopping me being able to use or enjoy other ‘things’ and ‘space’ effectively.

I intend for this design to help me take stock of what I already have and ensure it has a place or is serving a purpose in my life. I also intend for this design to help me examine my relationship with consumables and help refocus it to better fit with my beliefs and ethics.

Design framework

Choosing a design framework is were I have struggled most when it has come to completing any design write up as I’m never quite sure how they will fit or how well they will work. This has meant that I have spent the 5 years I have been signed up to the diploma not achieving much. With this design I am just going to go for it.

I have choose to use the CEAP* frame work borrowed from Jenni Brooks diploma designs (http://sageandrhubarb.weebly.com/5-effective-work-and-a-pay-rise.html) as its stages are simple and defined, there aren’t too many stage meaning I can use them both as an overview to the ‘whole design’ but also simultaneously in short busts so as to keep the design moving and not to get stuck at any one stage.

I have also considered how I might use the moon phases and the energy associated with them so as to keep the design and progress at a fast pace so as I can build momentum to inspire me to put more time into the diploma process. At this current stage I have decided that following each moon phase seems like too big and too fast paced a challenge, factoring in other commitments and limitations, however I would like to ensure that at each New Moon (when the moon’s energy is focused on intention setting, new beginnings and fresh starts) I review my progress in sorting through my belongs and areas of my home and also how this design is progressing and also set my intentions for the next moon phase.

Currently I plan to use some questions shared by Hannah from the Ink Pot on social media to do this:

  • What is going well currently?
  • What is feeling challenging currently?
  • What are achievable next steps?

*Collect information, Evaluate that information, Apply permaculture principles, Plan a schedule of implementation, maintenance and feedback

Permaculture ethics (how I feel they relate to this design)

Earth care: by being more present in my relationship with things, valuing and using what I already own I will need less ‘stuff’ and so put less pressure of the earth’s resources

People care: by placing more value on what I already have and learning to let go of things I think I should do or need to do I hope to free upmore of my mental and emotional energy. Although the people care aspect will have it’s biggest impact of myself I feel, and would like to develop more ‘believe’ that the largest legacy I can leave behind is to ‘have become the change I wish to see’

Fair share: by being more mindful of what I already have I will either be able to use what I have or require less and be able to share more (e.g. tools, knowledge) or pass on items that I no longer need

Collect information

Reasons I have for owning items that I no longer wish to be valued (that I would like to shift my habits / thinking away from)

  • Impulse and emotional spending
  • It was free and I could probably make use of it
  • It links to or portrays something, or someone, I’d like to or feel I should be
  • It was part of someone I use to be
  • I couldn’t find the one I already had when I needed it
  • I have not had time or energy to use / make / do
  • Shopping is easy
  • To get free P&P or other discount

Items I feel I overindulge in

  • Food: whilst shopping has changed hugely during the ‘lockdown’ and have felt largely unaffected by it as most of my food (happily) comes from local suppliers or smaller shops. I have however found that I was probably shopping more to suit my taste for that day / meal than to use of the things I already had in the cupboard or perhaps needed to be eating before they spoiled.
  • Books: I probably have more books than I will read in the next 10 years sitting on different bookshelves. Although I have always identified myself as a reader there has been a long period of time in the run up to and after my fathers death that I simply didn’t read anything, this is a pattern I have noted in others experiencing grief also. I have, however, never stopped collecting books and as most of them I pick up from free piles (e.g. in phone boxes, café or youth hostels or such) charity shops or carboot sales where they are pence or through swaps they have little or no financial outlay and so require very little forethought and are mostly based on my momentary feelings. Other books I have collected as I feel they reflect or hold some knowledge that I feel I should master or be part of who I am. These books have also contributed to some of the many years spent not reading as I have felt that I should be reading for a purpose and not for simple pleasure and escapism.
  • Clothes: very few of the clothes I have are bought from new with almost all (apart from underwear and socks) either having been bought second hand, exchanged through swaps or given to me. This means that mostly my clothing is gathered on impulse. I do not want this to change however I would like to own fewer clothes that can be more freely interchanged between work, home life (smallholding, gardening) and socialising as well as needing less space to store them (currently a very full wardrobe, so full it is difficult to access, and a six draw ‘tallboy’, plus various piles dotted around awaiting some sort of action)
  • Stationery: this is an area that I feel I have gotten a lot better in over the past year or so but is an area of weakness when it comes to emotional spending, pretty coloured pens and notebooks with inspirational quotes can go a long way in cheering me up on a day that isn’t running as I’d like. Since the New Year I have given up buying pens after thinking about what plastic I use that cannot be reused and realising that pens are basically single use. I have still have not used up those that I already had almost six months later.
  • Seeds: these are another thing I emotionally and impulse buy but also collect free ones or buy more than I need of (it is hard not to buy too many when a packets of kale has 500 seeds in). I also have some seeds that I keep for sentimental reasons, like the packets of seeds we had made in my dads memory or packets he bought before he died. I’d like to have less dried up life in boxes inside and more living, breathing plants outside.