Lots of stuff

Stuff in the garage ©Janet Allen
Stuff in our garage—a low point in the past (fortunately, not a current picture)

We have all sorts of stuff: good stuff that enhances our life, bad stuff made under unjust conditions or that is downright unhealthy, such as some cleaning products or personal care products, but in general just too much stuff!

It's not that we get overly attached to our "stuff," or even that we deliberately set out to acquire new things. It's just hard to know what to do with it all the things that gradually accumulate in our lives.

We've done some thinking about materialism and our society's relationship to stuff. Our collective love affair with more and more stuff is not only one of the most pressing problems facing the planet, but also is something that takes far too much time and attention away from things that really matter, both in people's personal lives and as a society.

How can our society transform our relationship to stuff? One of the most hopeful solutions to this problem we've come across so far is collaborative consumption.

Most people know about the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. These are important, and various aspects of collaborative consumption fit into these ways of dealing with stuff.

For example, we can reduce our stuff by refusing to get more stuff or by redistributing some of the stuff we already have.

Likewise, we can reuse our stuff by repairing stuff that's broken instead of replacing it, just repurposing it rather than getting the latest style, and even by renting or sharing stuff from or to others.

Sometimes we have to think differently about specific kinds of stuff, so we're thinking about our: