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5 objects of enoughness
I am a materialist. I love material things. Sounds controversial when having less stuff and being a minimalist is gold star behaviour on a suffering planet. Let me explain why I love stuff...
When I hold something in my hand that I’ve had for years, or something a friend made for me, or something I mended and gave new life to, it feels really good.
Things that are pleasing, textural, well-crafted, or hold a story that we connect with can bring us immense joy.
There’s a wobbly stack of dinner plates in my kitchen that I saved from landfill. They don’t match, they aren’t trendy and I paid next to nothing for them - they make me feel smugly rebellious. I stepped off the consumerist treadmill and adopted a liberating mindset. The plates work just the same as an expensive, Instgrammable, so-this-season plate set, and love them to bits.
There is probably enough crockery (and many more things besides) on the planet now for all of us and our grandkids when they need it. I wholeheartedly recommend embracing the wonky misfits.
The planet is straining under the weight of our shopping and consumption habits, we know this.
But… it is ok to love stuff.
We are humans who need stuff around us. Useful things. Art and beautiful things. Tools and materials. Sentimental things.
What matters is how we choose our stuff, how we care for it, and how we repair it.
Whenand I chat about enoughness we often dig into the assumption that folks sometimes have that enoughness = minimalism. It doesn’t. Enoughness isn’t about having less, it’s about having enough. And you’ll iterate what feels like enough your whole life.
It’s not static and there are no rules.
Enoughness isn’t an aesthetic, nor is it very Instrgammable, because everyone’s enough looks different.
So to dispel the idea that enoughness = minimalism I thought I’d jot down 5 things I love that exude enoughness.
1. Beyond-repair jeans
I bought these jeans secondhand some years ago. They already had a lot of stories to tell, and soon they started to tear at the knees and the bum.
I mended them and downgraded them to gardening jeans. But due to all the squats and lunges one does when gardening, the tears, and weak spots multiplied rapidly.
I mended them a lot more.
I love them so much more now they are mended and they fit me really well, so I upgraded them again to special jeans to wear when doing activities other than lunging and squatting.
Now I have mended them over 20 times, and have improved my mending skills along the way.
I’ve just spotted another little hole - yay! I’ll set to mending that soon.
2. My mismatched mug collection
Spotting great mugs at op shops and tips shops is a pet hobby of mine. I especially love the warm glazes of the 70s and 80s. I also have a soft spot for supporting local artists like Molly Fuller, Clayfull (her’s are third from the right).
One can (evidently) have too many mugs, so like lots of other things in my house, I have a strict one-in, one-out policy. Which makes mug choosing a more intentional exercise.
3. The potatoes I grew this summer
lutruwita/Tasmania suffered a potato shortage this summer due to a wet La Niña spring. Thousands of tons of spuds rotted in the ground because farmers couldn’t get machinery into the soggy fields to harvest them. So folks missed out or paid more for their chippies.
I have space and the ability to grow a few spuds. So I planted a handful of Nicola seed potatoes that were given to me (thanks Jane!) and reaped a few buckets of homegrown spuds. We enjoyed them ourselves and gave heaps away to family and friends.
Potatoes are so easy to grow on a small scale, and I’m so grateful to have to soil, tools, and knowledge to do so. And I hope the couple of buckets worth of spuds we didn’t buy from the shops made a tiny difference.
4. 1960s Sewing Machine
I bought this beautiful old sewing machine from a lady on Gumtree for $120, it was her mum’s. It does all the basic functions so smoothly, it’s a proper pleasure to use. When you lift the metal lid there are all of these small red paint marks on the mechanical parts. They are there to show you where to put drops of oil to keep it running well.
I care not for complex modern machines that try to think for you. Give me a good quality tool that was made to be repaired any day.
5. My car ‘Buzz’
Ideally, I’d like to own an electric car** or a plug-in hybrid one day, or no car at all, and ride my bike, but my current reality won’t allow that. My parameters are that we live 25 minutes out of the city, I don’t want to be in debt with a car loan, I have two teenage boys who love riding mountain bikes, and a big dog who likes to go places.
I used to have a big 4WD to cater to all of these needs, but couldn’t stomach the fossil fuel consumption so I bought a snappy little hatch that has many many folding seat combinations to comfortably contain said kids, bikes and big dog, all on the smell of an oily rag and no debt.
And… recently I took out the front passenger seat and put in a foam mattress and a sleeping bag for a weekend camping trip. Amazing! A hatchback camper. So snug, so practical.
Buzz is enough for me right now.
A big disclaimer is that our second car is my husband’s work car, a fuel-guzzling Ranger Raptor. That is also our reality right now.
**I’m not sure I’m on board with how unrepairable modern electric cars are or the resources it takes to build one. I know it’s a great alternative, and works well for lots of people, but I’m still in research mode on that one.
So here’s to things that are sharable and repairable.
Things that hold stories and enrich our lives.
Here’s to being materialists.
And here’s to having enough.
Thanks so much for reading. Go gently.
Damn good links
Here are a few damn good links for you on the theme of well-crafted, repairable, beautiful, sentimental things + enoughness. Also, you can find an ongoing list of great things to listen to, read, and watch here.
PODCAST / Nick Offerman, Working with Wood, and the Meaning of Life, by On Being with Krista Tippett. “He is driven by passionate callings older and deeper than his public vocation as an actor and comedian. He works with wood, and he works with other people who work with their hands making beautiful, useful things.”
PODCAST / Jane Hilliard - “Enoughness”, by Futuresteading. “Jane Hilliard uses the principle of “Enoughness” as a design principle for the built environment. It’s better for both the natural environment and the people around us. It allows us to be rich in ways that matter instead of buying into the idea that grandeur will make us happy.”
BOOK / Mending Life: A Handbook for Repairing Clothes and Hearts, by Nina Montenegro & Sonya Montenegro. “A beautiful modern sewing and mending guide… You’ll find heartfelt stories… that encourage you to celebrate a sustainable, intentional lifestyle, demonstrate mending as a powerful act that not only strengthens the object we are repairing, but ourselves as well.”
BOOK / The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to spending less while enjoying everything more, by Annie Raser-Rowland & Adam Grubb. “It sounds too good to be true. You can save money and the world, inoculate yourself against many of the ills of modern life, and enjoy everything more on both the sensual and profound levels? Preposterous!”