When I purchased this book, I really expected I’d be skimming it. I wholeheartedly support the premise, but I knew the concepts wouldn’t be new to me. After all, CaretoKeep is founded on much the same premise — that reducing our consumption of things can lead to a more mindful, healthful lifestyle and a healthier planet. Step one is to purchase things that will last, and step two is to take good care of those things! But I ordered the book anyway, in the spirit of finding some helpful tidbits and a kindred spirit. (Isn’t it great when a book provides that?)
Turns out, I enjoyed A Life Less Throwaway cover to cover. Yes, because we’re on the same page, and it’s always nice to find support for your values, but because it’s a good, informative read, too!
The book is divided into two parts, “Broken Behavior” and “Living a Life Less Throwaway. “
“Broken Behavior” explores the concepts of planned and psychological obsolescence, advertising and marketing, and fashion. It’s full of fascinating background information. (Tara has a background in advertising, and it serves us well here.) But my favorite sections of this first part are the actionable steps Tara outlines for combating planned obsolescence. These include supporting companies that make products to last, seeking out products with the best warranties, supporting local fixers who have the skills to mend things, and working towards legal change. (Did you know that planned obsolescence is illegal in France? According to Tara, a director of a company found guilty of “built to break” tactics can be sentenced to a jail term of two years and a fine of up to 300,000 pounds or 5 percent of the company’s revenue!)
In the second part of the book, Tara asks the reader to take stock of the things they own. (You can’t be a mindful curator if you’re surrounded with too much stuff!) She digs deeper into ways to buy with purpose and how to find products that last. (Be sure to check out her website, Buymeonce.com!) My favorite section (predictably!) is the chapter on “Keeping and Caring.” There’s even an Appendix on care and repair that includes short tips for taking good care of clothes and fabrics, kitchenware, and home appliances. (Other appendices are “Choosing Materials for Clothing,” “Brand Values,” and “Know your Warranties.”)
The lifestyle Tara presents is a simple one, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. With solid information, helpful tips, and inspiration, A Life Less Throwaway can help anyone who’s interested in having a more mindful relationship with the things in their life.
Have you read A Life Less Throwaway? What did you think?
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