Permaculture Plus Houskeeping Considerations: Shopping

In a very real sense, we vote for the world we want with the money we spend. Every time we give a commercial system money, we vote for it to thrive. What do you vote for? Me? I vote for a nurturing, healing world that overflows with gentle care, hospitality, warmth, and is rife with the cozy, the home made, and the comfortable.

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Permaculture Plus Houskeeping Angle: It Matters How You Spend

Walmart or Etsy? Local farm or Megamart? What if the Megamart has organics? I’m not here to tell you *where* to shop, and I realize that wealth privilege plays a lot into this. But I *can* tell you that every dollar you spend is a vote for how the public manages your health, your planet, and your economy. In substantial and tangible ways, not in theoretical hand-wavy ways. You’ll make millions of little votes over the course of your lifetime. Make sure they add up.

Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Shop local independently owned businesses to bolster your town’s economy
  • Buy food from local farmers and ranchers on the regular
  • Buy ornaments from indie artists rather than from big box stores.

Permaculture Plus Houskeeping Angle: Your Best Purchases Are Food, Experiences, and Freedom - Not Objects

Objects add upkeep costs to your house cleaning system. You will tire of them the day after you buy them. Unless they are useful, in the same way that a hammer is useful, or amazingly beautiful, in the same way that a prism hanging in a window is beautiful, don’t buy it. Some people go a step further and recommend that you only buy things that are useful AND beautiful. I’m on board with that.

Experiences, however. Those are worth spending money on. A new experience drives personal significance units, and those are precious indeed. Want a richer life? Plan and execute more opportunities for personal significance units. Stop that subscription service and go parasailing instead. Stop buying new books on the regular and start traveling. Stop buying new objects d’art (they’ll just add clutter and upkeep costs) and start immersing yourself in novel experiences.

You’re welcome.

Permaculture Plus Houskeeping Angle: Bartering

I trade piano lessons for landscaping services. I have for more than five years. It works great. Bartering is a viable way of trading service for service. The critical idea is to value your time as much as the other person values their time: that way you can trade of one-to-one in hour-long segments.

Therefore you can trade an hour-long increment of your time, say, teaching piano lessons (what I do) for:

  • a massage
  • house keeping (I am seriously not against outsourcing this)
  • gardening
  • cooking lessons
  • errand-running
  • math tutoring
  • etc.

Permaculture Plus Houskeeping Angle: Supporting Local Businesses

Local businesses are taxed in such a way that those tax benefits go directly to your community. By shopping at the local mom and pop, you’ll help the city to build a new baseball green, construct an updated library, or fund their schools. Invest in the place where you live. Read This is Where You Belong to learn more.

Permaculture Plus Houskeeping Angle: Shopping Second Hand

In fact, you can buy nearly all of your furniture, kitchen ware, clothes, and bedding second hand. It’s a good idea.

Permaculture Plus Houskeeping Angle: Supporting Independent Artisans

When you buy from an independent artist you support their career as an artist and you get an object that is much more personalized. Your heritage, story, tastes, and values are imbued in that object. You can’t say that if you buy knock off knick knacks from the discount store. I love Etsy for this reason.

Permaculture Plus Houskeeping Angle: Eating Locally Grown Food

Yes, wealth privilege alert. But if you can, I recommend locating and enjoying samples of locally made food, like say, food that was created within a hundred miles of you. You’ll discover things like honey, beef, fruit, cheese, and olive oil that you’d never dreamed would be so gourmet. You’ll meet the farmers and artisans and ranchers who make your delicious food. You’ll support your local economy. And you might just cut back on your sugar intake a bit by eating more fruit and veg from the farmer’s market.

Permaculture Plus Houskeeping Angle: Boycotting Big Box Businesses

Shop indie whenever you can. Big box businesses are ravaging our ecology, our climate, and our culture. We need to vote with our dollars to steer back to businesses that grow our local economies and support sustainable practices.

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Permaculture Plus Houskeeping Footnotes!

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