New Materialism

Hello. I came across this gem of a site recently, the new materialism, and I had to share it with you as it really struck a chord with me. I came across it by chance, like all of the best internet discoveries, and what initially struck me was that it celebrates our materialistic needs, as long as we respect things and make careful purchases. The site includes this simple manifesto:

1. Liking ‘stuff’ is okay, healthy even – we can learn to love and find pleasure in the  material world.
2. Wherever practical and possible develop lasting relationships with things by having and making nothing that is designed to last less than 10 years.
3. Get to know things - before you acquire something, find out at least 3 things about it.
4. Love stuff - mend, maintain and re-use things until it is no longer possible, then recycle them

5. Get active - only acquire something new if you are also learning a new, useful skill.
      6. Share - look at all your things, think about what your friends might need or could benefit from, and share at least one thing a week.

It also gives an interesting list of items that are still going strong such as the world's oldest working watch (made in 1505). Check out the list of items loved and lasted here

If you want to read more this essay is interesting and you can also download the full pamphlet from here, but it is a serious read. It is written by Andrew Simms and Ruth Potts and co-published by bread, print &roses, Schumacher College and The Real Press.

I think adopting this simple manifesto could help us all to feel comfortable with our possessions and build a new greener relationship with future possessions. 

It got me thinking of old possessions that I own, treasure and are still in good working order (our dining table, vintage glass bottles and my letterpress tray).

So, what do you think of this manifesto and care to share what your most treasured oldest possessions are?



  1. I have a Lloyd Loom Chair that's been with me from childhood apart from when I lent it to my Nan for a few years after she suffered a dense stroke. The shape supported her nicely. It came back to me after she died and yes she was sitting in the chair when she passed away. I reckon she was comfy as this incident hasn't given the chair a macabre quality. It just brings back fond memories of her whenever I use it.

  2. Sounds like a great philosophy. I don't have many old things that have been passed down to me, but I do keep things that I think my children might like to have one day.

  3. I like the not last less than 10 years rule, how often we bemoan the fact that nothing is made to last these days - I guess I'd better hang on to my husband after 24 years then!!

  4. An inspiring post! I don't have a lot of things I'm very attached to as I don't feel I need an object to retain the memory and the sentiment of it, and I hate junk and clutter so I tend to just get rid of anything that isn't useful! I do have a jar of fossils we've collected and a few little souvenirs from holidays but nothing I'd really consider treasured. I'm struggling to think on an old, most treasured possession actually, so I think it'll have to be a really simple coaster I made at school when I was 7 and am still using now! I partly hate it because it has some pink on it and I really hate pink, but I've had it so long I can't imagine not having it my bed, where it has always been!

  5. What a great manifesto! My treasured old possessions are an old nursing (for breastfeeding) chair of my granny's which I am sitting in as I type this. A g plan rocking swivel chair that my parents bought new in the 70s it is so comfy and reminds me of my own childhood. Lastly a gold rope necklace which again was my granny's and is one of two necklaces that I own. I wear it every day and it always reminds me of her as she did too.

  6. I especially like number 4...
    I was very materialistic at one point in my life, now that I work and earn my own money, I see how hard it is to acquire and keep so many things... and "things", if we have too many can be so stressful! So I really did enjoy this list... having things but keeping it simple!
    Have a great rest of your week!

  7. I enjoyed this, also the comments. My Granny has lived in her house since 1937 and has much of the furniture and many implements that are original to that time, or passed on from her contemporaries. She is very much "waste not, want not" and has been a great role model, I love that quality - and I will be keeping the old stuff for our holiday home when she goes (also an old Lloyd Loom chair!). I think the key is that these things are "looked after".
    My MIL has spent her life amassing family heirlooms, many of which are elegant rather than practical, but again, it's a colletion that is very special to the family, and it has always been used (furniture, silver, crockery). One item is an old spoon that my husband's great-grandmother used to stir pots in in the kitchen, and he had it repaired about 15 years ago so it could continue to be used.
    Much of Switzerland is rural and there is still a strong old-fashioned ethic - I know women who still cook on the old wood-burning ranges of their old houses. We had one in an 1832 house but I rarely used it for convenience reasons, but the big tiled ovens are still very popular and are used a lot - they are usually fired from the kitchen, again with wood, and they heat very efficiently! Although they are generally not very interested in history, I've found that rural Swiss often don't realise they are actually living history in many ways, which fascinates me ;). They are also natural minimalists - check out any Appenzell naïve painting, that is what their homes are really like. Definitely quality-minded, the traditional Swiss will buy sensibly and locally (and pay the price!) and have things repaired as far as possible. One example is that we still have shoemakers that do a proper job, and we use his services regularly.

  8. My most treasured possessions (yes I have two) are my teddy bear Valerie, given to me on my first birthday and then carried everywhere by my eldest son as his favourite plaything for five years and a little wooden stool made by an uncle of mine.

    He used it for all sorts of little jobs around the house, including sawing something (it has little cuts in it where he misjudged and nearly sawed through IT as well as the wood). It has been sat on by my boys, used to reach things from high places and hang Christmas decorations by me for sooo many years. It was a little workbench when my eldest was playing at 'woodwork' like his Dad was doing. It's been so much more than just a stool.

    If I had to only own 10 things these two would be in that number.


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