Materialism is not the enemy

Do you have a favorite shirt?

When you develop your minimalist wardrobe, each piece in your closet earns its place by being comfortable, affordable, flattering, and beautiful.  Each piece matters.

May my favorite shirt, a brown jersey knit stretch tee with a ruched chest, rest in peace.

I noticed it was getting threadbare a couple of weeks ago and knew its days were numbered.  Then I found two small holes in it.  Oh, no.  We might have less time together than I thought.  Next,  I saw a tiny orange spot.  Bleach.  Sneaky bleach.  I don’t even use bleach!

The shirt is still comfortable, still cute, still wonderful.  But it’s almost time to say goodbye to my poor, threadbare, tiny-holed, sneaky-bleach-spotted shirt.

It is materialistic to “love” a shirt.  But materialism is not the enemy. 

Materialism for things that matter — a favorite shirt, an heirloom (that you actually love and use or display), quality wooden shelves… these are all examples of things that you can take pride in owning and take care of so they last a long time.  Materialism doesn’t necessarily mean that you care for objects more than anything else.  Some people do — people who view their stuff as a status symbol, people who buy and buy to keep up with the Joneses… these people want things for the sake of things.  These are consumerist people, who need to buy and own and possess.  That’s the enemy.

Worry not if you shed a tear over your favorite jeans being ripped.  You might only have the one pair, and you have them because you love them and they have been good to you and they earned that spot in your closet and on your body.  That’s good materialism.

But we must all say goodbye to our favorite things because all good things come to an end.  And then we go find a new favorite in our closet.

What do you think? Materialism okay or not okay?

12 thoughts on “Materialism is not the enemy

  1. living lagom says:

    Part of the reason why I became a minimalist was because I only wanted to be surrounded with my favorite things. So yeah, I love my stuff. Clothes is a requirement in these parts, so I might as well love what I wear. I think it’s fine (and preferred) to love your stuff…just don’t worship it.

  2. JMK says:

    It’s a sad day when a favorite announces it will soon be leaving. In my entire life I’ve had one truly comfortable and flattering pair of jeans. I even got them at a thrift store for about $5 and enjoyed them for about 3yrs. When they finally became frail and I risked exposing my backside at one particularly thin spot I set out to replace them new at the store I knew they were from. Apparently they no longer make that style. I tried on several other similar styles but none were nearly as perfect as my old ones, so I left empty handed. That was two years ago. I haven’t worn jeans since then. I still have my old ones but can’t safely wear them. I’m considering a patch job, even if it’s unsightly, that will at least make them suitable to wear around the house or in the garden.

      • rebekkastarfish says:

        same here, I have a pair of stretchy skinny jeans I bought at a cheap clothes store (wouldn’t do it again because of child labour etc) about four years ago, and it’s so comfortable … but it’s fading in the most immodest places. so I mended the biggest hole and continue to wear it instead of leggins, e.g. under a short skirt or a tunic shirt. I will keep wearing this thing until it literally falls apart!

  3. Nicola B says:

    I’m sure I remember reading a blog post or comment somewhere saying that we need to be *more* materialistic, in the sense of caring more about material things and their origins etc, rather than treating stuff as throwaway…

    So I think that having loved items is good- as long, as you say, that you don’t put stuff ahead of people🙂

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