Upfront: What do we really need

We all have too much stuff. We have so much stuff in fact that there’s an industry built around organizing that stuff for us and another that provides plastic bins of all sizes in which to store it.

In this issue of City Parent, like all of the other editions of the magazine, we present to our readers a selection of the most recent stuff that’s come to the marketplace. There is no end to the parade of pitches about stuff that fill up our email inboxes where there is already too much stuff. Some of the stuff we may actually need, much of it we simply want.

There is a clear green line that can be drawn from many of the products we consume to their impact on the environment. Generally speaking, the less stuff we buy, the better for our natural world. Practically speaking, we’re not going to stop buying stuff. We can stop to consider our needs before we buy more stuff though.

When it comes to our kids we can manage their expectations. We can talk about the consequences of rampant consumerism. Plant the seed and they’ll be policing us, asking if we needed that new purse or if it was a want. Shopping is fun and new things can make us feel happy. We just need to set limits and make an effort to reduce our accumulation of stuff.

It’s not easy and that’s one of the reasons that our culpability in the crisis of climate change is shrugged off. What can one person do? Why should I curb my travel plans? Why shouldn’t my kids have a battery-powered vehicle to drive on the sidewalk? What’s wrong with populating the lake with massive inflatable vinyl bouncy things?

Living more simply is made harder when so many others aren’t going to get with the program. We’re heading into the biggest consumer event of the year. Christmas wish lists are being written and shopping has begun. It seems like the perfect time to think about buying less and doing more.

In the Junior section this month the are some ideas for things to do that don’t cost a thing. Laura Lyles Reagan offers 14 ways to encourage lifelong learning. We know that doing active things is good for us in so many ways. Check out the playtime feature in this issue for some encouragement on the activity front. Just be prepared to set an example for your kids and get moving yourself.

You’ll always find lots of things to do in the calendar section and this month seasonal offerings are already on the agenda to kick of the holidays. Be sure to do lots of fun stuff. That’s what we all need.