A Discussion With My Daughter (about owning quality stuff)

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I want a Hudson Bay point blanket.  Some individuals may be disheartened to know that this simplicity blogger longs for a blanket derived from wool (and I do apologize for offending), but I am human and to err is my way.  Both sets of my grandparents owned Hudson Bay point blankets–moths had eaten them in spots but I didn’t mind.  To crawl under their heaviness was warm, comforting and to me felt like love.  During a winter spent in Canada I admired and desired a Hudson Bay point blanket even more–North American winters can be cruel and again these blankets spelled love.  I promised myself despite the blanket’s expense, I would buy one with the knowledge that it would be owned for a lifetime.  My grandparents’ household economies often meant quality over quantity–this was the norm for their generation–a Hudson Bay point blanket was a common item in many households as a result.

Today, I own a synthetic blanket–it has lasted over ten-years, but it is thin in spots and falling apart at the edges.  I told my young daughter about my desire and plan to save for a new or used Hudson Bay point blanket.  She knows that we are a household that has a “stuff rule”–one comes in only when one goes out.  This keeps things balanced (most of the time).  So she understood a need for a new blanket and the future exchange, but when I explained to her that I will never likely buy another blanket this baffled her.  For my child’s generation products don’t last.  Very often superfluous stuff (and even the necessary) is made with planned or built-in obsolescence–a product is designed to have a limited use or life.  Nothing lasts.  This statement is the opening to many philosophical conversations, but as a consumer it is just depressing.  If you live a life as a minimalist, seeker of simplicity, or even as a smart consumer you can suit up and battle this “nothing lasts” ideology to a degree–buy better.  It may cost more up front but there is lasting value in these type of purchases.  The Amish know this secret and often upgrade on important items used for working and living. Their culture treasures antiques for their beauty, quality, and their future monetary value.  For our current consumer culture this idea is not evident–we spend our dollars buying more and more until our homes bulge and our savings dwindle, but we often do not open our wallets and look clearly for any type of lasting value.

I did some morbid math, and since I plan on living to nearly 100 I’ve got 60 good years in front of me.  The cheap synthetic blanket was still a “quality” blanket and costs around a hundred dollars today.  If the inflation rate for the next 60 years remained at around 3%, and I bought a similar blanket to the one I have now every 10 years during these next six decades–I would spend about $1,800 on blankets and use up six blankets worth of the earth’s resources.  The Hudson Bay point blanket is looking like a good investment at around $500 to $600.  What is more these blankets maintain some of their value, and can become family heirlooms.

Stuff is never going to be my cup of tea, but I do need a cup and tea on occasion.  When I do shop I plan to buy with quality and beauty in mind.

Have you made any “lasting” purchases?

 

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3 thoughts on “A Discussion With My Daughter (about owning quality stuff)

  1. We lost most of our belongings in a tornado. Most of our things had emotional, sentimental value. Grandma’s piano, the second hand buffet and Daisy Cook print, not easily replaced. Sometimes bare walls and empty space isn’t simplicity, just cold. But waiting for, searching for the lasting purchase is the right thing for your heart. Excellent post, thanks for sharing.

    1. My friend, I have no words to give comfort or to tell you how profoundly sad I am that I cannot give you those precious treasures back…there is only hope…let us hope for daily renewal…

      2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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