The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

Having Enough

This image appeared to Patagonia customers via email on cyber Monday. See the text of this blog for link to full email.

I’ve recently married, which pertains to this blog in that two incomes are now in one household. Naturally, this had led to increased economic comfort and confirmation of what I already suspected: more doesn’t equal better.

My quest for simplification is becoming a daily struggle instead of an occasional thought, fueled largely by the fact that it feels so good to have open, airy spaces and a place for everything (even if everything may not always be in its place).

Take my biggest demon: clothes. By donating a (large) handful ill-fitting or seldom worn items, my drawers went from stuffed full to comfortably closing. It’s easier to keep the bedroom tidy and I can find the clothing I want more easily, which leads to more time doing life’s more fulfilling activities. But once you get there with the clothes, how do you stay there? To this query, I have a radical proposition (and it’s not ‘one in, one out’), which was recently highlighted in a stunning email campaign by Patagonia: buy less.

Before your hackles get taller than a terrier meeting a mastiff, hear me out. I’m not suggesting you eschew any and all new purchases; just ones you don’t need. And that’s what Patagonia asked, too. Just think twice before purchasing those $15 sweaters at the Old Navy. In my experience, they will stretch and their color will fade before the season is out. Instead of having three sweaters in three colors, take that $45 and buy a sweater that will last for many winters to come.

I’ll admit that $45 doesn’t buy a Patagonia sweater (it’s more like $89+). But if you refrain from buying clothes of questionable quality at department stores, that initially expensive Patagonia sweater comes with a guarantee that you probably won’t need. I have ski jackets from them that routinely get trashed on lift-serviced skiing. Purple can turn to a dark, dirty grey at an alarming rate, but their gear washes amazingly well and can be washed and repaired to look like-new for 5+ years or more. And if you tear something, send it back to them. Chances are they will still have the same fabric (even it it’s 25 years old) and will repair it at a reasonable rate. But you probably won’t even need to find out. I have expedition-weight fleece long underwear that has seen me up the Grand Teton and though Class V whitewater in West Virginia. That was 8 years ago, and it’s still going strong.

So next time you see a deal, or think you ‘need’ something, consider the definition of ‘need’. And if you have to have it, can you buy it used? Can you repair what you’re replacing? Patagonia has partnered with eBay in an effort to facilitate getting little-used gear to new homes.

And don’t forget once of the best parts: saving money. For much of my life, my money goes towards travel, but now I would love to work on paying off the house ahead of schedule. Think of how great your few high-quality sweaters will feel in a house that is owned by you instead of the bank.

P.S. Patagonia has free shipping through 12/8 and quite a few web specials/sale pieces. Click here to see.

My repair of a wool shirt.

Rad-ski-video-of-the-day: http://vimeo.com/sherpas/jpstreet

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