A History of Stuff
The Lean Years
Almost 100 years ago, the world suffered through the Great Depression. From 1929 through 1939, jobs were lost, stock markets collapsed, and belts were tightened everywhere. Money was tight for everyone and lifestyles were adjusted to compensate for the tough times. Clothes were mended versus replaced; likewise for broken equipment and appliances. Store bought goods became a luxury most couldn’t afford; instead people turned to homemade items, like bagged lunches, home canned goods, handmade knitwear, and more.
Of course the start of World War II changed that. As the war machine kicked in, industries recovered and the world got back to the state of living. With the job market improved, people began to spend money again, and history was forgotten. And our obsession with spending money hasn’t quit.
Years of Abundance
Today people have closets stuffed full, if not whole rooms dictated to clothing. Wardrobes change by the season and people purge in order to make room for more. Advice columns make recommendations on how best to thin out articles from closets; not worn, doesn’t fit, in a poor state of repair—toss it! There is never the caveat that you could just make do with what you have, repair it if need be, or repurpose something into a brand new item, like how our grandparent’s generation was forced to.