Advitam is an expression that slowly seems to get lost in today’s language. It is Latin and it means “to life” or “for life” if you prefer… Not so long ago, it was not uncommon to see people saving money to buy items of high quality and keeping the same item for life. Today, things have change drastically and we are consuming like never. There are several folds on this, but mainly, with the development of the mass production (exploding after World War II when governments started recycling arm mass production lines to goods mass production lines and food mass production-again, a completely different topic-) we have to have mass consumption as one cannot survive without the other.
I have recently read both Marie Kondo (The life changing magic of tidying) and Nagisa Tatsumi (The art of discarding) books and while I have found Marie Kondo book very interesting (you can read about it in my post Balanced), I have had more disagreement with Nagisa Tatsumi. In her book she writes about the difficulties we could face to change mindset from this consumerism movement, that we should learn to live with it and learn to discard our “things” when too much accumulate. This is where I disagree. I think in order to give a break to our Earth we should learn to buy and accumulate less stuff as when we are discarding them, there is no such thing as them “going away”. There is no “Away”, away is always somewhere, being in another home, recycled somewhere and at worse pilling up in a landfill.
I am aware that unfortunately so many products today are of very poor quality to ensure that we keep the ball rolling and keep consuming (thus feeding those massive corporations, the only ones really benefiting from our consumerism). In order to reduce our needs (and our wants) though, it might be good to reconsider our way of consuming and may be, without denying progress, may be we could step back in time where quality and hand craft skills were selective criteria above quantity and trends. There are many manufacturers throughout Europe who are still producing goods able to last a life time (some of which you would even be able to pass on to future generations if you take good care of them). After much reflection and to avoid any misunderstanding on whether I am supported by any brand, I will not name here any of them but finding them through the web is rather easy and I will help you the best I can with some description.
The range of long lasting, durable and well made products is wide and you can find them in the kitchen (cast iron pans and casseroles – you could even find some of them in excellent condition on Ebay-, stainless steel pans –I own several for more than 15 years and there are still in perfect condition- the same brand manufacture absolutely traditional pans in copper, toasters –durable and sturdy, well known throughout UK for many years- and other appliances, tableware –some of which if you don’t drop them, in such a case you will have glass pieces in your home for a life time, is indestructible-, pepper and salt mills…), stationery, luggage and bags (I own a back pack manufactured in USA which I have been using every day for months and does not show a sign of wear) , clothing (outwear and other), wellies (be careful of the fashion brands which are not so comfy!) and shoes, hats, accessories, beauty accessories, home decoration (blankets –some of the ones I own are manufactured in small mills-) and even toys (which you can keep because they are timeless).
I am also aware that the products I speak about here are rather expensive when you buy them, but if you do the math, on the long term, as you will not have to replace them, you will save money.
I also would like to mention that while I think it is a good thing to buy products which are durable, it is even better to take the next step and consider if their manufacturing process is sustainable for us and the Earth. I take as example high street brands who offer durable products but all produced overseas. The manufacturing process is often rather polluting (and by the way, there is no way to follow strictly the manufacturing process of a product in China and ensuring “ethical” production, I strongly recommend to read the “The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage” from Alexandra Harney to learn more on this topic) and the shipping from overseas to our countries is certainly not carbon neutral!
I would love this post to be interactive, so feel free to name here any brands/products that you deem worth mentioning in a comment below. I would be more than happy to have to update this post on a regular basis with a list of products. If you really struggle to find those, feel free to contact me, I will be happy to give you more details.