Sustainability Spotlight: Jeff Gibbons
Jeff lives in Brooklyn, works in editing, and practices a rather minimalist lifestyle. Read to find out his views on how being driven by consumption leads to clutter and limits your freedom.
Tell me about how you shop. What propels you to buy new things?
I shop when my clothing falls apart and when someone tells me I look bad. I try to buy stuff that is inexpensive and therefore, it is usually used. In terms of sustainability, I shop because I need more clothing. I shop out of necessity.
How do you decide between different things?
Price and if it looks good. Simple as Google searching a thrift store, and in NY there are actually a lot of good ones. I like L-Train Vintage, there are several locations. They have good shirts. So If I do buy something new I try to get stuff that’s going to last. Beacon’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange are also common, quality thrift stores.
What can you get from minimalist living? What are the advantages? You lived in a tiny apartment in Paris both times.
I think what I get out of it is-- it’s a lot less stressful. An old roommate of mine would keep a lot of stuff around, and it stressed me out so much. I feel like I am more productive when I’m in a clean space, and [it's] easier to be productive when you have minimalism around you. If you don’t need it, then toss it [editor's note: *donate, please*].
It also goes back to me trying to save my money and not spend it on random stuff. I buy experiences and travel and spend my money on seeing people I like. I'll buy books or bedding or some plants, but that’s just mental well being. What I end up buying, there is usually a use for it. I try to ensure it's important that I need it, like bedding.
I feel like you just bought very expensive bedding. What’s the last thing you purchased?
A book. I sent a book to a friend.
How much money do you spend on yourself / clothing a month?
Literally basically nothing. I'll spend like 50 bucks a week at a grocery store. And I rarely buy clothing. I haven’t purchased clothing in maybe a year.
Do you see a problem with how Americans consume en masse?
I used to live with someone who accumulated so much waste. Every time I checked the garbage it would be filled with so much crap. Takeout containers, packaging, just so much excess. And a lot of people have a lot of clothing that they don't wear. If you don't love it, don't buy it.
What’s an advantage besides cost to thrift shopping?
Individuality. Mainly cost. But no one else can replicate your look if you have pieced everything together. Why would you want to dress exactly like everyone else?
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Four, including dress shoes.
Recommendations for people looking to declutter their lives?
Ask your boss for a pay-cut!
[Editor's note: Google the advantages of a minimalist lifestyle- it provides peace of mind and keeps you on much better financial footing].
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