You Have Too Much Shit
"I'm going to make an assumption that, because you are reading this... it's more than likely that you own a lot of shit." That's the start to UK designer Chris Thomas's brilliant self-help manual, You Have Too Much Shit.
Clocking in at only 20 pages, it's a short read that packs a serious punch for anyone living in the Western world—or, let's be honest, anywhere in the world. We live in a global society that's become addicted to consumption, and on an individual level that takes the form of a lot of shit.
"Free pens, mouse mats and mugs; your hidden stash of takeaway menus; those glittery wine gift bags that you keep in case you ever give someone else some wine; your bag full of plastic bags..." they're all things that we bury ourselves in despite the fact that we don't really need or like them.
This systematic obsession of hoarding causes a burden on us, our communities, and our planet, and Thomas wants to help us kick the habit.
Why So Much Shit?
Thomas' sharpest observations are in relation to why—why do we have so much shit?
At its heart, our culture of consumption is simply about "keeping up with the Joneses". We all have an innate desire to be admired and respected, and often that takes the form of going out to buy, "a bigger, shinier ox," as Thomas puts it.
But those innate feelings of insecurity aren't enough to cause an epidemic. It's the marketing and advertising we're inundated with at every turn that fuel these unsustainable levels of shit-storing. As Thomas points out, advertising impregnates products with our hopes and dreams. It preys on our insecurities so that we irrationally associate buying shit with more purposeful emotions like love, independence, and achievement.
How Do We Get Rid Of All This Shit?
Thomas is clear, he's not anti-materialism. In fact you could argue he's more materialistic than the rest of us. To him all physical possessions should have meaning, otherwise they should be given away, sold, shared, fixed, digitized, or destroyed.
He quotes William Morris to help you figure out what you should keep around and what to get rid of. "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." Well, the shit is pretty much everything else.
You Have Too Much Shit can be downloaded in PDF form at www.youhavetoomuchshit.com. Or, if you believe it to be useful or beautiful, it can be purchased in paperback form here. You can follow Thomas on Twitter here.
Photo via Need Supply Co.