Ok, I broke down and spent money on something new today. I googled "best vacuum for dog hair" and, surprisingly, an inexpensive Hoover came up over and over again on different lists. So, in the hope that one day I'll prevail in Battle Dog Hair, I went out and bought it. For $5.88 they threw in a full one year replacement policy (how can they do that?). Not a bad deal, all things considered, and the value of the satisfaction I felt after my comparison test is priceless. I took my old vacuum and did the floors and then did them again with the new one and while it didn't pick up much more actual dirt, the little see-through cannister had loads of dog hair in it that the other one had missed. Valuable.
Design is something that fascinates me. I often pick something up from my immediate environment and just imagine what its story is. Who thought of it? An excited individual that had an 'aha' moment or a team of hip designers who were hired by a product development company to come up with it? Some dorky guy in a drab factory that cranks out crap? Who was the mechanical engineer who designed the machines that manufactures this? What else have they had a hand in designing? Where did all this happen? When? How many of these have been manufactured and how many are still in use versus being in a landfill somewhere? How many different continents did the materials it is produced of come from? How far did it travel and by rail or ship to get to the distributor who put it on a truck and took it to the store? I saw a documentary where they tackled the design of a new toothbrush. Did you know that the average person in the U.S. owns 154 toothbrushes over their lifetime? What if our toothbrush handle were some exquisite piece of wood that got better and better year after year that we hold it in our hand and only the bristle part got thrown out and replaced? How much plastic would that save?
Anyway, I often think of things like that and it can go on and on in my head to absurd conclusions. This process of letting things go certainly sparks it often, I find myself wanting only things around me that feel good and honorable and well designed and thoughtfully produced or that evoke a strong emotional response. It is a little distressing to realize that most of what is manufactured in the world is bought by those of us who already have more than we need while at least 80% of the population of the planet live on less than $10/day (according to World Bank Development statistics). Here's another statistic I recently saw, the gross domestic product of the poorest 48 nations is less than the wealth of the world's three richest people. Amazing, right? Will my living simply and making an effort to not be wasteful feed any of the 8 million people who die each year simply because they are too poor to stay alive? Realistically, no. As I see it, what it boils down to for me is this: when we don't know the effects of our behavior (like smoking pregnant women in the 50's) then we're absolved largely of the responsibility of that behavior; however, once we really understand the impacts of various decisions and actions then we need to try harder, we need to respond to the changing world we live in. We are living in interesting times. So I bought a mass produced vacuum cleaner today and I appreciate that I was able to do so. I bought it because it was of superior design to the one I already owned for picking up pet hair. I hope that when I give the other one away it finds a home where truly needed and appreciated by someone there or that its purchase from a thrift store enables that organization to help some of the many in need. To all those in need my heart sends out love and hope for abundance. ♥
1. 14 Simplicity vacuum cleaner bags
2. A Hoover vacuum cleaner belt - new in package
3. Hoover vacuum cleaner
4. A 12" oscillating fan - I much prefer the little tiny one a friend recently gave me
5. A brand new package of pony tail wraps that are made of a reflective material - don't ask, I don't understand either