“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”- Marie Kondo
It may be hard to believe that is was only this year Netflix graciously introduced us to Marie Kondo, in “Tidying Up” she introduces us to her KonMari method of organizing our lives. She may not be the trending pop news anymore; however, she taught us some valuable lessons that should continue to inspire us in how we can live our lives with greater meaning. We want to reflect on some of those lessons and reemphasize how such a change in our perspective can impact us. As an added bonus, we want to reflect on how choosing Fair Trade is also choosing a lifestyle with even greater meaning.
The KonMari method and Fair Trade both identify with one overlying theme—purpose. They focus on small lifestyle changes that lead to substantial impacts, whether for yourself or for others (and sometimes both). It’s a focus that often includes a shift in perspective on how we see our lives and what we choose to value. It’s mindfulness in practice.
For you Kondo fans out there, you know the fundamentality of this method is to ask, “Does it spark joy?” What was once a rather common phrase thrown around in passing became a movement across cultures. It’s a simple practice: if it doesn’t bring you happiness, if it doesn’t add value to your life, you don’t need it. Easy, right? Well, if you watched any of “Tidying Up” you know it’s almost always easier said than done.
In American culture, “more” often equates to better. More money. More food. More stuff. And because of such cultural messages, we fear being the person who has “less.” We place unnecessary value on things we own that don’t stand for anything significant in our lives. This is where much of the challenge starts with “Tidying Up” participants. But, once they embrace the KonMari method and rid themselves of anything that doesn’t “spark joy,” they find a deeper, more intentional meaning to the things they do keep.
Fair Trade challenges this concept one step further.
Fair Trade isn’t about yourself as much as it’s about others. Yes, you benefit from the amazingly beautiful and high-quality products you buy, yet, nothing can compare to the benefits the people who made such products receive because of your purchase.
When you support Fair Trade, you help to create opportunities for women who don’t automatically have the freedoms and lifestyle we can often take for granted here in the US. When a woman in a developing country is given an opportunity to work, she finds a purpose for her life and grants herself dignity that she may never have dreamt possible. Many people in developing countries don’t own much “stuff;” however, what they do own, they worked undeniably hard for and their “stuff” has very intentional meaning. Their perspectives value why they own what they own and what they own stands for something truly significant.
Fair Trade items take on a whole new value of living a life with greater meaning. Within Fair Trade, the question of what you want to own is actually a reflection of how you want to live your life—your purpose becomes giving others a purpose. The choices you make when you shop reflect your intentionality in creating a lifestyle that leads to substantial impacts. What you own can also stand for something truly significant.
What does your “stuff” say you value in life? Taking small lifestyle changes, such as purchasing Fair Trade products when you can, says you value a greater lifestyle for others, as well as yourself. It’s time to shift your perspective in living in a culture of “more.” Let the “more” in your life be more opportunities for women in developing countries. More environmentally-friendly production methods. More sparks of joy because it’s not just more stuff.
Choose Fair Trade and choose a fairer life.