The hack

`What would you like to have for your birthday?´ In order to have an answer ready, you might keep a whishlist. Have you ever thought of reviewing this critically, and keeping a list of what you don´t want or need?

Why it is green

Overconsumption is sneaking its way into our lives. External triggers and advertisements are generally making us believe that we need a whole lot more than we currently have in order to be happy, cool or satisfied. The sad truth is that most often owning an extra product does not add value to our lives at all. It will give short term rush, instead of long term happiness.

Back to the environment: If we need more stuff, we produce more waste, we need more space, more energy, more logistics, more resources, and so on. We basically keep the economy dependent on and running in an entirely inefficient and short term focused loop.

While making an ant-wishlist, you force yourself to disrupt your naturally grown `want more´ mentality. You will think about what your priorities in life are and if your material whishes add value to that. Your needs will be based on clear and conscious choices, which on the long run serves a far more efficient, lower footpint society.


Impact & Easiness

This hack is quite difficult because it runs against social expectations. It requires quite some motivation and perseverence to ignore your impulsive reactions to all sorts of triggers. After all, we learned at really young age to think about what we want, for example by making wishlists for birthdays, and for Santa. How to get it out of our systems?

And then, if you know for yourself what you don´t need, it may feel impolite to inform people about your plans to basically proactively refuse their gifts.

I was personally amazed that while creating my anti-wishlist, I shifted stuff from my wishlist to the anti-list, because I realized that I just had it there because of an unfounded desire for more. For example, after seeing and smelling a breadmaking machine, I was quite sure that I wanted that too. A great item on my wishlist. Later, when I started thinking critically about the extent to which bread making currently fits in to my lifestyle, let alone in to my kitchen, I realized that my overall happiness would not move an inch with the possesion of another gadget.

Some questions that will help you creating an anti wishlist:

  • What is something you could want, but it is not adding value to the things you love to do the most, so owning it is not improving your long term quality of life?
  • Can you think of things that you could need one day, but you can borrow or rent it once you need it?
  • Are people giving you things that you do not use or appreciate? (did you tell them?)

Your footprint is going to reduce after structurally choosing a lifestyle without overconsumption. The impact on your wallet will show amazingly fast. But by far the biggest impact I see is leading by example. Since your approach will involve interaction with other people, the effect of inspiring your direct environment, and simply putting a hold on overconsumism, will be priceless.

Sustainability Score

Impact:     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Easiness:  ⭐️

Have you decided what NOT to want?! Let GreenBuzz Berlin know by leaving a comment below!

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5 thoughts on “Make an anti-wishlist

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  • October 29, 2016 at 3:08 PM

    Thank you Emma for an interesting post! I like the idea of thinking again when i buy things myself, which actually helps, because i end up not purchasing many things. Birthday presents are a bit tricky for me, because some friends do not ask in advance and give the things that they find interesting, useful, cute or so. I found recently a cool website which seems like to be a good solution to hundred small (sometimes unnecessary) gifts from many people: Different perspective on cutting overconsumption, but definitely a good one, i think 🙂

  • September 18, 2016 at 4:19 PM

    Very nice post, thanks Emma! Sometimes I even fotget what I have- then I buy something which I might need at the moment but actually it sits in a remote place in my flat and I haven´t looked for it over a year and thus forgotten it´s existance. My ball pump for example… Cheers!


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