Lately I have a new perspective on the things around me. Perhaps it is a matter of never having enough time to accomplish the things I want to do with my life, but I am starting to see everything in terms of the time a particular thing costs me. Take this sink for instance, not tidying the kitchen equated to 1/2 hour of research today! And not tidying up that half peeled off label on the flower jar – 10 mins. Of course the washing up still has to be done at some point tonight (Given that my home interior won’t be making an appearance on Instagram any time soon I’ll leave the glass jar for my next life)….but I’ll get to that when my brain has become fuzz (unless hubby does first ;)).
It is fair to say that most “homemakers”, “stay at home” parents and whatever other lovely term applies to those of us who spend a reasonable portion of their adult lives doing the lion’s share of the “at home” jobs without receiving a pay check have generally already worked this out, but where this approach gets really interesting is when you start applying it to the multitude of consumer items available on the market out there. Let’s start small, a new clothing item – 1 hours work, a new piece of furniture – 5 – 10 hours work, new sofa – 1 week of work. Going up to the bigger items, a swimming pool for instance would set you back perhaps 70 weeks of work or more when you account for tax.* Putting aside the actual amounts, which of course differ depending on one’s “value” in the market, you get the picture. All the items and possessions, as well as purchased experiences, can be translated into a time value to obtain it. Unless you fall into the category of people whose “value” in the market is so exceedingly high no thought needs to be given to this exercise (though arguably another sobering exercise can be undertaken in this case, being the cost of time (and perhaps other things) required to get to this value and maintain this value for one’s working life), it starts to appear as though we are spending “time” on consumer goods like we have unlimited amounts. Given that “time” is the one thing of which we can be pretty certain is limited for us, perhaps it is time for a rethink. Give it a go and see, ask yourself the question – what do you value more than the time it equates to getting it. If it doesn’t add up, then perhaps it is not necessary!
* (I am assuming here a pay of $40 per hour and a 35 hour work week).