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A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life

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Now more than ever, we live in a society where we covet new and shiny things. Not only has consumption risen dramatically over the last 60 years, but we are damaging the environment at the same time. That is why buying quality and why Tara Button’s Buy Me Once brand has such popular appeal. Tara Button has become a champion of a lifestyle called ‘mindful curation’ – a way o Now more than ever, we live in a society where we covet new and shiny things. Not only has consumption risen dramatically over the last 60 years, but we are damaging the environment at the same time. That is why buying quality and why Tara Button’s Buy Me Once brand has such popular appeal. Tara Button has become a champion of a lifestyle called ‘mindful curation’ – a way of living in which we carefully choose each object in our lives, making sure we have the best, most classic, most pleasing and longest lasting – kettles, desks, pots & pans, scissors, coats and dresses, instead of surrounding ourselves with throwaway stuff and appliances with built-in obsolescence. Tara advocates a life that celebrates what lasts, what is classic and what really suits a person. There are 10 steps to master mindful curation and each is explained in this book, from understanding and using techniques to freeing yourself from external manipulations. Finding your purpose and priorities and identifying your core tastes and style. Learning how to let go of the superfluous and how to make wise choices going forwards. Mindful curation is a lifestyle choice that will make you happier, healthier and more fulfilled spiritual as well as helping save the planet.


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Now more than ever, we live in a society where we covet new and shiny things. Not only has consumption risen dramatically over the last 60 years, but we are damaging the environment at the same time. That is why buying quality and why Tara Button’s Buy Me Once brand has such popular appeal. Tara Button has become a champion of a lifestyle called ‘mindful curation’ – a way o Now more than ever, we live in a society where we covet new and shiny things. Not only has consumption risen dramatically over the last 60 years, but we are damaging the environment at the same time. That is why buying quality and why Tara Button’s Buy Me Once brand has such popular appeal. Tara Button has become a champion of a lifestyle called ‘mindful curation’ – a way of living in which we carefully choose each object in our lives, making sure we have the best, most classic, most pleasing and longest lasting – kettles, desks, pots & pans, scissors, coats and dresses, instead of surrounding ourselves with throwaway stuff and appliances with built-in obsolescence. Tara advocates a life that celebrates what lasts, what is classic and what really suits a person. There are 10 steps to master mindful curation and each is explained in this book, from understanding and using techniques to freeing yourself from external manipulations. Finding your purpose and priorities and identifying your core tastes and style. Learning how to let go of the superfluous and how to make wise choices going forwards. Mindful curation is a lifestyle choice that will make you happier, healthier and more fulfilled spiritual as well as helping save the planet.

30 review for A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Great for rich white people who are judgmental and want a giant advertisement for a blog. Otherwise, straight up irritating and inspires nothing. Literally, not a single moment spent on the fact that cheap, shoddily made products are often all that's available for many and that's not their fault. It's a bigger structural problem and frankly, sending Apple a tweet to ask them to make more sustainable products isn't going to solve that problem. But hey, it invites a few more moments to be Holier T Great for rich white people who are judgmental and want a giant advertisement for a blog. Otherwise, straight up irritating and inspires nothing. Literally, not a single moment spent on the fact that cheap, shoddily made products are often all that's available for many and that's not their fault. It's a bigger structural problem and frankly, sending Apple a tweet to ask them to make more sustainable products isn't going to solve that problem. But hey, it invites a few more moments to be Holier Than Thou. Likewise, not a second of consideration for why the Marshmallow Test is also a flawed study; those who didn't show "will power" in not eating the marshmallow aren't failures. It's exceptionally possible they come from a world of lacking and they have never had reason to believe more would come if they didn't take advantage of the thing set before them. Pick up The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store instead.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Romany

    I agree with all the advice in this book, which pretty much boiled down to: Buy less and look after the things you have. But it just didn’t inspire me. A lot of the studies and quotes were familiar to me (e.g. the marshmallow test, the lightbulb conspiracy). There were a couple of statements that seemed borderline racist, and it was certainly a book for the rich. What does it offer? A pretty reminder that pots should last for life. If you’re lucky enough to afford such pots in the first place.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Very much an advert for her website, and a lot more about politics and economics than I was expecting, however I did enjoy this, and I learnt an awful lot about how advertising works, the wasteful way in which companies make their tech, and how to spot quality in clothing. Overall I think this contains much more useful and applicable information than wishy-washy books about minimalism (I'm looking at you Marie Kondo), and I think 'mindful curation' is a good yardstick to use. Definitely very inf Very much an advert for her website, and a lot more about politics and economics than I was expecting, however I did enjoy this, and I learnt an awful lot about how advertising works, the wasteful way in which companies make their tech, and how to spot quality in clothing. Overall I think this contains much more useful and applicable information than wishy-washy books about minimalism (I'm looking at you Marie Kondo), and I think 'mindful curation' is a good yardstick to use. Definitely very informative about how we can go about trying to effect change and look after the planet (and ourselves) through buying less and buying more carefully.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Badschnoodles

    3.5 really. This was a library lend so I can’t really work through the exercises properly, and I skimmed some of the chapters that aren’t relevant to me (childless vegan who doesn’t wear makeup or follow fashion!). But a lot of handy tips and I have checked out the website several times since starting the book, and added a few good brands to my list of ones to check out when something needs replacing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Sometimes in life we need a reminder on how to be a grown-up.  At least, I frequently do.  In A Life Less Throwaway, The Lost Art of Buying For Life, Tara Button provides concrete steps for choosing and purchasing items that will last a lifetime-not just this week's trend.   Reading this book was like having a great conversation over coffee.  Button provides anecdotes and exercises on how to discover your personal style so you can make careful choices about your purchases.  She describes how buyi Sometimes in life we need a reminder on how to be a grown-up.  At least, I frequently do.  In A Life Less Throwaway, The Lost Art of Buying For Life, Tara Button provides concrete steps for choosing and purchasing items that will last a lifetime-not just this week's trend.   Reading this book was like having a great conversation over coffee.  Button provides anecdotes and exercises on how to discover your personal style so you can make careful choices about your purchases.  She describes how buying less, but purchasing high quality items that last a lifetime, can simplify your life while also freeing up some space in your pocket book.   Tara Button covers a range of topics from why items don't last like they used to-I'm looking at you washing machines-to how advertising affects our buying habits.  There is also information on how she created her website and her own story of how overspending and keeping up appearances led to debt and unhappiness.   I found this to be an enjoyable read and I catch myself thinking about it while out shopping.  I never thought I'd spend as much time comparing the hinges and type of plastic on camping coolers as I did the other day.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nadine

    This book!!! I highly recommend this book! I didn't really have any expectations going in, as it was available at my library when I was looking and thought it sounded interesting. What I found was a powerful read about how our culture is today. How companies are purposefully making things that don't last as long as they used to, forcing you to be a repeat customer. How marketing and advertising really messes with your mind. And confirmation that I in fact don't need to follow fast fashion trends This book!!! I highly recommend this book! I didn't really have any expectations going in, as it was available at my library when I was looking and thought it sounded interesting. What I found was a powerful read about how our culture is today. How companies are purposefully making things that don't last as long as they used to, forcing you to be a repeat customer. How marketing and advertising really messes with your mind. And confirmation that I in fact don't need to follow fast fashion trends. I have always had the mindset that you get what you pay for. I would much rather invest in something high quality that will last a long time over something that I need to repurchase next season, or replace because it goes bad/breaks/doesn't work after just a short amount of time. And that is basically the point of this book. The main message of the book is to buy self-curated items that you truly love and fit your needs and lifestyle. And to buy them once, with the intention of keeping them for a long time/lifetime.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Not bad. More of a guide instead of memoir with some useful tips. I like it over Year of Less.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Super thought provoking. Why don’t we make choices with an eye to durability? Why are we okay with the lifespan of a washing machine *decreasing* dramatically over the past few decades? Why don’t we resist the allure of fast fashion (that harms the environment and the people making it)? Why don’t we replace retail therapy with activities that are truly better for us? This is a valuable reference book, and I recommend the author’s website and passion project BuyMeOnce.com.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Bottom line is to obtain things that will last and take care of them. For the most part, this has been our philosophy over the years but has anyone tried to get a flat-screen television repaired lately? Most modern-day appliances with electronic controls are pretty much "throwaways" which is horrible for the landfills. The author has suggestions on what and where to buy most anything although I ended up skimming some of the more detailed parts of the book. This is a nice addition for those more s Bottom line is to obtain things that will last and take care of them. For the most part, this has been our philosophy over the years but has anyone tried to get a flat-screen television repaired lately? Most modern-day appliances with electronic controls are pretty much "throwaways" which is horrible for the landfills. The author has suggestions on what and where to buy most anything although I ended up skimming some of the more detailed parts of the book. This is a nice addition for those more serious about simplifying their lives. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance digital reading copy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Johanna

    4.5⭐️ A brilliant book that sheds a bright light on our over consumption and throwaway culture. “The way we buy things is broken and the things we buy are breaking. But we can break the cycle. If we buy things we love, buy things that last, and take care of them, we might just save the world” This book highlights the humanitarian and environmental impact of the western world’s continual need for things. How we are marketed to to believe we need new things frequently and how many products are often 4.5⭐️ A brilliant book that sheds a bright light on our over consumption and throwaway culture. “The way we buy things is broken and the things we buy are breaking. But we can break the cycle. If we buy things we love, buy things that last, and take care of them, we might just save the world” This book highlights the humanitarian and environmental impact of the western world’s continual need for things. How we are marketed to to believe we need new things frequently and how many products are often built not to last. But it’s also a book of actions, teaching you how you can declutter your life, be mindful of marketing tactics, steer away from fast-fashion, and look to buy sustainable, ethical products for longevity - reintroducing the lost culture of buying for life. I absolutely loved this book, and have walked away from it with actionable changes. I don’t often re-read but I would re-read this and use it as a reference.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Blakeman

    I grew up in a household where you kept something until it died. Buying new meant you had a need for a replacement, which I continued long into adulthood, when I realized a few years ago that I can buy new things just because I want an HDTV or lamps that don't look outdated because they still work, but old habits die hard. In sum, I wasn't necessarily the target market for this book. It was a quick read (finished it the same day I started it) but I didn't learn much. Frankly this book is written I grew up in a household where you kept something until it died. Buying new meant you had a need for a replacement, which I continued long into adulthood, when I realized a few years ago that I can buy new things just because I want an HDTV or lamps that don't look outdated because they still work, but old habits die hard. In sum, I wasn't necessarily the target market for this book. It was a quick read (finished it the same day I started it) but I didn't learn much. Frankly this book is written for people who see the world as the author does. Her exercises for writing ad copy were over the top for me. And I have no interest in buying a $125 umbrella when the deluxe $20 version is sufficient. She was a little too precious and perfectionistic in her worldview for me to anything meaningful from this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shayla

    I'm not sure what exactly I got from this book...I think I'm a little more clear on wanting to buy certain things and knowing what to look for in items I do buy to last. But overall I just don't think this book said anything I hadn't already figured out by myself, and at times it was like reading a long advertisement for the author's website/business. There are a few good tips here and there, but a lot of them have that same self-help mushy, saccharine feeling to them where I know there's no way I'm not sure what exactly I got from this book...I think I'm a little more clear on wanting to buy certain things and knowing what to look for in items I do buy to last. But overall I just don't think this book said anything I hadn't already figured out by myself, and at times it was like reading a long advertisement for the author's website/business. There are a few good tips here and there, but a lot of them have that same self-help mushy, saccharine feeling to them where I know there's no way I would ever apply the advice to my life. As usual when it comes to self-help, this book could have been half as long as it was. But the idea of it is very nice and I am definitely more motivated to be even more careful with what I choose to buy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    KDV

    This was good. I disagree with the reviewers who say it's only helpful for rich white people (I find it's usually rich white people themselves who make these kinds of complaints). Since much of the book is about learning to recognize impulse spending and retail manipulation, I think most people would benefit from reading it. The author's only misstep is failing to encourage the reader to fix their own stuff, rather than immediately run to a professional. Now THAT might be a rich person thing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    Author Tara Button encourages readers to discover what they love, curate a collection of meaningful, long-lasting items, and stop embracing and discarding trends with the rest of the Western world. However, instead of addressing over-consumption and its tax on the planet with vague, emotional argumentation, this author exposes the history of modern consumerism and advertising in detail, delving into the social and personal mental processes that lead to over-consumption and waste. For example, sh Author Tara Button encourages readers to discover what they love, curate a collection of meaningful, long-lasting items, and stop embracing and discarding trends with the rest of the Western world. However, instead of addressing over-consumption and its tax on the planet with vague, emotional argumentation, this author exposes the history of modern consumerism and advertising in detail, delving into the social and personal mental processes that lead to over-consumption and waste. For example, she explains how even when our items are not technically obsolete, marketers expertly stoke our desires for a replacement by changing product designs and making something look "so last year." She also addresses how common design practices impose a short lifespan on products so that consumers will have to buy them again. This book also includes sections on the impact that commercials have on culture and lives. Because the author used to work in advertising, she is an excellent voice to explain how manipulative commercials can be, and how even when they don't peddle misinformation, they are still explicitly designed to tap into subconscious desires and create felt needs for products that people might not care about if they were marketed less insidiously. In response to this, she outlines next steps for how to change shopping mindsets and habits. Because this book focuses on the mindsets and heart issues that drive people to over-consume and live wastefully, it is much more oriented to affluent people than to those who depend on cheaply made products in order to get by, but since affluent people are the ones more likely to trash the planet by following trends and buying and discarding items on a whim, it is appropriate for this book to be directed towards those with the means to finance wasteful lifestyles. The author encourages readers to consider their true values, reject consumerism, and change their thoughts, beliefs, and habits to create a more purposeful life, meaningful home, and healthier planet. She also has a resource to help people learn about products with longevity. Even though some Goodreads users have criticized this book for promoting the author's website, BuyMeOnce, she designed this website for the purpose of discovering and sharing information about the types of quality products that won't break down after a short period of use. I believe that this book is actually better for mentioning the website, because other books give generalized advice without providing any next steps or resources. It's clear that this author not only practices what she preaches, but also knows how to pass on her lifestyle values to others in a concrete way. I really enjoyed this book, because even though I was raised to use things until they wore out, and to reject trends in favor of my personal style, it was still helpful to think through these issues in a systematic way, and it intrigued me to learn more about the history of advertising and how the Western world developed its over-consumption problem. Although I would not recommend this book to someone struggling to get by financially, since its suggestions for buying long-lasting products can seem laughably unattainable, its messages about how to cultivate good values and a good life through discerning your personal taste, rejecting consumerism, and living simply are spot-on.

  15. 5 out of 5

    CharityJ

    Makes a strong case for living more mindfully by consuming less and buying for the long term. Interesting tidbits from industry insiders on planned obsolescence. Covers nearly every area category from fashion to household appliances and gives concrete suggestions for shopping smarter for things that will last longer. Good read for those wanting to be more eco-conscious.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emily Jorgensen

    I loved this book. It fit a genre that has been my current obsession lately, and this book nailed down the guilt that has been rising to my consciousness lately on consumption and wastefulness. I love the author’s passion for her topic and the business she has built, and I will be talking about this book to anyone who will listen!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Uttara Makker

    It is an eye opener.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Another book about simplifying and living with less stuff, what sets this apart is the section on marketing and planned obsolescence. If you think you’ve been manipulated this will confirm it!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This isn't a memoir of her life learning these lessons, but more of a guide. It is inspiring and I learned a lot.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lenore

    Really good book. Helps you think through about what purchases give meaning to your life and what you will get best value out of. Also talks about how to set goals and follow through to those goals.

  21. 5 out of 5

    KieraK

    This was a great read. Some of tge later chapters were a bit more than I needed, but it seemed to have a broad audience. Hoping to implement as much as possible when I return home.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    Great premise, ok reading. Most of the information I've read elsewhere. I liked her methods of incorporating habit-building into decluttering and purchasing.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Lane

    We've moved on a bit in the past couple of years but still useful.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Clark

    I want to check this book out again so i can read it again, sooo much info

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda Lomazow

    A great concept buying for life in our world where everything seems expendable this well written fascinating book teaches us to buy less buy goods that will last forget trends & styles that change monthly.I love the idea of buying for life and will be thinking about this before I spend on the latest trend.Thanks #Netgalley #tenspeedpress for this advance copy, A great concept buying for life in our world where everything seems expendable this well written fascinating book teaches us to buy less buy goods that will last forget trends & styles that change monthly.I love the idea of buying for life and will be thinking about this before I spend on the latest trend.Thanks #Netgalley #tenspeedpress for this advance copy,

  26. 4 out of 5

    Muthia Ulfa

    The book is an okay to good choice if you wanna start to getting know more on how to tackle materialism influence on keeping us buy more and more. She mentioned her website quite often, but I don't see it is a problem (maybe because I don't live in UK most of the products was not sold in my country). But still, she explained her point in such a simple way and easy to understand. I could say it's an easy guide to live a more meaningful life. I am glad that I read this book before I get to work an The book is an okay to good choice if you wanna start to getting know more on how to tackle materialism influence on keeping us buy more and more. She mentioned her website quite often, but I don't see it is a problem (maybe because I don't live in UK most of the products was not sold in my country). But still, she explained her point in such a simple way and easy to understand. I could say it's an easy guide to live a more meaningful life. I am glad that I read this book before I get to work and accumulate all the trashes that might last "just for now will do". This book will serve as my go-to book whenever I want to buy things.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Annabelle Bell

    A life less throwaway and the buy me once philosophy is something everyone should take on board. little changes make all the difference and with the great ideas in this book you won't find it difficult to do. x

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Mck

    A must read for anyone concerned with our over abundant lifestyles. A lesson on less is more and how to declutter your life and learn the art of "mindful curation". The author has some great tips on buying for quality and for life.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nathalie Claes

    great book! Well written and inspirational.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Whilton

    A nice introduction to an excellent idea. Worth reading.

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