Wednesday, November 3, 2010

EARTHQUAKE - Rethinking how we look at our STUFF!

The range of the 7.1 Magnitude Quake
As many of you know, we had a massive 7.1 Earthquake here in my hometown, Christchurch, on the 4th September 2010. It was an incredibly frightening and leveling (no pun intended) experience. Since the main JOLT we have also endured over 2500 aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 1.5 - over 5 on the Richter scale.

Suffice it to say, things in Christchurch have changed, it is no longer the same city it was before September 4th, and it's citizens also have been changed forever. As a Professional Organiser I have taken particular interest in the change of attitude to "STUFF", I am talking about material possessions we all have in our environment. I have observed and asked people about how they feel about their possessions, and if anything has changed. The responses have varied but their has been one common thread, that is that Stuff really does not matter as much anymore.
I know my own personal feelings in the days immediately following the quake included the desire to get a huge rubbish skip and strip my home of everything but the basic necessities. They were no longer important and in fact many seemed to be an intrusion on my space and home, I have spoken to many others who feel the same. One even said, "What is the point keeping all this stuff, when you can wake up in the morning and it is all destroyed?".
When I have spoken to people who have lost previously precious and sentimental items, many almost seem nonplussed about them now, where as there would be no way they would have discarded them prior to September 4th. They are grateful to have a bed to sleep in and a roof over their heads, as we have many displaced families now in Christchurch as a result of their homes being deemed uninhabitable.
Another this I have been seeking information on is how many people are rushing out to replace items destroyed and damaged in the Earthquake. Interestedly there are few who are shopping up big, they are using insurance payouts to replace items they feel are important in their home like re-framing pictures, replacing TV's, new bed and crockery etc. Most are opting not to replace "luxury" or "entertainment" items like Wii, Playstations, ornaments and the like.
As for shopping, people tend to be heading to the Malls less than pre-quake and retailers have been reporting a decrease in sales, as people spend their money on necessities rather than luxuries. Maybe the malls are underpopulated as the raw experience of the 7.1 magnitude quake make being in an indoor mall undesirable at the moment, this will change. Every aftershock over 4.5 rekindles a sense of fear in most residents, and it is something you think you are OK with then you have a big shake and you are emotionally back to square one (but that is a whole other blog post)
This has not been a scientific survey, just my observations of how people have managed STUFF in the past 2 months. As we lead up to the busy Christmas season it will be interesting to learn what the big selling items in Canterbury (Quake region) are and if the amount we spend at this traditionally boom time.
What is obvious though is we are all now looking at our STUFF in a new light, embrace it and simplify, this is a lesson everyone can learn from this experience.


Steve Taylor said...

My feelings about stuff was what could I pack in 2 cars if a tsunami hit. A shovel and a portable radio I felt was more important than anything that run on electricity.

Wendy Davie - Organising Guru said...

So true, really makes you think about what is important Thanks Steve