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  • Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

  • Rob: And I'm Rob.

  • Now, Alice, what did you get up to at the weekend?

  • Alice: Oh, I did some spring-cleaning,

  • which means cleaning a place very well, especially places you don't clean often.

  • So, I was tidying up my wardrobe, trying to organize things

  • and suddenly hundreds of shoes tumbled on my head!

  • Rob: Poor Alice! But why do you have so many shoes?

  • And why do you keep them at the top of your wardrobe?

  • I only have three pairs.

  • Alice: I like to match my shoes to my outfit.

  • And three pairs wouldn't do the trick.

  • Well, the subject of today's show is having too much stuff.

  • And you're making me feel guilty, Rob.

  • You must have too much of something.

  • Rob: Yes, plastic bags.

  • I think they're useful,

  • but they're getting out of hand ... and that means not under control.

  • They're taking over my kitchen!

  • Alice: You can recycle plastic bags, you know, Rob?

  • Rob: Well, you can recycle shoes too, you know, Alice!

  • Alice: Yes.

  • Rob: Now, in general, I don't have a lot of clutter in my flat.

  • And that means an untidy collection of objects.

  • Clutter makes it harder to find the things you need.

  • And it makes moving house a nightmare!

  • All those boxes full of things you don't need.

  • Alice: Good point. I have a friend who suggested the three buckets system.

  • You sort things into three different buckets:

  • One you label as 'to keep', one as 'to get rid of', one as 'maybe to get rid of'.

  • Get rid of, by the way, means to remove something you don't want.

  • It's the 'maybe' bucket that's tricky, isn't it?

  • You never know if you might need something in the future.

  • Rob: Yes, it would need to be a big bucket too.

  • Alice: Yes, it would.

  • Rob: Well, l think we could all live better with less.

  • OK, well, let's have today's quiz question before we talk more about de-cluttering our lives:

  • So which word, Alice, means a belief that physical possessions

  • are the most important thing in life?

  • Is it... a) metaphysics? b) materialism?

  • Or c) existentialism?

  • Alice: Um...OK... I think it's b) materialism.

  • Rob: OK. Well, we'll find out if you got the answer right or wrong later on in the show.

  • Now let's listen to Bea Johnson,

  • author of Zero Waste Home

  • talking about how she and her family have adopted a minimalist

  • Or deliberately simple lifestyle in their California home.

  • Bea Johnson: We've really asked ourselves 'what is it that we really need?'

  • We've asked really true questions, and evaluated every single thing that we have.

  • There is nothing that we overlooked.

  • I even came to one day look at my vegetable peeler for example and asked myself,

  • 'Do I really need that vegetable peeler'?

  • Rob: So one day Bea Johnson decided to evaluate,

  • or to judge the importance of something, to see if she needed it.

  • Alice: She evaluated her vegetable peeler and decided to put it in the 'get rid of' bucket!

  • Rob: Yes, and to overlook something means not to see it.

  • Now, I don't blame Bea at all because I don't like peeling vegetables either.

  • And you could actually get the benefit of the vitamins and minerals by eating the skins.

  • Alice: Very healthy, Rob!

  • Rob: We can really live with fewer things.

  • But some people can't help looking for the latest version of something or go for designer goods.

  • Writer and journalist James Wallman warns us about this.

  • He wonders how much stuff is too much.

  • James Wallman: This thing about need is such a dangerous term because what do you need?

  • And I'm not anti-stuff ... stuff is good.

  • I'm anti too much stuff and I'm anti the wrong stuff.

  • Don't go out and buy that labelled good

  • that you think is going to make people think somethingmore of you.

  • That's not going to make you happy.

  • Rob: James Wallman there. Now, Alice, do you buy labelled goods?

  • Alice: I'm afraid I do.

  • And labelled goods or products are the ones with a famous brand name, like Gucci, Dior, Prada etc.

  • But I do think James Wallman is right.

  • Buying things just because other people have them, for example, doesn't make us happy.

  • Rob: Yeah, that's true, but as he says, not everything is the wrong stuff.

  • For example, I'm very fond of my large schoolboy collection of superhero comics.

  • I might not need them, but they make me happy.

  • So what stuff makes you happy, Alice?

  • Alice: Oh, well, I like my music CDs and my books.

  • Even though I've got the music on an mp3 player and I don't often pull a book out from the bookcase.

  • Rob: They have sentimental value, don't they?

  • Alice: Yes.

  • Rob: And that means the importance of something because of a personal

  • or emotional feeling that we attach to it.

  • Well, I sold all my music CDs online ages ago.

  • Alice: That sounds like the sensible thing to do.

  • OK, I think it's time for the answer to today's quiz question, Rob.

  • Rob: Yes, I asked you:

  • Which word means a belief that physical possessions are the most important thing in life?

  • Is it... a) metaphysics, b) materialism or c) existentialism?

  • Alice: I said b) materialism.

  • Rob: And you were right, Alice! Well done!

  • The answer is indeed b) materialism.

  • This is the word used to refer to a desire

  • for material things and wealth and little or no interest in ethical values.

  • Now, can we hear the words we learned today please, Alice?

  • Alice: Yes, of course. They are:

  • spring-cleaning

  • out of hand

  • clutter

  • get rid of

  • materialism

  • minimalist

  • evaluate

  • overlook

  • labelled

  • sentimental value

  • Rob: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English. Don't forget to join us again soon!

  • Both: Bye.

Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

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A2 UK alice rob materialism bea stuff rid

BBC 6 Minute English May 12, 2016 - Have you got too much stuff?

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    Adam Huang posted on 2016/05/13
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