Alice spent the weekend doing some spring-cleaning.
1 Alice was trying to ___________________ in her wardrobe when hundreds of shoes fell on her head.
2 Alice likes to wear shoes that match ___________________ .
3 Alice suggests to Rob that he could ___________________ so that he had more space in his kitchen.
4 In Rob’s opinion, clutter makes it difficult to find things and makes ___________________ a nightmare.
5 Bea Johnson is the author of the book ___________________ .
6 Bob thinks he could get the benefits of the vitamins and minerals of vegetables by ___________________ .
7 James Wallman is against buying that ___________________ you think is going to make people think something more of you.
8 Rob is fond of his ___________________ of superhero comics.
Photo: BBC Learning English
Alice 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 organise 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. 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!
Rob Now, usually 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'. 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. 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.
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'?
Alice 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.
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 something more 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. 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?
Rob Well, I sold all my music CDs online ages ago.
Alice That sounds like the sensible thing to do.
1 tidy up / organize things
2 her outfit
3 recycle plastic bags
4 moving house
5 Zero Waste Home
6 eating the skins
7 labelled good
8 (large) schoolboy collection