During the 20th century the cultural and economic value of products dramatically changed as the availability and affordability of mass-produced, low cost goods increased in the marketplace (Walker, 2006). We buy things that end up never used, we store objects that are never needed, find the extra storage space for the object that doesn't fit in our house. Most of the things we own just sit there gathering dust, eventually to be thrown away although they are still perfectly functional. The exploration of ways to let go of objects has important implications beyond the conventional interpretation of object-user detachment. To care for one's possessions is as much about maintaining and repairing objects to keep as it is about letting objects go to a good home. In this sense, carative factors are a useful way to address ways of object-user detachment and help to promote re-use and repair to sustain and extend product lifespan.
This paper explores how the carative factors can be used to inspire and stimulate designers to explore ideas, and enable new ways to approach problems of attachment and consumption, and drive creative solutions that encourage letting go. A set of characteristic factors are presented in card format, serving as a stimulus toolkit and tested through a workshop and live design projects. The findings, potential benefits of the toolkit and effects on products lifespan will be further discussed.
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