Six months of non-consumption
We're already more than half way through the year. And that means we're half way through my year of non-consumption. I thought it was about time for a progress report and for me to confess my transgressions and celebrate my achievements.
I made a new year's resolution to buy nothing new for the whole of 2018. The rules I set myself were inspired by the buyerachy of needs.
Use things I already have, repair things, borrow things, swap things, make things, buy pre-loved things, so as not to contribute to resource consumption and to actively fight against waste. Only buy new things as a last resort.
So how has it been going?
In general the first six months of not shopping has been easier than I thought it would. It's also been a lot of fun. There have been a few challenges. And I haven't been perfect. But... I have managed not to buy any clothes, shoes or furniture. I have swapped clothes, bought second hand shoes, upcycled preloved furniture, and repaired clothes to avoid buying new. And I've had a lot of fun doing it. Take a look at some of my hard work!
Time to confess. I have bought some things during these six months .
(I.e. food, toiletries & cosmetics.)
These are pretty tough to do without entirely but what I have tried to do is always to "shop" from what I already have first. At the start of the year I gathered and inventoried the supplies I already had at home. When I needed something new, I "shopped" my supplies first. Nine times out of ten, I've been able to avoid buying new cosmetics and toiletries by using what I already have.
I've worked hard to be creative when giving gifts this year. I have regifted, made gifts and cards, and given experiences instead of physical gifts whenever I felt that the recipient would be open to receiving that kind of gift. And there have only been a couple of times when I didn't think they would appreciate it.
Kids' clothes and shoes
This has been one of the most challenging areas for me so far. Kids grow. They need new clothes and shoes when their old stuff gets too small and it's pretty tough to make them wait. I have found some great preloved clothes but haven't had much luck finding second hand shoes. But I'm getting better. I'm discovering more second-hand stores and I'm trying to be better at asking friends for hand-me-downs.
There have been a few other small purchases, like emergency hair ties, paper plates for a birthday party, and postcards I bought without thinking when I was on holiday. But the more time I spend on this journey, the more practice I get at not buying stuff. And the more I learn about making smart choices for those rare occasions when I do buy something new. For example, buying soap and shampoo in bars instead of plastic bottles, generates much less waste and the bars last longer too!
When I feel like I'm doing badly, I remind myself that the point of this new year's resolution was not to change a lifetime of learned behaviours overnight but to practice new habits and to change slowly. I am learning to appreciate the things I have and how to make them last longer. I am developing my knowledge about how to consume in more sustainable ways. And I am meeting a bunch of really smart people who have brilliant ideas about sustainability and are kind enough to share them with me!