I have an exciting new project to share with you today, something I have been considering doing for quite some time but haven’t been 100% sure about committing to before now. Friends, as of this weekend I’ll be conducting a little experiment, the subject of said experiment being yours truly. I’ll be forbidding myself from buying anything new for one whole year, and I can’t wait to get started!
Since welcoming minimalism into my life, I’ve also been inspired by the energetic and ever-growing community out there committed to the goal of generating zero waste, and I feel this project is the perfect marriage between these two philosophies (which have so much in common with one another and overlap in many areas as it is). For me, buying nothing new for a year will be about living out my values of simplicity and sustainability in a tangible way. It will be a time of living more intentionally and less impulsively. It will encourage me to leave the stuff behind and enjoy the little things. It will force me to wean myself off the convenience of around-the-clock access to cheap, mass-produced commodities which have been manufactured in a way that is neither sustainable nor ethical. It will be about saying no to the endless linear model of conspicuous consumption and yes to a more sustainable circular economy.
So, how will I go about this? Here is a list of things I cannot purchase new for a year:
- Any other miscellaneous items not covered by these categories which are not essential
Of course, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Here are the things I can purchase new:
- Food and consumable health-related products
- Medicine, if necessary
- Essential household items (dishwashing liquid, toilet paper etc.)
- Bathroom/personal care products (although I am trying to cut down on these as much as possible by going without unnecessary products and DIY-ing as much as I can)
- Underwear (although I think I am ok on this front for a while)
- Petrol (but as little as possible!)
So, will it be hard? Maybe. Will it be easy? Maybe. Will it be a bit of both? I suspect so. Having said that, I think all in all this experiment won’t be too much of a shock to our household. Recently we have been very conscious about the purchases we have been making anyway. There are a number of items we have intentionally purchased secondhand in the recent past, as well as some purchases we have avoided altogether by getting creative with what we had on hand or by simply deciding to go without.
The other day, for example, our washing machine (which was already secondhand) died on us, and after a quick search online we were excited to find a local technician who repairs and resells used washing machines. We purchased a replacement off him that would have otherwise been destined for landfill and we dropped our broken one off at his workshop, which he will either repair and resell or use for parts. Then there was the towel that was fraying on one edge which I took to the alterations shop for a quick touch-up. Now it’s like new again, and I am happy to have supported a local small business in the process. As for clothes, when we need them we already buy secondhand wherever possible, and we are no strangers to Gumtree (or just the side of the road!) when it comes to sourcing pre-loved furniture and other household items. We have also moved away as much as we possibly can from single-use and disposable items, so we are well-equipped with the knowledge and physical resources to continue to live sustainably in this regard.
On the other hand, I know the project is bound to have its challenges. I don’t know what it is yet, but there will be that little something I will desperately want but will not be able to buy due to my commitment to seeing the project through until the end. I also think things may become interesting later in the year since we’re getting married in July, but I think that will make the experience all the more enriching in the end. Whatever happens, I know at the end of the process I will have gained invaluable knowledge and experience, and hopefully some new skills, too.
Well, let’s get this show on the road. I will be sharing on the blog the joys and challenges I encounter, so be sure to stay tuned!
Do you think you could handle going without anything new for a year? Do you think it’s feasible or am I likely to go insane? I would love to know what you think!