consumerism · nothing new project


Well, I’m one month into the Nothing New Project and I’m pleased to report that everything is travelling along very smoothly! I first posted about the project here, vowing to not purchase anything new (other than food, medicine, essential household items, personal care products, underwear and petrol) until February 2018. These past weeks have felt incredibly easy to get through, because frankly, I haven’t really needed much. I have no doubt I’ll be able to do that eleven more times. Easy!

So let me give you an update on what has been going on since I started the project…

The Reactions

These have been unanimously positive, which has been very encouraging for me. Mr Simple Life Experiment, as a fellow minimalist and naturally very frugal person, is completely on board with the project, which has definitely been a huge factor making the process feel very easy. My colleagues have been intrigued and have offered their help if I ever need to borrow anything. My Mum was supportive of the project but a little hesitant, and wondered what she would bring as a gift when she came to visit. Of course, I assured her that no gifts would be necessary, but she kindly ended up bringing us some castille soap, raw chocolate (with a compostable wrapper no less!) and natural toothpaste from the local health food store as gifts when she stayed at our place last weekend. Yay!


Since going minimalist, one of my biggest challenges has been downsizing my wardrobe. I guess you could say it’s my weakness. In the last two years I have dramatically decreased the quantity of clothes that I own, focussing on retaining only pieces that I love and that are useful, but interestingly, Nothing New has actually allowed me to uncover some acquisitiveness in this area that I didn’t know was still lingering. It was only once I cut myself off from shopping that I realised I had still been going into clothing stores every once in a while ‘just to have a look’, even though I knew I didn’t need anything and that the likelihood of those clothes being made ethically was next to nothing. Now that I am conscious of what I had been feeling, I can proceed with confidence, knowing that what I already have is enough and when I do need something, that I can easily source it secondhand.

I found this cute pinafore dress recently on an op shopping adventure!

Then there was the prospect of finding a dress for our upcoming wedding in France in July, a task that felt overwhelming because of all the hype (and impulse to consume) the wedding industry has generated. I never intended to buy something expensive or traditional, but when I committed to the project I was actually relieved knowing that my options had instantly been narrowed down. I was searching on Gumtree for evening dresses, and stumbled across this one. I went to the seller’s house to try it on and it fit like a glove, and the lovely lady (who had only ever worn it once) was over the moon that it would be my wedding dress. Total cost? $40. Uh-huh!


It is a little difficult to see the detailing on the dress here from my crappy smartphone photos, but I was way too paranoid to put it on and take a proper photo for fear of ripping the delicate material, popping off a bead or staining it with sweat. I will post some photos after the wedding though, of course! 🙂

We will also be having a second, smaller wedding here in Brisbane a few weeks after the first ceremony, but I have decided to just pick out something from my existing wardrobe for that one. It will be the middle of winter here and the mood will be very casual, so I’m thinking a simple A-line dress paired with a tailored jacket for warmth might go down well.

The Umbrella

This is one item I am really hoping will see the year through! I use my black umbrella every day for sun protection when I walk to and from the train station, and since the route I take is always very windy, and the umbrella was already secondhand when I bought it, the poor thing has already had to undergo a number of duct tape repairs.

Hang in there buddy!


Is it just me or are pens one of those things that seem to just materialise from thin air? I don’t remember having ever actually walked into a store and bought a pen. Now I know why – they’re everywhere! In the short space of a month, I’ve found one pen and two pencils on the sidewalk, and considering I wouldn’t go through anywhere near that many writing implements in a month, I’m beginning to think that including stationery in my ‘nothing new’ list was quite reasonable! Oh, and I found a perfectly good hand towel in the gutter the other day, too. How strange, but also how useful since Mr SLE donated a heap of ours last year and we now tend to run a little low on them!


The 2018 Diary

This is one I have been mulling over. What will I do about a 2018 diary? Unfortunately this piece of stationery will not be so easy to just pick up off the side of the road! Obviously I’m not in need of a diary yet, but it has occurred to me that I’ll need to have a good think about this one towards the end of this year. I’m currently considering how I might make one using upcycled materials. The other option is to wait it out and see if I can source one off Gumtree in January or February from someone who might have ended up with two, but the risk would be not finding one and ending up having to throw together a DIY diary in a big rush or else live a completely disorganised life for months on end!

The Wish List

One thing I am loving about the project is that it is weaning me off the rush of instant gratification. Obtaining something is just so much more onerous when you can’t buy it new at the time, place and price that happen to be convenient, and it is really putting into perspective how vastly wants differ from needs. Unfortunately in a society driven by conspicuous consumption, our wants and needs have become one and the same. To maintain my adjusted perspective, I’ve started a wish list of items that, in the long-term, I would like to buy. I like that this will allow me to see how urgent (or not) any potential purchases are. If an item stays on my wish list for a long period of time, it will really prompt me to revisit how badly I need that item. If I don’t own something right at this moment and am still functioning on a day-to-day basis, chances are I never needed it in the first place.

Currently on my wish list are:

  • A black button-up vest (for work as the weather cools down)
  • A salad spinner (enough with the soggy salad already!)
  • Long pyjama bottoms (since my current ‘pyjamas’ are Mr SLE’s old t-shirts worn as nighties and the nights are slowly cooling down..)

None of these are urgent, but if I come across any of them at an op shop at a reasonable price, I’ll grab them.

Well, I’m feeling excited about moving into my second month of the project. Thank you for following along with me – I will keep you updated!



  1. I can’t believe you found a wedding dress secondhand! That’s so awesome! I think the wedding industry is one of the most out of control consumption industries- and I’ve never understood spending thousands on a dress you would wear once. That’s a serious minimalist win for you!


    1. I know right?! It’s interesting, every single married female friend/colleague I have talked to about my secondhand wedding dress so far has commented that in retrospect they wish they had chosen something a lot simpler, both in terms of appearance and cost. What that tells me is that many women are choosing extravagant and expensive dresses not because they want to but because they feel they ‘should’, just because it’s the done thing. Very sad!

      Liked by 1 person

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