A few days ago I was looking through online January sales for DVDs, and I wondered about how much more happy and fulfilled I feel when I add more material things to my life. Not much, if at all. And this reminded me of Robert Llewellyn buying nothing for a year (about 3/4 down in this article). So I googled it and found a different website all about ‘the movement’, and this has helped me develop my own guidelines for the project:
- Stick to the essentials: I will obviously continue to buy food, toiletries and other essentials. But I will make an effort to keep this to a minimum. I don’t buy a lot of toiletries anyway, and rarely waste food so this shouldn’t be too difficult. But I do want to make an effort to cut out excessive packaging, reducing food miles, and possibly growing my own. I’m not very green-fingered though so I don’t want to commit to this.
- Support local: I will try to support locally grown food, locally made toiletries, local suppliers, and small businesses.
- Carry reusable products: I will keep shopping bags and a travel mug in the car, so I’m not caught short when I’m out and about.
- Buy services and experiences: I will continue to spend money on enrichment and entertainment, but be aware of how much ‘new’ stuff they use to provide that service and their impact on the environment. Anything that makes use of local community spaces is OK. Haircuts are OK but not too often. Concerts, museums, etc. are all OK.
- Buy used: I want to keep what I buy to a minimum, but if there is anything I have to buy I will try to get it used instead. I’m already pretty good at this – love charity shops and ebay – but I could be better.
- Borrow or share: I will check if I can borrow items that I need in the short term, and also have items available for others to borrow.
Saying this, I do have a few conditions to attach:
- Bathroom: I have bought everything except the bath and tiles, and it would life much easier to have a shower installed and have the extra space in the spare room. The cheapest bath I can find is a new one, and this has been on my list for a year. So if I have the money I am OK with getting this sorted out.
- Shed: Another thing that has been on my list for a long while, and it is for the wellbeing of the horses. It also has the added benefits of not using bale wrap, saving money, and generating electricity.
- Gifts: I will try to stick to experiences instead of buying new material stuff for people, but I’ll just have to see how this goes.
- Christmas vouchers: I still have some vouchers to spend from Christmas and if they’ll expire I will spend them within the year.
- Amazon Prime: I haven’t decided yet whether this is classed as material stuff or a service. I don’t own the films and TV shows in my playlist, and I watch this more than my TV.
I will also use this time to try to get rid of stuff I don’t need, use or want. I’ve already turned my clothes hangers around so that I can really see what I don’t wear (and make an effort to go places in order to wear any favourites that are in danger of not being kept!). I’m going to get rid of gifts I’ve received once I’ve kept them for an appropriate length of time, which I guess is about 12 months, depending on who the gifter was. I’m going to go through all the stuff I hang on to and decide if I really need to keep it, if it is improving my life in any way. And I’m going to need to be quite ruthless as far as sentimental value goes.
Hopefully I will also use this time to get crafty again, with all the craft stuff, beads and material that is taking up space in the house.
And as a reminder of what our consumerist lifestyles lead to, here are some none-too-heart-warming photos. None of dead, suffering or misshapen animals though.