Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Buy nothing new - more resolve than ever?

Image from here
So after five months of buying nothing new*, I am finding that I no longer long for new things. This challenge has really helped me thrive on the reduce, reuse, and recycle concept.

When something breaks, we fix it. Or we re-purpose it. Or we recycle it.

When we are invited out somewhere, instead of thinking "I need a new shirt", I think, "What have I got that will suit this occasion". After all I learnt during the six items or less challenge that no-one really notices what you wear anyway. I haven't even been to an op-shop for the last two months (the change of season has been surprisingly exciting this year - all those different clothes to wear!).

I did superbly well with making gifts this month too. Of the five gifts I needed to get, I made four of them (the other was only the other day and with the whole viral labyrinthitis thing going on, I was in no mood to create. But I did have a plan which I will now use for the next five year old girl I need to organise a present for!).

Being more creative with gifts has been surprisingly fun and has me a bit more enthusiastic about the Pay it Forward project that has been looming over my head for the past 6 months...

The funny thing about this lifestyle is that it has a snowballing effect. It makes you want to live more simply. It makes you want to declutter and get rid of all those things that you have 'just in case'. Just in case of what? It makes you want to connect more with the earth and buy locally and seasonally and with minimal packaging. I know. It surprises me too!

I used to be a 'Greenie'. An urban hippy I called myself when I wore nothing but op-shop clothes (mostly petticoats and crocheted skirts with stockings and Doc Marten's). I lost a lot of my environmental prowess when I had the kids and became more main-stream and suburban. This challenge has connected me back to that younger version of me who thought 'every little thing makes a difference'. Because it does.

So as I enter the sixth month of this challenge I feel more resolve than ever to make it through to the end. This is making me a better person. I can feel it.

How green are you? Pale or bright?

* I put together a page where I can tally the 'slip-ups' I have made around this challenge. Just to keep me more accountable and so you can see that 'nothing new' is a bit of a stretch really but we are certainly trying. x

22 comments:

therhythmmethod said...

I think this is so awesome and inspiring. When you become a mum, you become a 'super consumer': always on the look out for more clothes, sales, food for your family. The first few years of being a mum I felt like I spent most of my 'public' life at the shops, ear to the ground listening for news of the next sale. I seriously want to change this, and I'm following this with eagerness.
I'm a pale greenie, but I'm working on getting a bit more colour.

Cate said...

I'm only a pale green colour at the moment - with my biggest failure being having to be a palm oil consumer at the moment (so many gluten free products have it - but I'm such a newbie at the whole GF thing I'm sticking with it until I get the hang of it better so I don't make my daughter sick).
I'm pretty good on the clothes thing - especially for bub#3 she's a hand-me-down gal :-)
Oh and I know I'm getting a new phone soon and you can forget me turning *that* down!!
Yup pale pale, almost translucent green...
xxxCate

alliecat said...

Compared to you Ms Bright Green, I am quite pale, but you are my inspiration behind the handmade doll we gave as a gift on the weekend. In my past life I'd have bought a book or something to go with it, feeling like something I'd made alone wouldn't be enough. It is, in fact it is worth much more than anything I could have bought to go with it. So thanks!

Suzi said...

I really admire you for this! I will take up the challenge eventually too, maybe next year. I think I would struggle with things like shoes for the boys, they grow like weeds!

Salamander said...

I'm not bright green, nor pale green - somewhere in between, I think, with aspirations to increase the depth of my hue!! We unwittingly became "non-buyers" last year when both my husband and I lost our jobs on the same day. Six weeks before Christmas. I can honestly say the only gifts we gave last year were home-made. I didn't do any Christmas shopping whatsoever - it was the best Christmas I have had since I was a child. We simply can't afford to buy new things...so most of the time, we don't. Shoes are probably the only thing we don't put off. And you're right - after a while, you don't miss the new and shiny. I'm hatching an idea for a 'clothes swap' at our primary school...I'll let you know if it comes to fruition! xxx

Photographer Mum said...

you are truly inspiring! I am only pale green, but slowly getting a bit greener. I think I need to jump on the bandwagon and up the ante a bit, although, I now shop with green bags @ Aldi and the number of plastic bags in our house has dwindled a fair bit and I find myself saying no to plastic bags if I only have a few items picked up from the servo or something.
I have also learned (finally!) how to crochet and have made my first gift of a baby blanket which was a bit exciting. Thanks for the inspiration :)

Mrs BC said...

I am a bit deeper than celadon but not anywhere near emerald just yet. I have always been a bit 'do it yourself' but lately I have been yearning to become the anti consumer - I really do not want anything shiny & new. The idea of getting a big SUV like all the other mums repulses me, we are growing more & more veges & I have embraced op shop living (& even curb shopping) if I really need something new..I find your journey so inspiring.
Would love to see that page!
x

Maxabella said...

Transparent, really. But I do try a little bit with products and stuff. I look to you for inspiration!! x

Mrs Woog said...

Cool post. I agree that shopping from your wardrobe is great! We are a non clutter family here. I guess I am apple green x

Naturally Carol said...

I think the thing that made my heart sing about this post was not the colour green but how you were reconnecting with the same values that you had come to believe in when younger, still finding them worthwhile, kind of like finding some integrity there. I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say??

Diminishing Lucy said...

You rock. I am a kind of mid green (kelly green?).

I'm the worst kind - I am green when I am familair with how to be and if its convenient.

But to go all out and try new greenie challenges like you...I am a bit chicken...


xx

Aspiring Millionaire said...

I am not as green as I would like to be or used to be, but we are making a lot more changes here.

I have noticed a lot of it depends on who I am spending too much time with. I have green friends and I have shopaholic friends. I need to spend less time with the shopaholics! lol.

You are doing an amazing job. I take my hat off to you!

1000 Homes of Happiness said...

gorgeous post! Agree, we are always trying to reduce, re use and recyle. Such an important message to pass onto our little ones.

I hope you are on the mend, and the labyrinth (always makes me think of the fab movie beyond the labyrinth)thingy is on the mend. Sounds terribly painful.

Hugs xox

Kellie.

Hear Mum Roar said...

This is so fantastic to read! I'm not at a stage where I'd feel able to do this, but truly admire those who are doing it.

sascedar said...

this post and challenge you are undertaking speaks very loudly to me! I have just begun a challenge to give meaningful gifts for twelve months, being handmade, recycled etc. I am now going to read back on your blog for inspiration- thanks!

Mama of 2 boys said...

Good on you! I do enjoy reading about your savings plans and how they're going. Sounds like you've mastered the art beautifully. I try to do it in little ways, but I'd be on the paler side of green unfortunately. I try to reinvent and recycle most things, but there is so much more I could be doing :o/
You are inspirational though, so your posts will eventually sink in for me xo

Tricia said...

Loved reading about the effect of this challenge on you. I love challenges also. They can make life harder in the beginning – but I always find the lessons learnt make it all more than worthwhile. And breaking the challenge is part of the learning process. I imagine each time you broke your challenge it was far from mindless consumption. Looking forward to following the next 6 months.

Anonymous said...

I could have written exactly this myself. I took on the exact same challenge about a year ago after watching The Story of Stuff. Now it is just too easy really, though I'm a sucker for clothes so keeping me out of the op-shops is nigh on impossible! I had one slip up last christmas, I though I had been doing so well that I deserved a new pair of jeans. I gave them to my partner to give to me. I thought this was justifiable as I completely wear jeans to death, however every single time I wash them they come out worse for wear, once with what looked like bleach marks (I don't even own the stuff!), once slightly pink tinged, once with zinc cream all over them! Very frustrating considering I will pile all my op-shop purchases marked "dry clean only" in with everything else and they come out fine. I think the universe is telling me I was on the right track to begin with and shouldn't even bother buying new stuff. That's fine with me, while it was challenging to begin with, its a habit now and I've found when something becomes a habit it becomes so much easier to keep up.

Charis said...

Great post! I try to be green where possible but had a big slide in the last year & went a bit consumer crazy! Now however I'm about to be a student & will be working not quite full time hours so money will be tighter.. I think buying new will have to be restricted to art materials!

dixiebelle said...

Great post! Came over from Tricia's 'Inspiring reads'...

Green, hmmm, if we are talking 'eco', 'fair', 'aware', 'purposeful', 'simple living' and all those things, we are more like a rainbow! So many things we do as habit and don't even think of them as being 'green' anymore. A few that we are currently working on, like incorporating more SOLE food (Sustainable, Organic, Local, Ethical). Some that I *know* are not so green but we still do them, which is worse, but also sanity-saving! I used to try to be a 'purist' but all that got me was a guilt-induced headache... now I am happy with what we do, and that we are blessed with the opportunity to do it!

tinytearoom said...

this is a fabulous idea. before we got a mortgage I used by new clothing items every week. then we moved into our first home. We nearly choked when we saw all of the stuff that we threw out and all the stuff we had to pack. we are now more mindful about what we buy and how we use it.

itiseasytobegreen said...

Hi! this is so exciting and inspiring!
y husband and i also have been 'not buying new' for the last few years and have been blogging our experiences, trials and tribulations and successes www.itiseasytobegreen.wordpress.com emilyx

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