Buy Nothing New for a Year

Image from here
On February 1, 2011 our family committed to Buying Nothing New for a year.

It has been an interesting challenge.

In February, after umming and ahhing over the challenge, we decided to take the plunge. Although we do not consider ourselves to be 'shoppers', we noticed that all the little things we buy (often to 'reward' the kids at the shops) can no longer happen. A new purchasing question was added to our already abundant list - do we actually need this? A can of worms was opened.

By March, the little issue of getting presents started to become a problem. Just because we can't buy anything, does that mean our friends and family have to have dud presents from us for a year? I also embarked on the Six Items or Less challenge, just to keep things interesting.

In April, I wrapped up the six items challenge. My stash of bathroom and laundry products was beginning to run low so I turned my hand to some home-made cleansers as well as shampoo/conditioner and washing powder. Making chemical-free stuff has become addictive and as we run out of store-bought products we are now replacing them with environmentally friendlier, hand-made products. I promise to share the recipes as I find them.

The no-plastic bag challenge stemmed from my observed habit of leaving my enviro bags at home too often. In the time before the Buy Nothing New for a year days, I usually bought a new enviro bag to avoid plastic. But I can't now (and I have a glut anyway). So the whole month of May was dedicated to bringing no new plastic bags into the house. We ended with a tally of six, so not bad. On the downside, we made a couple of purchases (one for my birthday!) and had to really recommit to the challenge again.

After my failings in May, June was all about making my own gifts. It was creative and fun! I still had some slip ups but I tackled the self-imposed psychological issue that making something for someone 'isn't enough'. It is. I also focused on going paperless.

July was a bit unfocussed. I started tracking 'green waste' and realised that August needed to be about eliminating and/or reusing green waste. The Geege went on a spending spree for the Oxfam Trailwalker and I over-compensated on a jumper for Nugget.

The next six months must be about extending my repertoire in the area of gift making, improving my op-shopping as well as learning to buy some bigger-ticket items second hand (e.g. we need new blinds! And a trampoline for the kids!)

Here is a list of things that we have bought in our quest to Buy Nothing New for a Year. Check the usual exemptions here:

February: Hand made clips ($15)

March: IB T-shirt ($50); School socks for Nugget ($8)

April: Wedding gift ($90); Noah's birthday gifts (mostly Lego) = $150; Lego Club membership ($20)

May: Rockclimbing shoes (Geege) ($100); IB running shorts (Geege) ($50); 2x children's gifts (approx $30)

June: 1x three pack of dolls outfits (for a present) ($15)

July: Nugget jumper ($50); Fivefingers and hydration pack ($170);  Donna Hay Children's mag ($8); Harry Potter newspaper giveaway ($30)

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