Today marks the 365th day of buying nothing new in our household. We did it; we managed to maintain a relatively normal and full life without weekly trips to the big box stores and late night online shopping sprees.
Well, for the most part we succeeded. There were a couple of small hiccups like the time I FORGOT and told the moderately unpleasant flight attendant I DID want to buy those $2 headphones, so I could watch some stupid movie about a foul mouthed talking teddy bear. So that purchase was worth it. I also bought the kids the $5 school mandated calendar that they have written in about twice this year and paid the bill for the “free” puzzle book my youngest sent away for. Then there was the pink tutu incident.
But, I’ve already mentioned all that.
So instead, let’s focus on the positive, and consider the thousands of items I didn’t buy.
The things that were most notably absent this year were the little things, like the “Nu Car” scented air freshener at the car wash, or the magazines in the grocery checkout lane, holiday sale merchandise marked down 80%, post-it notes, printer ink, play dough and scores of other tiny impulse items that had barely made a blip on my radar in previous years.
Those were the items that months after I started the project, I would still find myself absentmindedly reaching for in the retailer.
In any case, I struggled about what to write today since I feel like I am saying good-bye (but not forever) to so many friends.
I thought I might answer a few questions, (imagine me interviewing myself).
Me: Are you going back to your old consumer ways?
Other Me: Hell no.
Me: Do you care to expand upon that?
Other Me: First, I’d like to point out you are a terrible interviewer; you are not supposed to ask yes or no questions.
Me: Just answer the question.
Other Me: I think the benefits to reducing our consumption have outweighed all of the inconveniences. We have saved money, reduced our footprint a bit, learned to live with less and it really hasn’t been that big of a deal. I think there are some things that we will buy new, but for the most part we are going to continue with less purchasing. I’m going to make a concentrated effort to THINK before I BUY.
Me: Do you have any first purchases you are going to make?
Other Me: I’m going to buy grass seed and sunglasses. The grass seed is because the dog and the children haven’t been kind to the lawn in our rental home. Right now, we’d only need a homeless person on the porch and some boards over our windows to complete our abandoned house look.
I started the year with six or seven pair of sunglasses, I’m down to two wobbly scratched and less than fashionable pair. One is a giant dark pair with pointy sides and leopard print on the arms that give me a zombie Audrey Hepburn look. And, I have yet to find a decent pair of pre-owned sunglasses. They may be out there, but they have been eluding me.
My husband is going to buy tires for his car, because apparently the thought of skidding out of control in a rainstorm is distasteful to him.
Me: What did you learn?
Other Me: I learned that my kids are fine. They started off with their heels dug into the ground, but they quickly came around. I was worried I was “not being fair” to them. But, their life has not been diminished really and they don’t seem to be holding any grudges.
I also learned that habits can be changed. The act of not stopping by the mall or some big box store helped, but really after a few months, it became second nature to either do without or find things pre-owned.
I also discovered that often the things we think we really need aren’t that important after a bit of time.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE
If you are new here and would like to start from the beginning, here is my first post. You can work your way forward with those little blue arrows and the name of the next post on the top or bottom of the page.
Don’t unsubscribe, or unfriend me, this isn’t the last post on this site. (Or if you haven’t yet subscribed—What are you waiting for?) I plan on returning to blogging at some point as well as writing a book and will keep you updated here.
Also, as I have mentioned countless times, I am seeking a blogger to take over this blog for a year. Well, I am STILL LOOKING. This is a case where my busy schedule has collided with my tendency to procrastinate (plus, I’m looking for the PERFECT fit). If the HandOff page is still up on this site, that means I am still accepting submissions. In the meantime, there will be some guest posts.
Also, I would love to hear from you either below or from email. Since, so many bloggers ask leading “comment questions” at the end of their posts, I am assuming there is some sort of super secret blogger prize, like a set of ginzu knives, for the most comments.
I wouldn’t mind a set of knives…
So long—for now and thank-you for the support and making this year fun. It has been an honor.
–Kerry and family