In the first year of The Simple Year, Kerry and her family didn’t buy anything new for a year. When their year ended, they passed The Simple Year Blog off to another family embarking on a Simple Year.
Here is what Kerry had to say when starting their project:
Our family is going to spend the next year buying no new things.
There, I have said it, committed it to paper, uh, pixels and posted it on the web. I can’t back down now. To do so would be public failure and embarrassment which, as you probably know, is much different than private failure. I do that all the time, private failure I mean. I routinely don’t lose ten pounds and year after year don’t learn a second language.
So, back to the topic at hand, I should probably lead with the fact that I think we are a pretty normal middle class family. (My kids are above average, but aren’t everyone’s?) We aren’t SUPER consumers like you see on reality TV shows and we aren’t crazy minimalists like you see on reality TV shows. Actually, no one would probably ever give us a reality TV show since “Mommy Loves Wine” and “Kids Have Too Many Activities” are probably not interesting enough. If we need something (or want something) we generally have the means to buy it, so we do. We also buy quite a few things we don’t need and didn’t know we wanted. I cannot be the only one that routinely goes to Target for dental floss and a mop and comes home with $135 worth of stuff.
In any case, beginning on April 24, 2012, our family will begin this adventure. The significance of this date is that my husband, Chris will board a military transport for some hot dusty country on the other side of the world for six months to a year. I would give you more information about this, but it’s a matter of national security. And by matter of national security, I mean really too boring to detail here. Since there is nothing over there for him to buy, his circumstances will force his participation in my little adventure. It works for me.
As I mentioned before, we are pretty middle of the road, but we buy lots of stuff. Now, there are some that would argue that this is creating a robust economy. But to overuse a phrase even further, I really would like to have a smaller footprint, leave less broken pink plastic toys in landfills. Plus, my two kids (ages 8 and 6) really have never wanted for anything. We certainly don’t give them everything they ask for, but they don’t quite understand how lucky they are to ALWAYS have everything they need and MANY TIMES have everything they want. Perhaps this will be a good lesson, probably for all of us.
So the goal for this year long experiment is to live simply. The goal is not to do without, I’ll still buy consumables (I just couldn’t figure out how to live without food, toilet paper and hair color), and we can buy things that are used or repurposed. Rather than buy replacements for broken or worn items, I’m going to attempt to repair.
I believe that we can live simply, and ultimately not feel deprived. At this point, no one else in my family quite agrees. This blog documents the journey in a (hopefully) entertaining and (maybe) informative fashion.
And so it begins…
Final Update: We have finished our year but will continue many of the practices we made habit last year. Our project was largely successful although, like life, it had its ups and downs. To read more about it, you can start here.
Currently Kandice and her family have taken the baton and are working on their Simple Year. It is our hope that The Simple Year will become a Simple Living Project blog that rotates each year.