The last couple New Years I’ve picked something to focus on for a month. There was dry January (no booze), 100% strict vegan January (had been vegetarian for years already. Dr. P never ate meat again after this month!), and last year was just-deal-with-pregnancy-nausea January (that was enough!).
This year, I’m doing at least a month of not buying anything new.
I’m big on sustainability- it’s one of the major reasons I abstain from meat- and our western manic consumerism has become too much for me to ignore. I also feel like I’m drowning in my belongings! We live in the city so our space is limited as it is, and OY! have I been annoyed with our clutter.
The exploding coat closet, the loads of stuff falling from our storage area shelves (a small room in our basement with a tiny door that we affectionately call the “hobbit hole”), and the amount of time I am spending just moving my belongings around has been driving me bonkers!
We need to de-own and de-clutter. And this also means we need a moratorium on buying material goods.
So I made a decision. And I’m dragging Dr. P along with me. No more stuff.
If we need something, we must be creative by finding new meaning in what we already own or ask a friend to borrow it.
Buy Nothing New Rules:
- We can buy essentials (hygiene and food), but they have to be essential not desired like makeup I don’t actually need
- We can spend money on activities but should look for something creative, free and fun first
- We should limit eating out in favor of cooking at home, but can spend money out if it is social or our weekly date
- If there is a need to buy something new, it needs to be only in the face of exhausting all other options (using something we own or borrowing or going without not being options)
So far, it’s actually exhilarating! And hilarious.
Throughout my day, I keep noticing how much I think, “Oh, I’ll have to get (fill in the blank)”. The Athleta sale flyer, a cool looking running pant I see on someone at the gym, or a special hat for baby bee spark automatic thoughts about need- when I can get to the store or if I would buy online.
Now that I cannot, absolutely will not buy anything unnecessary and material this month, I am naturally more mindful about my thought patterns.
We have a crazy high number of automatic thoughts about everything- our eating and activity, our relationships, our body image- and I know that I don’t always realize what I’m consistently telling myself or the neurological patterns I’m setting. This month will certainly help me to evaluate my habits, how I do or do not appreciate my belongings, and how much I value my time.
Dr. P and I also sat down and redid our budget as part of this exercise. We are going to try to be more intentional with the money we do spend so we can save for larger purchases to enrich our lives- like vacations and activities. We are also going to be more cautious about our food waste. I’m excited to see what this month will show me.
On another note, I accidently stumbled on a new strategy to get your partner to do your chores for you (evil laughter breaks out).
I know offering two choices to toddlers empowers them (“Would you like peanut butter and jelly or mac and cheese for dinner?”) and makes it easier for the parent, but I didn’t realize it would be effective with husbands too! How did it take me so long?
So yesterday before dinner, I asked Dr. P if he wanted to change baby bee’s diaper or do the pre-dinner dishes. Happily, he said diaper, please. Later I inquired, “Do you want to put the Bee to bed or put the soup away and wash the pot?” I usually change diapers and do the dishes automatically so he looked at me quizzically and chuckled, “What is this? Choose your own adventure dad edition?”
I put her to bed, and he cleaned the pot. Like a charm.