No Shopping Report #9 - final

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At the end of last year, I decided to try not buying anything except consumables for the whole of 2009. It was a pie-in-the-sky project with vague rules and no real consequences or penalties for failure. I blogged my progress and this is the final report.

The first few months sailed by smoothly. I restricted and restrained myself for about half a year without too much pain. I kept a wish list of things I wanted to buy but wouldn't. I retrained myself to not shop as a waiting game. The plastic smell of shops became unpleasant. My main failures were supplies - fabrics and hoop tubing - and gifts for friends and family.

When summer came, I gave in more easily to shopping temptations for myself. I bought some clothes and more fabric. Cosmetics sneaked into the house and so did a new pair of sneakers to support my sprained foot. I stopped keeping my journal in August. Autumn arrived with flurry of buying for Spin Matsuri, partially materials for the event itself and partially costumes for me. Our trip to Thailand and Singapore saw purchases of books and clothing. I replaced my filled up sketchbook with a new one. I bought an old, used telephone that I have wanted for years. And in the last month, I have caved in to the point that I bought all of my Christmas gifts and not many of them were consumables.

Shopping is a slippery slope. It is hard to put the brakes on and so very easy to get rolling again. Here is my scorecard, based on the original goals I stated last December.

No accumulation of things
Partial success. I ended up with more hoop costumes, hoops, makeup, and clothes than I started with but most of the durable goods I purchased were given away as gifts.
Purchase only consumables
Fail. See above.
Become mindful of my consumption
Success. However, consciousness and conscientiousness slipped later in the year.
Exercise creativity by repurposing what I already have
Partial success. I had a few good moments, like the shoe clips in May, but I found this surprisingly difficult.
improve skills in repair, maintenance, & construction
Partial success. Though I did repair and maintain things, I didn't do so with new or improved skills.
Build networks through bartering and trade
Partial success. I bartered and traded with friends as I always do, but did not build new networks.
Reduce my "ecological footprint" by decreasing waste and increasing the life of my things
Partial success. As an example, I eked another year out of our 12 year old mattress and put the 5 year old computer in for repair instead of replacing it.
Refocus my desires to more meaningful things, rather than an LED hula hoop
Fail. I still want hula hoops. They are meaningful to me.

3 Comments

You tried to do 8 things in the last December, and the scores of most of them are "partial success." It means you improved yourself this year. Wonderful. Now I'm thinking what kind of thins I will try to improve, start or re-start.

Good job. I don't think I'd mark you as "failed" on the last goal. You've succeeded in verifying what things are meaningful to you. Perhaps to others an LED hula hoop is frivolous and you feel the need to justify it to them and then to yourself. But after weighing your choices you know what really makes you happy. You don't need to rationalized the things that make you happy. What's important, I think, is the move to conscious buying rather than just buying something out of the habit of consumerism.

Re: bartering & trading. Do you know of freecycle?

When my son needs a larger size of cleats or when an appliance breaks, etc. I now email 'freecycle Vancouver' before going to a store. I see there's a group in Tokyo with 1,422 Members.

Just today, we packaged up our old speaker system & dot matrix printer for a new freecycle home.

It's especially fun for networking when you later meet the people again in another context that you either gave something to or received something from.

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