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.