The first few months were plain sailing. Thinking myself an experienced veteran of the buy nothing movement, I found it quite easy at the beginning of the year. Then my little car broke down and was irreparable, forcing me to make a choice – whether a replacement car counted as stuff or not. In the end I opted to buy another car – you can read about my decision here.
I don’t know whether that act of purchase opened a door in my mind, but from that point, everything seemed just that little bit harder.
I think it was the effects of being a bit ill last year that made me feel like the whole thing was just an uphill struggle. I was searching for something, anything, that would help me feel normal again. That crutch was coming back to haunt me. Coupled with the fact that I work in a charity warehouse, surrounded by anything you could ever dream of, at really, really cheap prices… I was battling against that consumer pull. The beginning of the year seemed very, very far away. I ended up buying a few things in a mad spending spree, and from that moment, 10 months in, decided to relax my strict rules a little. I got myself some winter jumpers, as I’d put on so much weight being poorly, I no longer fitted in my vac-bag winter closet. I bought everything second hand from my charity shop, and felt like a pressure had been lifted.
So I coasted the final 2 months feeling a little better. I allowed myself to buy a couple of things and not to feel bad about it. I bought things I needed – a few more items of second hand clothing, a pair of used boots, a scarf. I decluttered the entire kitchen and donated 3 binbags and 2 big boxes and felt a lot better. I got diagnosed and now feel like a different person.
I wouldn’t look back on it as a failure. In fact, I feel like I’ve grown and changed more than any other year. learnt more, experienced more, and appreciate what I’ve got at a whole new level. I loved the freedom from consumerism of the first months, and am hoping to carry that forward on a smaller scale.
And so, into next year. I’ve finally managed to replace my cosmetic/beauty products and dramatically cut down on the different products I use. I’m hoping to update my wardrobe with nice, ethically made neutrals and maybe give project 333 a go. We’re planning to make a lot of stuff out of pallets. I want to continue along this vein, reducing, recycling, buying only what I truly need, and hopefully getting everything used or second hand. We’re off adventuring in our little adventure van, Art, once we get round to building the bed/benches/storage to go in the back. And I’m really looking forward to making 2016 a year of less pressure and more adventure.
So, I would still totally recommend buying nothing, or reducing the amount you buy. Even for a week, for a month. The questions it throws up, the things you learn…the freedom you experience. Don’t look upon it as a success/failure thing. Just view it as an adventure, as an experiment, and treasure the knowledge you gain as a result.