How to buy nothing for a year

buying nothing for a year

Minimalism and Buying Nothing Archives

One Empty Shelf began as a minimalism blog, although nowadays it’s morphed into something a little more. I thought I’d keep the posts up in the Minimalism and Buying Nothing Archives- you’ll find links to most of it right here.

I completed two separate years of buying nothing, back in 2012 and again in 2015, which continue to be some of the most-viewed posts on the site! For ease of reading, I’ve popped the links to all of the posts here on this page, along with some of the most viewed posts covering minimalism and simple living.

Writing this introduction at the end of 2018, the posts bring a lot of memories to the surface. I’ve changed so much – but my years of buying nothing were a huge contributor to the person I am today. They were important in ways I couldn’t see at the time – but now hindsight makes those lessons obvious. Consumerism as a crutch, an escape route. A need to feel in control of something in life. A side gate out of the rat race that was making me miserable.

Back in 2012 I was shiny new to the concept of minimalism. It was the answer to everything that I thought was wrong with the world. Repeating the experiment in 2015 was a last ditch attempt to gain back some control over life and the way things were heading. Here, in the ‘future’, I can see how important going through the process was. Although I’ve relaxed somewhat, the main discoveries still ring true. Buying local. An aversion to advertising. Feeling overwhelmed by over-consumption. Becoming aware of the reason behind over-spending.

Buying nothing was not an easy journey – but sticking with it threw up some of the biggest questions about myself and my understanding of the world I’ve had to confront myself with. Finding the answers to these questions over the intervening years has been one of the wildest rides. Not all good, but all so important.

Thinking of buying nothing for a year? I thoroughly recommend it.

2012: One Empty Wallet Round 1

Everything started in 2012 with my first go at an entire year of buying nothing. I posted about it on my first ‘blogger’ website, and have since condensed the posts into two halves here for now – the plan is to redo each as separate posts again for ease of reading – something I’m sure I’ll get round to soon!

Part 1-The first 6 months

Part 2-The second half of 2012 and summary

I haven’t been shopping…The Aftermath

2015: One Empty Wallet Round 2

Back in 2012 I bought nothing for a year as an experiment. Inspired by The Minimalists, I wanted to see if I could complete the challenge of going about my normal life, just without consuming so much stuff.

I am proud to say I managed to complete the whole year in 2012 only buying consumables and toiletries. That year I quit my high pressure management job and a lot changed for me.

Since 2012 my ‘self’ and my mindset changed a lot and I was ready to dive in once again. So 2015 brought on One Empty Wallet round 2. That time around I was interested to see how my spending would change since the first time around, and if I could still exist without the crutch of consuming now I was living a much improved, more minimal lifestyle…

One Empty Wallet 2015: Why I’m repeating my year of buying nothing

One Empty Wallet 2015: Deciding what to keep

One Empty Wallet 2015: Ground Rules

One Empty Wallet 2015: So, I bought a car…when buying nothing gets hard

One Empty Wallet 2015: The Hurdles and Turning a Corner

One Empty Wallet 2015: Why buying nothing will change your life

#BuyNothing2015: Halfway

One Empty Wallet 2015: Falling off the wagon

Buy Nothing 2015: The Roundup

General Minimalism Posts

Some posts I wrote about simplicity and minimalism a few years back…

How to make your friends into Minimalists

Stop buying stuff

How to consume as a Minimalist

Application of Minimalism

What does a Minimalist do?


Book Shelf Club


15 thoughts on “How to buy nothing for a year

  1. I too am embarking on a ‘no-buy’ journey this year – lovely to find your blog. I have encountered many people buying ‘nothing-new’ but not many who are buying nothing at all, so suddenly I don’t feel quite so alone!

    1. Yey! Hope your no-buy adventure is going well, I like the idea of buying nothing ‘new’ but I found I just bought double the amount as it was better value! Not good. I love the zen of buying nothing. It takes a few weeks to settle into it but then…wow. It’s like a whole new world.

      Your post about the gift of nothing is absolutely wonderful Em. It perfectly captures the reason behind buying nothing-not for the challenge, but for the positive impact on your world, your family, your path. Beautiful.

      If anyone else wants to read it, you can find it here:
      🙂 Sal

  2. I did the buy nothing for a year thing in 2010, and I’m doing it again for a year starting on buy nothing day. I will still pay for food, utilities, housing, transport and education, and that’s it… Hope your year went well…

  3. Love your website! I bought nothing in 2016, and plan to do it again in 2018. Also planning a blog to talk about it. Its life changing!

  4. […] old fashion accountability. I read a couple of articles about buying nothing for a year on Forbes, One Empty Self, and the Guardian. I’d already embraced the concept of a few high-quality items vs. […]

Comments are closed.