Here I am, halfway through my year of choosing not to buy new stuff wherever possible. You know what? I am so happy. I rarely go to the shops except for groceries. I reluctantly drag myself to the op-shop when I feel I want more things, but do you know what else? I do not need more stuff from Target. Ever. It's great.
Why not buy new? In a word, externalities. All of us who can access the intenet on an electronic device, are more or less the 1% of the world's population who benefit unfairly from the sweat, habitat destruction, pollution, ill health, exploitation and death of the 99% whose lives are degraded in some way so that we can have machines to wash our clothes and make our toast, and have access to cheap t-shirts and chocolate.
One day I woke up and the invisible wake of destruction that trails behind my trips to Target suddenly became unbearable, so I have started on a different path to providing for my needs and wants, and those of my lovely children, dog, two cats and two budgies.
Here are my guidelines:
1 Make do with what I have.
2 Try to find what I need second hand - there is a world of stuff out there that needs to be rescued and used again.
3 Buy from a local craftsperson.
4 As a last resort, buy from a local, independent store, so that at least my money stays in my community.
So how did I go in June and July?
Bought new: One watch battery for The Girl. Oh yes. That is all. This makes me very happy.
Bought second hand:
One oldey-timey glass measuring jug. "But Jo," I hear you say, "Surely you already have a measuring jug?" Never fear, see below.
One beautiful blue and cream wool blanket.
One small ceramic pot for my bedside table. Turns out 'lepeltjes' is Dutch for 'spoons'.
And I really needed a small spoon pot, so it just goes to show...
And for some reason we keep breaking bowls. Not plates or mugs or glasses, just bowls. So I have been collecting new ones when I see them. Blue and white.
One week The Girl was a bit stressed and overwhelmed with work, and thought that she might feel better if she had her own egg cup. Preferably one with cute ducks. I said I would see what I could do. Well, sometimes I am just the most amazing mother! (note the duck's feet seem to be on backwards..)
My mum and dad came to visit, and Mum and I went op-shopping and I found this nice hippy-librarian cardi that I wear to work with a tweed skirt, also from the op-shop. I really do have an inner-librarian who needs her day in the sun every so often (which is all good. I adore librarians).
I also bought Rosy a top from the op-shop, which she loves so much she hasn't even tried it on yet! If she doesn't show any interest, I will annexe it for myself. I was only being nice in offering it to her first anyway..
Gifts from the Universe: Mum and dad brought with them a collection of china from my grannies, who are no longer with us:( But I now have some of their beautiful china and I think of them every time I use it.
This beautiful pumpkin-and-cabbage-leaf plate from Grandma Hazel that now graces my living room end table.
An afternoon-tea set from Grandma Muriel. Afternoon tea is a very under-rated meal, but from now on comes with its own china.
The Girl also inherited a number of special kitchen bits and bobs from the grannies which she can take away with her to university next year and remember her great-grandmas every time she cooks:)
Returned to the Universe with Thanks: The Girl has gone on a university tour with her dad, and is also visiting her big brother on the way. I sent a collection of extra-to-requirements crockery and kitchenware to The Boy, via her, including my old Pyrex measuring jug! (Remember the one in - one out rule!!) The Man has also moved out another bunch of his stuff to his new apartment, and I keep finding more stuff for him, hoping he'll take it away:)
So here I am at the half-way point of my experiment, and really, can't imagine ever living any other way. There will always be some things I will need to buy new - for instance, August is 'build a chicken palace' month, so I will be buying wire and posts and concrete, while also re-using as much as I can.. but mindless consumption? I don't think I can do that any more. It feels so good!