Welcome to my blog! I am on Day 116 of a voluntary experiment to buy "nothing new" for one year...I will explain the parameters of this interesting journey here but first a little background.
I met a fantastically smart, cool and fun woman at a conference on March 19, 2010 in Boston who had done this with her family and I was intrigued! After hearing her stories of de-cluttering, scaling back, streamlining and the ultimate freedom from material things, I decided to start immediately. It was an easy decision because at that time I was getting really frustrated with how many things we (I) buy are not made in the USA (clothing, shoes, house items, furniture…everything?). I had always been annoyed by how easily things break and was increasingly annoyed by how often I would buy new instead of used and choose store-bought over home-made. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for a values realignment and a chance for simplification.
But wait...before I go any further, I will emphasize that I have the financial privilege and power to make this choice. There are people who are never able to afford something new or who have no means at all to make purchases for the even the basics of shelter and food. I completely understand and value my privilege in this experience and want my lessons learned to impact how I use my income and potentially influence others to take a look at these issues for themselves.
Having said that, I would ask you to consider the levels of privilege you have to be appreciated, valued and celebrated! By virtue of being able to read, have access to a computer and the ability to pay an electricity bill, I am humbled by knowing with these things alone, I have more than many, if not most people and perhaps so do you.
So, back to nothing new...I put my own boundaries on what the year would look like and in this blog I will share my experiences, my ideas and suggestions, lessons learned and resources for trying your own (Mostly) Nothing New experiment. I have set up my own rules that have some level of discomfort or effort required (otherwise what's the point?) AND are do-able (as in I am not going to live outside for a year with the raccoons, weave fabric for clothing or make my own soap!) Should you take on a challenge like this, you will most likely set up your own stipulations…again it is my opinion that there needs to be some level of pain for it to be a noteworthy change AND within reason in your own lifestyle to be able to sustain your changes…
My MNN (Mostly Nothing New) framework is this:
OK TO BUY NEW (everything else will wait until March 20, 2011 or later)
1. Food (used food is, well, gone, so it seems to make sense)
2. Toiletries and consumable household goods like cleaning products (see Item #1)
3. Electricity and gas for heating and cooling my house (and home office)
4. Necessary house items - related to structure and safety if needed (think Home Depot)
5. Gas for my car (again, used gas is not a helpful entity once it is gone)
6. Car parts if used parts are not available or appropriate (e.g. tires, see also Item #1))
7. Office supplies - paper, printer cartridges, training materials (to be able to run my business)
8. Second hand clothing (if needed at all)
9. Experiences (e.g. trips - my family is scattered and I travel for my job)
10. Gifts for others that are second-hand, hand-made by me or food
These past four months have been very interesting so I will backtrack to share some learnings and a ton of resources and reactions that people share with me when I tell them about MNN…I am excited to get you up to speed on my past 115 days and keep you posted on the next 250 days! This whole thing has evolved quite a bit since March 19th including how to handle the times I “slip”….will tell all :)