Before I lay out my (finally) formulated rules for our year of Nothing New, let me just make a few things clear.
I am in no way telling any of you how to live your lives… I have no idea what I’m doing with my life and it’s pretty safe to say I’m in no place to be telling anyone else what to do with theirs. I’m just doing what most of us are doing, just trying to make the right choices for myself, for my kid, for my world… and this experiment is about just that. We are all in vastly different situations, with different values and different needs and I’m totally cool with that. So let’s just be friends. OK?
I’m going to try very hard to stick to my own rules, and when I screw it up, and let’s face it, I probably will… I’ll be honest about it.
The whole point of Nothing New for a year is to change my own spending habits, to look more at how, what and why I consume. It’s not about depriving us of fun or stripping the joy out of life. It’s about coming back to a place of simplicity, where life becomes more about the people and the world outside our door instead of all the shit we buy. Where our self worth is about who we are, not what we have.
So… with all that being said, here we go!
Nothing New for 2014 – The “rules.”
No new clothes or accessories or shoes (I know, mum, don’t flip out) for either of us. As for purchasing second hand? No clothes or shoes second hand unless there is a genuine need that cannot be filled elsewhere… We are going to start looking more seriously at clothing swaps, freecycle and our local facebook pages for swaps and barters for things we need.
No new toys will be bought either new or second hand. We have no battery operated or plastic toys in our house (except for in the bath) and still, we have too much. Besides, Bo barely plays with her “toys” anyway… she’s got better things to do. Again if we feel the need for toys we will make them, swap them with friends or visit our local Toy Library for a loan.
We wont be paying for any organised toddler classes or activities this year. I’m always surprised at the amount of money parents will spend on kids activities… when really, you can do so many great things for free. I’ve found a wonderful free playgroup (where you pay with a piece of fruit) that encourages parent/child interaction and outdoor play and we will be attending that instead of any other activities. The only exception to this is swimming lessons. I haven’t signed her up yet, but I want Bo to do a term class this year, it’s an issue of safety living in such a water centered environment and I’m not in any way qualified to teach her.
Fun family friendly activities? Like road trips and travel and visits to the local aquarium or the zoo from time to time? Sure. We will definitely be doing fun things like that… but we will NOT be visiting any gift shops along the way.
We will not be purchasing any mass produced baby food or toddler snacks. We will be making all of our own snacks and treats and sharing the recipes here on the blog. I don’t buy a lot of processed food any way, and I will be cutting it right back to the bare basics and making as much as I can from scratch at home. Besides that, food is good… we need food… until we have the self sustainable food set up that I dream of, we will be buying food. And lots of it.
What about eating out? I’ve decided that supporting small, local eateries and coffee shops is A-OK, particularly considering I have a big road trip planned for later in the year and sometimes these places are our saving grace… so they stay.
No cosmetics will be purchased. No foundations or eyeliners… no lipstick or fancy moisturizers packed full of whatever they are selling this week. I will use up what I have and then I will go with out. I will use simple recipes for moisturisers and bath products, and I will start making more of our own. We already use simple, earth-friendly soaps, sanitary wear, shampoo and conditioner which, to me, are all deemed necessary. We will certainly continue to use all of these.
No new or op-shop homewares will be purchased. This is a hard one for me. There are a few things I “want” but I’m going to have to let it go. In the spirit of full disclosure, I did buy a new (old) couch for $40 from an opshop at the beginning of January. From now on, any homewares or furniture will be swapped, salvaged from a tip or if we are really lucky “inherited” from family or from a roadside collection.
I do a fair amount of up-cycling and photography projects around the home. For these projects I often take a trip to Bunnings, or Spotlight… I will no longer be visiting these stores for anything. If I want to do a project I will need to source ALL of my materials second hand, either through purchasing from garage sales, jumble sales, through bartering or from the local salvage yard or tip shop. If I need tools I’m going to need to borrow them by engaging with my local community a bit more… I did pick up a few pots of paint for Bo’s birthday present the other week for a couple of dollars from a tip shop. Nothing like making use of someone else’s garbage and reducing a bit of landfill while I’m at it.
Exceptions: The only total exceptions for this project are any medical needs (because, our health is very important) and travel costs (airfares, road trips, visa’s etc) because, it’s in my blood and I’m really hoping to get Bo back to Indonesia this year to immerse her in a bit of her culture. If at any time this year I feel I must purchase something and go against my rules… I will confess to it.
I will not be receiving any gifts of any of the products I’m not allowed to buy from sponsors of this space… because it really defeats the purpose.
Personal gifts from family and friends for birthdays/Christmas are not at all necessary (we’d much prefer a dinner with the people we love) but will be accepted with genuine thanks and love.
I’m still not sure how this is going to go… So I’m just taking a deep breath and jumping in, head first.