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My 1st Year Of “Buy Nothing New” and Why I Am Going to Do It Again

2017! Wow, what a year. My first year of “Buy Nothing New.

Many people have done this challenge, however few have done it while living in a home with 2 small children and a partner that is still in the early stages of understanding “zero waste.”

Last year while on our annual motorcycle ride, I had 2 weeks to just think and re-evaluate our world, consumerist wise. As I packed for the bike trip I looked at what I was taking for a 2-week trip and realised just how little I needed to be clothed, warm and happy.

Amazing when I then looked at my wardrobe and realised that even though I own about half of what the average Australian owns, I still didn’t wear most of it…

So, when I returned from our trip, I had decided that a “Buy Nothing New Year “ was happening for myself and my, at the time fiancé. Being divorced with kids makes the whole “Buy Nothing New “ a lot more complicated on that front, so I decided that I’d just do my best on our end with the kids.

I went through our home and assessed what we all owned, cleaned out what we no longer used/wore and took it to the local markets to sell. Donated what didn’t sell and then made the announcement to my little world of people what was happening in our home.

Mixed reactions of course, but my fiancé was 100% behind my decision and since he was the one I was living with, that’s all that mattered.

Long story short – I would call our year a success – it was not completely purchase free – I will upload a photo to Instagram of the very few items we made very conscious, calculated decisions when buying. We would discuss each purchase for at least 2weeks before making a final decision.

I took the journey one day at a time – some days finding it incredibly easy and some days all I wanted to do was go to tree of life and buy the latest gorgeous skirt… but I resisted.

The Library became our main source of entertainment on a rainy day – and the kitchen, baking and creating.
Op shops were my saving grace – If we actually needed something (example, My boots fell apart, beyond repair and so I needed some for work – one week of op shop searching and I found a great pair for $8)

I found that if I wanted something, like an electric mixer to make a Birthdate gift cake, all I had to do was ask a member of my family or a friend and they would have whatever I needed and were more than happy to lend it to me – to which I would always make a little something extra as a thank you. And made sure I returned the item in pristine condition so that if I ever needed to borrow it again, they would have no worries with it.

Birthdays – anniversaries – special dates – our wedding day: all of them came with it’s own challenges and all of them had a zero waste or near zero waste option – Example: I found my daughters flower girl dress at one of our local op shops for $8, it was a little big, but a friend of mine who is a seamstress took it in as a wedding gift to me, free of charge.

Gifts became a labour of love – I am a gift giver, always have been and I wasn’t about to let this zero waste living decision change that. I would look at the month ahead and decide whether I was going to make the various gifts I needed or op shop for them – sometimes a mixture of both depending.

Christmas was my final hurdle – We have always done the “4 gift rule” for our kids: Something you need / Something you want/ Something to read / Something to wear.

I relented and let the kids pick the “something they want” and purchased those Items new. I found 2nd hand clothes they needed at local op shops and books the same. My son needed shoes and so they were purchased. My daughter needed a new backpack as hers was beyond repair (how do kids do that?!) so I searched until I found one I was happy with and that will hopefully last a few years.

I found a book that my husband had been looking for and he also got a hat that I found in a local op shop.

I gifted a massage to my secret Santa (we do that in my extended family circle) and have cookies to the rest.
All these things add up to a little more effort yes, but that effort is so deeply rewarded by the reactions of the people that are receiving the gifts, knowing the effort that had gone into then and knowing that we were having very little impact on our precious earth.

We found it such a success that we have decided to continue on our “Buy Nothing New Year “ take 2 😉 for 2018.

Let’s see how it goes – I have so many dreams and aspirations so we will see how it turns out.