Starting next Monday (3 July) I’m committing to buying nothing new for 3 months. Obviously I’ll be still buying food and household items, but I’m committing to buying no new unnecessary purchases. That means no new clothes, shoes, accessories, beauty products (unless I have exhausted my stash of something and I can then only buy a replacement product – no new ‘fun’ products) or other ‘fun’ purchases. It also means trying to use up as much of the stuff I already have at home (like body wash which I seem to have lots of!) before buying replacements.
Lately, I’ve been really aware of the amount of stuff I already have, and especially how I pretty much have all the clothes I realistically need. I’ve been wanting to cut down on the amount of shopping I do for a number of reasons.
Firstly to save money! As a single mum, I need to be a lot more thrifty than I used to be. Secondly, I’m keen to simplify my life as much as possible which includes my possessions. I’ve decluttered a lot recently (and will likely end up with even less once the house is settled and we finish splitting up the furniture and other ‘stuff’) but I’m wanting to keep things from getting cluttered again so cutting down on shopping is the logical way to achieve this. I’ll also be moving house soon so the less stuff I have to pack up and move the better. Thirdly, I want to cut down on my waste production which really starts by reducing unnecessary purchases (which in turn reduces packaging).
So this is basically a shopping ban but if I ‘need’ something I will have to borrow, swap, or shop second hand to get it. (Need is a fairly subjective term but my aim will be to buy nothing and only take these options if required)
I’m opting to consider the ‘Buyerarchy of Needs’ when I ‘need’ something, especially during this period but hopefully, I can make this a more permanent mindset shift as well.
If you’re not familiar with the Buyerarchy of Needs, it’s a schematic for reducing consumption made by illustrator, Sarah Lazarovic and is loosely based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (a theory for what motivates people).
The idea is that you shouldn’t buy anything until you have exhausted all other options in the pyramid first, starting from the bottom up.
It’s a great tool to remind me of the things I can do before buying something new and being a mindless consumer. By finding ways to buy less, you create less waste which is a great incentive for this buy nothing new experiment.
Obviously with a growing child (who’s birthday happens to be in this 3 month period!) there will need to be some leeway with things I need for her (and I will still get her a birthday present) but I’m going to also endeavour to reduce the number of things I purchase for Grace in this period as much as possible. It’ll be good to rethink the ‘need’ vs ‘want’ when it comes to things for Grace, especially because she already has most things she needs right now and get spoilt by her grandparents.
Depending on how I go with this little experiment I may consider extending it for longer, but I want to see how I go for the 3 months before I make a decision about that!
I’m going to keep track of any purchases I do make (whether they are exceptions to the experiment of whether I sourced something second-hand) and I’ll report back on how I’m coping and what I learn as I go with this experiment. I have a list of a few things that I need to buy when I move house (to replace furniture that I’m losing in the split) but wherever possible I’ll try to source second-hand if I can and only stick to the things that I actually find that I have a need for.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the ways in which this challenges me as I do have a habit of mindlessly shopping (particularly online) and seeing how I cope with these challenges as they come up.
Would you consider doing a ‘buy nothing new’ experiment? What kind of things do you want to know as I post on my experience?