BUY NOTHING DAY challenge, a year of BUY NOTHING NEW

It is that time of year again. Time to think about your consumerism and choose to BUY NOTHING. Challenge yourself, your family, your friends, to tune in to life. Buy Nothing Day is an international day of protest against consumerism celebrated annually just after Thanksgiving. (UK) (Canada & US) (International Facebook Event)

We made a conscious effort to "Buy Nothing NEW" for a year back in 2007-2008. We bought groceries and necessities only. Your immediate question will be what is a "necessity," and that was precisely the challenge - to redefine what we considered a necessity, a need versus a want. You learn to evaluate the items you have and their usable life, and make purchases with new expectations for their life expectancy. A year of this challenge changes your habits for a lifetime.

During that year we did not buy any new clothes, furniture, toys or games (including electronics), home decorating items, or durable items that were not required by necessity. A necessity might be a school PE uniform required for dress code, or dress pants needed for work because the old ones were ripped or worn. When purchasing the dress pants we considered the life expectancy (quality) and tailored look that would last beyond a trend. 

Arguably this practice can be very subjective. This isn't a challenge to see who can be the "best" at buying absolutely nothing. This is a challenge to break your habits and become more conscious of what you consume. Some of the changes that resulted from our experience include:
  • shopping antique, vintage and resale stores for high quality reusable items
  • shopping retailers that had higher quality, more durable items
  • choosing classic tailored items over trends
  • sharing clothing to extend wardrobes
  • choosing glass and metal items over plastics
  • choosing to wait for an item, rather than follow impulse 
  • acknowledging that what we had was completely "fine"
  • using services like Habitat Restore and Upcycle to pass on our own reusable items to others
  • shop with a list and stick to the list to avoid impulses
  • do not treat shopping as a social activity
During this time we also began to more carefully plan the menu and food choices. A whole chicken on Sunday night would become soup for the week (or freezer). A lasagna became lunch for the next day. We selected dry goods and fresh items over canned items, and we did not eat out. 

A year is a big commitment, perhaps start with a week or a month. Perhaps start by re-evaluating your plans to shop on Black Friday. You may still choose to go, but maybe you will have a list and avoid impulse purchases. 


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