My Year of Less

It’s no secret we are living in a world ruled by over consumption. How did we get to where we are now? What made us believe we needed all this stuff in our lives? There are a lot of factors that go into answering both those question, neither I feel like boring you with!

I’ve become a bit overwhelmed with stuff, just random things people buy that are really useless, I think our money could be spent better. I would rather go without the latest trend I don’t really need and save that money for an experience or pop it away for the house fund.

At the start of this year I did what most people do, I had a bit of clean up. I tidied up my wardrobe, all my drawers, the bathroom and my studio space. I became aware of the things I had that I never used or wore, I started thinking about how many times have I bought something that I didn’t need to buy in the first place because I already had said item or something very similar that would have worked just as well? How many times do we all do this, how much of what we are buying do we really need? The only way to find out is to stop buying and start using and being more aware of what you already have.

There is a sentence that every time I hear it I cringe, it truly shows the mindset we have developed towards the way we consume items -

‘Just pop down to Kmart and pick up some more for $5, they only last a few washes but it’s only $5’

I am not going to lie I enjoy Kmart as much as anyone else, but I don't enjoy going there and seeing people with trolleys full of just stuff. The store (like any big store) is overwhelming, so much product, so much fast fashion, but what happens to all the items that don’t sell? All the pieces that weren’t quite right and didn’t make the shop floor? What happens when a new trend comes in and everyone wants to change their decor? What happens to all those bits and pieces that no one wants anymore?

At times we will need new things in our lives, but do they really need to be brand new? Is there a way of getting whatever it may be second hand? or can it be borrowed?

I’ve heard and read about people not buying anything new for a whole year, it seemed like an interesting concept to me, but could I do it? There was only one way to find out and that was just to give it a go. So that’s what I am doing, nothing new for a year.

I can already hear people’s reactions, ‘that’s a silly thing to do’, ‘why would you do that?’ `it's not like you can’t afford to buy anything’. I am not saying I’ll make the whole year without buying anything new, but the past few months it has made me think twice before purchasing something.  9 times out of 10 I have walked away and never thought about it again, so clearly I didn't need it and I didn't really want it. If anything it will make me more aware of the items I already have, or have access to, appreciate the things I already have and know that my money isn’t going to be wasted and I am not buying into consumerism.

I’ve set myself up with some rules, they're simple -

  • Use what you already have
  • That’s self explanatory, how many times have you gone and bought something only to realise later you already had some. Be more aware of what is already in your cupboards.

  • Borrow where possible
  • A great option if you only have a need for something once, or not sure you really need to add something to your collection of stuff that might only be used once for that one project you are doing.

  • Look at second hand first
  • We are no strangers to the second hand world, there is a lot of good items people no longer want but you might just need it. Opp shops, a lot of good items if you’re willing to look. It helps when you can alter clothing or turn it into something else, but doing this is a learnt skill and anyone can do it.

  • Make your own clothes
  • Making your own clothes means you’re not conforming to fast fashion, you’re probably making something you do need and you’ll treasure it more because you made it! I have obviously included this in my rules because I make all the Lauren + Angie pieces you see in the shop and I want to be able to keep wearing my brand.

  • Buying new exception
  • Obviously there are going to be some things along the way that I am going to want to buy new, such as food and medicines. But what if I’ve exhausted all of the above options and I still can’t find what I need? Maybe a reassessment of if you need said item anyway? If it is still needed, look for a quality product that you know is going to last and you are going to use it at least 30 times.

    It will be an interesting year and I am definitely not going to say that I’ll make it through the whole year (no one’s perfect), but I’ll give it a shot and see what happens. If you want to have a go yourself, by all means tag along, or even just try a month if your a notorious spender.

    I’ll keep you posted how I’m tracking and when I buy. I’ve listed at the end of this post the things that I have already purchased this year.

    As humans we will always want to buy new things for ourselves and for our homes or loved ones, but maybe if we all took a break every now and then we would find we already have enough. Perhaps we could collectively help stop the consumerism cycle.

    What I’ve bought so far this year
    Lots of food
    1 pack of undies (kind of wanted new ones of those)
    5 tops and a dress from opp shop
    1 shift dress from the local markets
    2 blankets both from the Mill Markets (vintage, antique shop)
    Stainless steel drink bottle (I lost mine! :( ) everyone that knows me knows I need to have a drink bottle with me at all times.

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