Almost 12 months ago, my family resolved to quit buying new stuff for one year. The experiment itself was nothing new -- in fact, it’s been recycled many times over. But we wanted to take a triple bottom line approach: In a year of widespread belt-tightening, focusing on people, the planet, and profits -- or in this case our pocketbooks -- made just as much sense for families as it does for businesses.
To clarify, it didn’t mean we wouldn’t buy anything at all, but when we did need something, we’d try to find it used. When we could, we’d borrow or rent. Of course we still buy our food new and we make exceptions for some essentials like toiletries and medicine -- and underwear. The idea is to be more conscious and thoughtful about the things we do buy. Progress, not necessarily perfection.
The experiment has not only altered my relationship with stuff, it’s opened my eyes to all kinds of people -- and whole movements -- dedicated to simplifying their lives and breaking out of joyless consumerist mindsets.