If you’re a typical middle-class Westerner, even one who shops at thrift stores a lot, it could get kind of frustrating not to be able to buy anything new for a week. Now imagine not being able to buy anything new for a week when all you own is a bathrobe. Two totally random Australians are about to experience exactly this.

Australian publicist Tamara DiMattina, a great fan of secondhand purchasing herself, started Buy Nothing New Month in 2010. Her latest experiment in less stuff/more ingenuity/recycling is to plunk two people without particularly strong eco-consciousness or anti-consumerist leanings down in an empty prefab dwelling, wearing nothing but bathrobes, and see how they manage for a week without purchasing anything new.

If you’re a big thrift-store shopper you might just be like, really? Is that REALLY that hard? Well, these two people are not big thrift-store shoppers. They might be really freaked out having to use Ziggy mugs and glasses from a 1997 wedding between two people they never met. To say nothing of the clothing. Yeah, sure you’ve found a pair of Hedi Slimane pants in your local Salvation Army, but what about the weeks where you found nothing but racks of T-shirts reading things like “Oakhill Football” or “Don’t Ask Me 4 Shit?” And what if it rains like the dickens and the thrift store has no umbrellas? Or you have a bottle of wine and no opener — and the thrift store has no openers?

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

We’re not exactly worried about these people dying. They’re only there for a week. And they are allowed to buy local food. (They’re even getting cooked for, on one night, by a chef who makes fancy meals out of food that would otherwise be wasted.) So other than the fact that they have to do some kind of scavenger hunt as a way of giving shape to this experiment, theoretically they could just sit around in their bathrobes and wait for it to be over. Which, of course, brings us to the important question of the toilet paper. We assume it’s OK if this is new?

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!