This year I have challenged myself to buy nothing new, as a way to simplify and break some bad habits like hoarding and buying things ‘just in case’. The first month is up now and it’s really been surprisingly easy. Although perhaps that is to be expected after the extravagance and shopping-fest that is Christmas. Of the few things I have bought new, most have been on my exceptions list (e.g. wool to finish a crochet baby blanket, nursing bras). The only other things I have bought new have been things that would have been impossible to find used, like a pair of toddler-safe scissors (as my little girl was distraught when hers broke) and home birth essentials like a birth pool liner. I did very nearly cheat as we decided to get a single sofa bed (for guests and possibly hubby). I thought it would be too difficult or time consuming to find one as I wanted to make sure we bought it before baby arrives, but I was lucky enough to find someone selling a good-quality one second-hand in my village, and we were able to pick it up the next day! So I have learnt that I shouldn’t jump to conclusions, and at least try to find things used.
There have also been some things that I have made a conscious decision *not* to buy, used or otherwise. Our kitchen tongs and turkey baster have both broken, and I reckon we can survive without those – a knife and fork will do for turning sausages and a spoon for the rare occasions we will be roasting something that needs basting. I also decided not to buy any more things for the baby, even though I felt that we needed some more bedding just to be on the safe side. I am noticing this is a really bad habit that will take some work to break, but at least I am becoming more aware of it now. As it turns out, a friend had a clear out and gave us some more baby clothes and blankets, so we probably still have more than we need, but less than what I would have bought ordinarily. Next, my husband has one of those book clubs at his work and we often get sucked into buying whatever kids’ books they have on offer because they always seem like such a good deal. However, I would guess that we already have at least 100 children’s books, and we go to the library regularly, so there is really no need to buy anything more. And finally, I have resisted buying any children’s magazines (a walk to the shop to buy a magazine and then read it together is a good way to fill an afternoon that is dragging). I have kept all the ones we have bought in the past so we have re-read them and discovered that there are activities in them that my 3-year-old can now do that were too difficult before, or ones that we just never got around to doing, so we have kept ourselves busy doing those instead.
On the flipside I have been taking advantage of my nesting urges and cleared out even more clutter. The amount of stuff I have found, and am continuing to find, that I can get rid of so easily, is a real eye-opener. I’ve managed to get rid of so much junk that we’ve even been able to get rid of an entire piece of furniture that we were using for storage! It’s making me realise how much we have bought mindlessly in the past, which is reinforcing my determination not to buy anything new.
Looking forward to February, I think the biggest challenge will be lack of time and energy, as our baby is due any day now. This could be an advantage, as I’m pretty sure I’ll be too tired and busy to think about shopping. But it could also be a disadvantage, as I might suddenly decide after yet another poo-nami explosion that actually, we do need more sheets (am I a little obsessed with sheets right now???), and will I have the energy to resist and just do yet another load of washing and drying?