2016: a year without buying stuff

So far, it's going great!

My relationships are stronger: I'm spending more time with people I care about. My wallet is fatter: I'm not buying stuff I don't really need. I have more time for myself. And my heart is full of the things that really matter to me.

But what is this goal about, exactly?

Specifically, my goal is to buy no physical stuff other than food in 2016. I have a few built-in exceptions. My partner and I share a car, and we're not going to let repairs go undone, or fall behind on oil changes. I'll keep up on basic hygiene. When I run out of shampoo & toothpaste, I will buy replacements if I don't learn to make my own. If I need anything for my business, I'll do my absolute best to find it secondhand. Freecycle, the local Facebook Buy/Sell/Free group, and Craigslist will make that easy -- but I'm hoping I won't actually need any supplies this year.

Plus... I REALLY haven't found an acceptable alternative to toilet paper. And believe me, I've tried some weird alternatives on backpacking trips, from rocks to snow to twigs to leaves. Bottom line: I prefer toilet paper. It doesn't end up in landfills, and I always buy brands that are certified through the FSC. Only well-managed forests to keep this bottom clean, if you please! 

Other than that? I've found a couple of exceptions. If there are things my partner needs and I'm the one out in town, I will buy the occasional Physical Thing for them. It's an interesting exception for me personally, and not one I expected to encounter. I've written about it over on my blog

There's a surprising kind of freedom in buying nothing for a year. I find it makes going out into the world a much more engaging experience. There's no background script of "I wonder if I should pick that up for so-and-so." I'm free to just enjoy the things I find beautiful, with exactly zero sense of obligation to bring them home or possess them myself. The richness that surrounds us really is amazing. And I appreciate it so much more fully when I'm not worried about making it MINE. 

The idea of taking a break from buying stuff started a few years back, for me. I tried a single month first, and I liked the vacation from buying Stuff so much that I started calling it my "luxury month." 

More updates and background on this whole "year without buying Stuff" project are over on my alternatives blog