Early this year I found myself feeling weighed down by stuff. Physical stuff. Belongings. Every material possession I have seemed to be a small but concrete obstacle between the life I have and the life I aspire to having- see, it’s quite a difficult task to flit back and forth between continents when you have to consider storage solutions for all the junk that you own. What to do with the couch? The fridge? The summer clothes that I haven’t worn for two seasons? The Tupperware?
In my ideal world, GL and I split our time between Sicilia and Oz. The idea that one of us should be so far from home for years on end seems inherently wrong. It just doesn’t sit with me. I want to live in both places. And when we have children, I want them to feel equally at home in both countries. World citizens.
We have a ways to go yet before that dream bursts into fruition. Still, each time we pack our bags to go home- whichever that may be- we must decide what is important enough to bring with us. Twenty kilos, as it happens, is not a lot of treasured goodies. Which makes every item we don’t choose seem mildly irrelevant. Unnecessary.
Thus, I made a new pledge, to Buy Nothing New.
This began with clothes. If I can’t op-shop it, eBay it or make it, I can’t have it. (It should be noted that shoes and underwear are exempt from this rule. I have neither the skills nor patience to make my own shoes, and as for undies? Eew. New please.) I have not bought an item of clothing from a regular retail store since well before Christmas. And I don’t miss it at all!
The other reason this pledge works for me is environmental. I firmly believe there exist enough items of clothing in the world to cover my meagre needs- I certainly don’t want to waste resources, human labour and transport miles just to create yet another something new for me to wear. Similarly, I don’t want the perfectly wearable garments of others to end up in landfill for no better reason than being last year’s collection. Our society’s penchant for hyper-consumption has to stop.
Lastly, I discovered an alternate way of thinking: Collaborative Consumption. All the pieces fell into place. It’s community- minded. It’s about mindful living, mindful consumption, mindful purchasing. It’s about reducing, reusing, recycling, redistributing. It’s old-school in the best way- Make Do Mend. It’s how our grandmothers lived. It’s thoughtful. It’s creative. And it got me fired right up.
So I pledge to Buy Nothing New. Wanna join me?