A friend posted this article on Facebook right as 2018 began and it stuck in my head for a few days and I decided I’d give it a go. Because damn, I love to shop. For the last couple of years, I’ve been working hard to reduce the amount of stuff I have, but no matter how many bags I haul to Goodwill, no matter how many pieces of furniture I stick out on the curb with a “free” sign or have hauled away by the junk people or give away to my son who moved into his own place this year, I feel like I’m barely making a dent. (I have made lots of progress, but I’m still surprised when I can find the scissors and tape, and I’m still opening closets and thinking “When did I buy that hideous purse?”)
That’s because I keep buying more stuff. I mean, this is not a difficult math problem. The only difference between me and a hoarder is that I’m dumping stuff continually. This is a dumb way to live. And also very expensive.
My own personal rules for this challenge are pretty basic: I can buy food, I can eat in restaurants. Personal care products are fine as long as I’ve exhausted the drawers and cabinets full of stuff I already have. Let’s please not talk about my nail polish collection. I can spend money on traveling. Medical expenses, car maintenance, etc. are all necessary and fine. Books–yes.
No new clothes. No new notebooks. No cameras, lenses, or photography-related equipment. No adorable ukuleles. No shoes (OMG NO SHOES UGH THIS WILL BE SO HARD I LOVE SHOES). I have plenty of all of those things. No jewelry (SO MANY SAD FACES IN A ROW!).
I figure I’ll update weekly on my progress. This is the first update. Week 1!
I haven’t bought anything except for food and that Fire and Fury book on my Kindle. None of this has been difficult because I haven’t really left the house in a week. It’s been cold and rainy and the grocery store was as far as I wanted to go and now that Publix is available on Instacart, I can just order my groceries so that I’m not wandering up and down the aisles looking for things that interest me.
The main active thing I’ve done this week is to take a few seconds to hide the ads on my Facebook and Instagram feeds. I peeked at Facebook this morning and didn’t see a single ad in my timeline, though I know that won’t last. Yes, I could just ignore them and save myself the time, but I want to see if eliminating the ads also eliminates or at least reduces temptation. That will be an ongoing experiment that I may discover is fruitless.
I also spent the first few days of the year weeding through my clothes. It was much more satisfying a process knowing that I won’t be adding to that mess and having to go through it again and again and again. I have more than enough.
I have vague plans to sell some of the pricier stuff on eBay, but I’m also thinking of more creative ways to pass along some things to people who need them or even just want them and will use them.
Now on to week 2.