The Year of Less

April 3, 2018.  That seems like such a long time away from now.  But that is the next time I will buy anything.  Starting today, I will not be making any consumer purchases for 1 year. 

Surely, there must be some exceptions to this ban, right?  The ban will apply to anything that is not consumable.  The most notable exceptions are the common-sense necessaries like food, toiletries and the like.

The ban WILL include gifts for adult friends and family.  Rather than “stuff” they almost certainly do not need or want, we will be gifting the adults in our lives experiences or some other “consumable” thing, but nothing that will stick around their house.  We will take them out somewhere and buy them a drink or nice meal; or, if that’s not possible, perhaps a gift certificate or Groupon for an experience they would enjoy or tickets for a concert or show they would like to go to.  However, I cannot bear the thought of denying our niece and nephew toys.  (Sorry not sorry.)

I experimented with this concept with great success for my parents’ last birthdays a few months ago.  I bought my dad a Groupon to get his cars washed and my mom a gift certificate to get her hair done.  They both enjoyed and used these gifts—in stark contrast to the adorable Kate Spade travel mug and copper Moscow mule mug I bought them for Christmas a few years ago that I thought they would like but still sit in their cabinet with the tags on.  My mom happily texted me a picture of her new hairdo after getting it done last weekend.

In addition to the usual methods of accumulation, my Mom’s job involves working with clients in their homes and many give her things they no longer need, which often get donated or passed along to me if my mom has no use for it.  It can be anything from clothes to kitchen gadgets and small appliances to a dining room table.  This was great when I was a broke college student and was passed on essentials I might not otherwise have and couldn’t afford to buy for myself.  Many of these things were slightly outdated when they were passed on to me, and even more outdated now.

Over the last few months, my husband and I have been clearing out the excess.  At least 5 carloads of donations to the thrift store and lots of eBay sales later, and it’s beginning to look a lot less cluttered in our small condo.  Getting rid of lots of old, outdated things that no longer serve me (many of which I did not even purchase in the first place), necessitated some mindful shopping to replace some of the junk.  For me, a big part of minimalism is investing in a few, high quality things that will last for a long time.  What is the point of clearing out junk only to replace it with more junk?

I am already more minimalist than I previously thought.  I purchased 2 suits—one black and one gray—a few years ago, as I began interviewing and starting my legal career.  I invested in a new suit—a navy blue one—about a month ago, prior starting my one year challenge, because the suits I own are already a few years old.  I also bought myself a new pair of shoes back in January—the first pair in about a year.  Handbags, however, are my favorite indulgence and they deserve their own entry.

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21 thoughts on “The Year of Less

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