Back to working on my New Year's Resolutions.
I had this idea that in 2008 I would "Buy no new things." Part of my motivation is environmental, part of it's budgetary, and part of it, I mean, let's be honest, is the excuse to find virtue in being a cheapskate.
Oh, and part of it is to use up all the bazillion toiletries and paper plates and hostess gifts and crafty supplies and whatever that have accumulated around me and trapped me in a 3 bedroom house-with-garage when my life really only requires a studio apartment-plus-carport. Somebody once said, What is a house except a place to keep your stuff? I can't believe I'm paying rent for my stuff! It's like, no matter how cheap something is, when you add in the cost of storing it over the years - it just keeps costing money - so every thing you have had really better be worth it!
I digress. Anyway, not expanding my stuff, and hopefully decreasing it, seemed like a good goal in a lot of directions.
But then I started thinking about t.p. and toothpaste and CoverGirl and decided I'd have a budget of...100 new things. And then I had to decide what I meant by "things." I decided "things" just meant stuff - stuff that would eventually turn into clutter, landfill or the Goodwill pile. Stuff that takes up resources and comes in packaging and has to be trucked from yon to hither and stored in the closet or one of those tupperware bins in the garage.
I don't want to limit food - that doesn't seem practical to count, and anyway, if I eat it, it doesn't add to the landfill or otherwise clog up my life. One woman who's done the no-purchases thing didn't allow any food she didn't make herself at home, but part of her purpose was saving money. I'm just trying to cut down on stuff. I don't mind paying for people's effort (making me dinner, cutting my hair, entertaining me), because that doesn't weigh me down or add to the landfill, either.
So how about, "Buying nothing, excluding consumables." But I kind of do want to be accountable for some consumables in my 100-thing budget, so that I replace them less and limit their consumption. Like gasoline. And, as I said, makeup. Maybe I'll even cut back on t.p., like some people we know.
But then I find myself tempted to 'stock up' on things (laundry soap). I find myself desperately shopping for a commuter bicycle so I can do my bike to work one day a week thing (which still seems like a good idea, though it's interfering with that other goal to volunteer more - time crunch issues). Stocking up now sort of undermines the goal.
Anyway, it's not an original idea, and I don't plan to make this a blog stunt, plenty of people have done that. I'm just working through the mechanisms before I go with that advice, "Don't diet, change your lifestyle" and chuck the whole 1-year campaign in favor of incremental changes in awareness and behavior.
What do you think, will this be a good, eye-opening path to self discovery, or is it a self-important distraction from goals that'll have more impressive impact?