The newness of spring is my favorite cliché. I love using it as a fresh start and I think it’s so much more promising than New Years resolutions. There are flowers blooming, and summer plans in fruition. It’s always felt a little magical to me and I believe it’s the perfect opportunity for a deep cleanse.
I’ve never had issues reducing my stuff. I like my area clutter free and as simple as possible. Spring comes and I’m donating or selling my clothes, recycling old gadgets, and giving my books away.
But why am I doing this every year?
If my aim was to simplify, why do I spend the rest of the year replacing what I’ve rid myself of?
I’ve been practicing a mostly zero waste lifestyle for the past two years. I’ve replaced most of my single use plastic products with sustainable earth friendly alternatives. I shop completely package free, using cloth bags and buying in bulk. I carry a water bottle, mason jar, stainless steel straw, bamboo utensils, and a spare bag wherever I go.
But it was only recently that I started noticing my shopping habits.
If something broke, I wasted no time to replace it, often brand new. I was quick to invest in a new outfit for a special occasion. I never questioned if the purchase was necessary, I felt weak in the moment, and didn’t connect my actions with the bigger picture.
I was an active participant in our consumerist society and was afraid to stop and question it.
This past month, I challenged myself to break free from “stuff,” and not buy anything new for a year. I was inspired by the Story of Stuff as well as Rob Greenfield who encourages me through his work and writing to live better.
In 2012, I worked on a farm in Costa Rica. The owner, Tristan, and his wife lived in a tent on top of their mountain for a year while she was pregnant. Tristan told me, “The more you have, the less you see.”
Sometimes, it takes a long time for messages to resonate with you. This one is just now settling in my heart.
I’m hoping within the next year, I’ll be able to re-evaluate what I need, save money, continue to cut down my waste, and minimize what I already have.
- Nothing new! If absolutely needed, buy used. Find it at Goodwill, on Craigslist, or make it yourself! (This doesn’t include food!)
- I try not to eat out, simply to save money and keeps me more aware of what I put in my body. Hit a market and have a picnic. It’s spring!!
- No gifts please! I’m not only trying to save money, but reduce the overall stuff I have. When giving gifts, find some DIY ideas on Pinterest! Everyone loves something homemade.
- Finally, just to be aware of what brings true joy into my life and forget the rest.
If you’re interested in trying this with me or varying it to fit you, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow my journey on my blog at www.livonearth.com.