Lately, I have been buying a lot of stuff. We moved into our beautiful home in March of 2021, and since that time I have been buying and filling our home with beautiful things.
Until recently, this didn’t feel like a problem. The items coming in were very much wanted. Furniture and things that added to the convenience and beauty of our life. Then, all of a sudden, it was too much.
Too many boxes and online orders. Too many trips to Target. Hundreds of dollars spent when I went in for just a few household items.
Were these things worth it? Were they worth the time that I gave to them? The money invested? Did they have anything to do with the home I want to create? The values I want to model for my little one?
No, they weren’t. They were impulse buys of low quality items. Mass produced to sell for 5 or 10 dollars, fighting for my attention as I walked the aisles of the store.
Items priced so low that there was no way my money was making its way to the creator or the worker the way that I know it should be. The way I want it to be.
When I feel like this, overwhelmed and a bit uneasy. Confused and unable to hear my own heart and mind, I do yoga. I do not do it as consistently as I would like to, I do it when I need to. When I feel called to, I feel the same about writing.
During the height of the pandemic, home alone with my baby. Scared and nervous, sad and broken as we all were – I turned to shopping. I bought things to make me feel good. Something, anything, to distract from the monotony.
It became a habit.
When my actions and my heart are not in alignment, I can feel it. I know that I can not sustain it for long and it’s time to come back to myself.
After some exploration, some yoga, and some deep dives into videos on youtube – I’ve decided to embark on something called a “low-buy year.”
In general, a low-buy year is just what it sounds like, taking an intentional year to buy less. To reset and revisit all that you already own. To change habits.
You can create and discover your own guidelines, here are mine.
(Important note before we go on: It is not always the time for a low-buy year. If I were moving or growing a baby or going through major life changes, this isn’t where I would dedicate my time. I am participating in this voluntarily because it brings me joy. Less for me has always brought more joy. It is also the right time for me, my baby is older, my home is complete, I’m craving this. Okay. Here we go.)
First, no new clothes. I have spent the past six years creating my dream wardrobe. I have a capsule of clothing for each season we experience in Virginia, and accessories that make me feel beautiful. If I need to replace an item that breaks or wears out, I’ll do just that. But overall, clothes, shoes and accessories are not something I need more of.
Next, replace and repair. I have been searching for the motivation to break out my beautiful sewing machine and the dreamy thrifted fabrics I have collected. Now is that time. When it comes to household items that are damaged – I will only replace or repair. Holes or missing buttons? Repair. Every day boots that have finally kicked the bucket? Replace. I already have everything I need right here. I am so lucky. I am so grateful.
Secondhand, swap, borrow. How can I spend less and live more? That is always my hope and goal. If I am desperate for a new book, can I borrow it from a friend or the library? If not, I’ll add it to a list and hope to see it soon. There have been many times in my life I have been desperate for a book and a few weeks later found it in a thrift shop. Non-necessary items like this will be less urgent for me. No need to rush to order it on amazon, I will take my time and read one of the beautiful, unread books I already have.
Local, ethical. This is a buy-less year, not a buy-nothing year. Gifts and wine and flowers will be abundant. Fresh fruits and veggies and plants at the farmers market will be as well. It’s not about deprivation, its about considering where my items are coming from. Who is making them? Can I buy it locally? Can I use my money to love and support others in my community while also finding joy? Yes, I know I can.
The three places I know I will avoid this year are: Target, Walmart, and Amazon. I want to change my spending habits and be in charge of my own decisions. I never like how I feel after shopping at these places. I want to change my consumer habits and enjoy what I already have. I have more than enough.
Lastly, I will save. I am currently saving for some bigger renovation projects for our home. I am also saving for my son’s future, and for the farm sanctuary we will one day own. These big dreams, projects, and goals are my ultimate motivation. The more I save now, the faster I can make it to those dreams.
If you would like to explore the potential of your own low-buy year, resources to get started are below.
I find the spring to be the most wonderful time for a new adventure.
Bonnie Rae xx
Some places to start.