Last year I sporadically followed the blog of a woman named Sash Milne, who writes Inked in Colour. I followed her story, and her decision to buy “nothing new” for a year.
At first I think I was a little frightened but also amazed at what she was doing and her choice to radically change her lifestyle, and to refocus it and to live without buying anything. It sounds really hard. Well sounded really hard. Now I feel like it’s probably something I might be able to tackle at some point in my life, but I guess I feel like I don’t need to be quite so extreme to reap the same benefits she did.
So, I said to myself, “right anonymous, that is pretty amazing, surely you can be more conscious of what you buy and how you live your life”. I chose to try and only buy handmade things. I actually totally bombed at this project. Yes i bought more handmade and supported local artisans more than I ever have before in my life. I did finally place a much higher value on something that I recognised someone had spent their time crafting.
I also bought a lot of stuff that you can get at your local Myer. I’m a sucker for Myer. I typically hate shopping, particularly for clothes and things like that. It always takes SO LONG and they never have my size, and everything is too gaudy and it just. drags. on. But I also hate spending the entire day wandering the streets of fitzroy hoping I can afford the local fashion, and also that I can squeeze into it. So i hit up Myer, I buy jeans, and tee shirts and underwear and I get the hell out of there.
Towards the end of 2014 as I looked around at all my stuff, and thought about the things I had already been purging (my entire old wardrobe, but that’s a different story), I began to realise how much I hate buying things I don’t need. Like the expensive dress hanging in my closet right now. It’s beautiful and I do love it, but I bought it to wear to a single event that according to society I have to dress a specific way for, and I despise being told what to do, or how to dress. While buying the dress I also bought a pair of high heels, some stockings, some earrings and a shiny bag thing.
It was a really strange experience because while I was buying this stuff, I was loving it, and resenting it at the same time. I love my outfit, I look hot in it. But i resent my outfit, because it cost me $600. To lessen my resentment for the “outfit”, I decided while I was buying it, that it would be the last dress I buy for the foreseeable future. It is my everything dress. It is for weddings, it is for funerals, it is for my husbands work parties, it is for any other event that I am forced to wear a dress for. (I’m not a dress person).
This is getting quite long winded but I am getting closer to my point, I promise. The one thing in my life I will never succeed in being a minimalist at is talking or spewing forth my thoughts in any medium.
The second thing that made me really question myself, my lifestyle and my spending was this. For one month, my husband and i wrote down every cent we spent. And we realised that we SUCK at budgeting. We suck at it in different ways, but we both suck. I think we spent about 3K more that month that we earned. Some of it on cool stuff like the 2 for 1 airfares we bought to Japan, but some of it just on crap we don’t need.
No wonder we are always struggling, we have trouble saving, etc etc. We just waste all of our hard work earning a living, to spend it on – not living.
So i thought about it, and I thought about it and I just kept on thinking, “what if I don’t buy anything I don’t NEED? Can I do that, am I capable of doing that, should I do that?”
So that is what I am doing. It’s like anything, easier said than done. But, this is it. Life is SHORT. I want to do shit, not buy shit.