Monday, January 21, 2013

Less stuff in 2013

Starting to think about this year's garden

I've mentioned a number of times my goal to reduce the amount of unnecessary "stuff" in our home, and while a trip a week to Value Village and a number of kijiji listings have helped to reduce what we have, in 2013 I'd like to focus on bringing less into our home in the first place. I'd like to challenge our family to significantly limit what we buy this year, preferably purchasing only the necessities and focusing on experiences over things.

I can't take credit for this idea - it was posted on an online forum I belong to. It was just the push I needed - misery does love company after all. Except, I don't think this challenge will be miserable at all - I predict its going to help change our perspective, ignite some creativity, and free up some money (which is never a bad thing). It is nice to have a place to post our intentions, as well as our successes and challenges. The participants have goals ranging from buying nothing but the necessary, to reducing spending, to learning how to make things rather than buying them.

I'll share my own goals for this challenge:

Homemade gifts.

I really love receiving homemade gifts, particularly for the kids. There's so much meaning to a present when you know someone put their love and their time into it. Sure, I like store-bought gifts as well - it is, after all, the thought that counts - but I really cherish what's been made especially for me. So, I'd like to pass that on. I've been working on my crocheting and sewing skills and  painting up a storm for my Etsy shop these last few months. I can't wait to put those talents to use when its gift-giving time.

Making rather than buying.

Speaking of sewing and crocheting - I think these are skills that will serve me well in this challenge. I've just made myself two infinity scarves for a grand total of $16 worth of yarn. This accessory could easily have cost me twice as much for a lower quality product. Plus, I love wearing something I made myself. We need some every day cloth napkins as we've stopped using disposable napkins and paper towel - rather than go out and buy some, I'm going to find some suitable fabric in the form of thrift store clothes and sew them myself. I'm finding it kind of fun to thrift, refashion or make things myself that I otherwise would have purchased mindlessly. 

Experiences over things.

We plan to travel in 2013 - we're going to visit family in the UK, do some camping, possibly spend a weekend away with friends. In order to do so, we'll have to funnel money towards these goals that might otherwise be spent on things. By choosing to make, fix or do without something, building up the travel savings is going to be much less painful.

While buying very little for an entire year can seem quite daunting, and its certainly not a challenge everyone wishes to take on, I'm really excited to do this. I'm not going to berate myself if I slip up, and I'm not going to force Jay to do it with me - I'm simply going to do my best. Its already going well - I've talked myself out of several purchases already in the last few weeks. So wish me luck! It won't be easy, but I will try and make it fun.

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