As I've mentioned before, Jon and I sort of committed to not buying anything new for a year. This was back in March... and it was prompted by friends who'd heard about various groups of people following The Compact - which, essentially, is a social movement to reduce crazy consumption, cut clutter and waste and simplify our surroundings. They suggested that we might all do the same. There was talk of eliminating paper towels, of making laundry soap. Jon and I decided we were in - but would have quite a few "exceptions." For instance, we'd aim to use fewer paper towels - and use cloth napkins at meals - but not do away with them all together. The Jonic campaign was a sort of a Compact Lite. But we'd try really hard to not buy any new "things." For a year. Until March 2013.
My friends are doing quite well on this Compact - least I think so. Jon actually is rocking it. I, on the other hand, am a frequent violator - with confessional tendencies (no surprise, what with my Catholic upbringing). But I want to start afresh... and I'm compelled to first list my trespasses. Here goes:
In the last few months, I have "illegally" purchased the following:
1. Bright orange patent leather heels (Lame justification: a story I edited was nominated for a James Beard award and I was sprucing up a practical black dress; update as of today, the shoes are a half size too small - my penance, I guess.)
2. A magenta bikini (Lame justification: When you find a swimsuit that makes you feel good, you BUY IT.)
3. Several super-on-sale pieces of clothing at Old Navy, which is a huge violation of The Compact b/c I have loads of casual clothes and the point is to buy fewer quality pieces... starting next March. (Lame justification: They were SO cheap.)
4. These "tuscan grape" flats from J. Crew. (Lame justification: I got a new job + I am WEAK.)
5. Various trash magazines. (Lame justification: I need to know what's going on in the world.)
6. Several pieces of furniture we didn't need AT ALL from Ikea. Like, literally, we went in and bought up everything in a "living room" display: two bookcases, one to be used for toys, one for books - and a connecting desk. We have a desk. A great solid-wood desk - which I found for, I think, $60 or so at Recycle North and Jon restained for our 6th anniversary. Or fifth? So yesterday, we marched right back to Montreal (okay, we drove in a car, with the kids) and returned the stuff. Sort of: We traded one (pine) bookcase in for a glossy white one - and returned the other bookcase and the desk thingie. Then we came home and painted our purple room a paler shade of purple (called "Naturally Calm"). Tonight, we moved the "old" desk against it, pushed in the mod green chair (also sorced from Recycle North) whose arms I painted black 7 or so years ago, and switched on the (yup! Recycle North) lamp. Perfect. See?
No, the room is not done - and part of what I'm loving about it so far is the lack of clutter. Simplifying a space doesn't come naturally to me but I'm trying. I just offed a futon on Craig's List and there's more where that came from (um, my messy house). It's all part of another campaign: Purge and Enhance. Yes, this sounds gross. But tell me: Do you need floor lamps for a college dorm? (You know the ones) A small glass table and four chairs? Some new (to-you) novels or cookbooks? Worn-ish towels for the dogs that you rescue? Ping me.
Note: On our Compact, clothes for the kids are legal, though we buy most at Once Upon a Child. As are gifts, particularly those made by locally... and for those we love Danmade, New Duds and The Syrup Shop.
Another note: The Compact has kept me from buying a lot of unnecessary things: several pairs of shoes, lots of cheap lipsticks (which end up strewn about the house and in various bags), some magazines, lots of random shit at Ikea, etc.