A couple weeks ago I posted on my personal social media about doing a “no-thing” year, starting November 1st after Samhain. It’s officially been one week since the start of this new focus for my personal development and I feel called to flush out my parameters for this goal.
Already I’ve noticed some points of tension:
- Food, and/or
- Household purchases
Living with grandma, my own personal choices are never purely concerned with me. So, how do I navigate grocery shopping when I want to stop buying “things” myself but grandma always gets whatever she wants?
Likewise, what about household items? Hand and dish soap? Toiletries?
Taking it Easy on Myself, to Start
Given that this commitment is for a year, I’ve decided to ease in to it for the sake of longevity. So, I don’t have all the answers yet, but I plan to get them via this challenge rather than in spite of it.
I will continue to shop for the household items and food as I have been, but will also be examining my own consumption to try and determine what “things” aren’t necessary or are only serving me. However, for the time being I am not going to be finicky about insuring I don’t consume household or food “things.” Towards the end of December I will be reevaluating this portion and further acting on the observations of these next two months.
So, what are the solid parameters I am starting with then?
My “No-Thing” Year Rules:
- Stop purchasing “things” for myself
- Clothes, Shoes, Accessories, etc
- Make-up or Personal Toiletries
- Books, Journals, Notebooks, etc
- Knickknacks, Blankets, Art, etc
- Stop purchasing “things” as gifts (because of who I am, I started collecting holiday gifts for friends/family in October, but I will be crafting/making any other gifts I might still need or focusing on gifting experiences)
- Stop consuming food “things” personally
- Fast foods, to-go coffees, snacks, candies, etc (packaged food-like products)
- Focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts or homemade
- Take notice of “things” consumed as meals (packaged/premade products) by myself and grandma, looking for ways to reduce these habits and return to whole-foods
- The hospitality of others will be accepted gratefully regardless
That being said, I anticipate a few more grey areas:
- Gifts = will still be accepted, gratefully
- Returns = recieved items may be exchanged for other “things”
- My Cats = will still be getting their foods, litter, treats and toys as they always do
- Souvenirs = not allowed; myself and others will have to be content with stories and pictures from any trips taken
- Subscriptions, Memberships, etc = to be reevaluated, only kept/purchased if deemed necessary for my work
- Experiences, Trips, Courses, etc = not to be limited by this commitment, but still considered on a case by case basis
- Miscellaneous =
- This commitment is not a justification for increased spending in other areas
- I will not ask or “hint at” others to purchase “things” on my behalf (this doesn’t apply when asked what I would as holiday/birthday gifts)
All that being said, I am excited to have opportunities to explore my consumption habits and may make adjustments and changes as I go. When I am reevaluating for 2020 at the end of December I will likely choose the next point of reevaluation, and so on.
The purpose of this commitment is to purposefully establish myself as a consumer, not to merely stop all consumption. As humans, we all consume, digest and produce waste in a variety of ways, this isn’t itself a flaw. It is over-consumption that causes imbalance and it is this trend in my own life that I desire to quell.
The minimalist lifestyle is highly appealing to me, but I am not at a place in life where I can make that drastic of a change. Therefore, I am taking more modest steps in that direction.
It makes sense to me that prior to reducing my stuff, I need to get my purchasing under control. I need to create some space to discover what is truly essential. Otherwise, I’ll simply replace what I get rid of.
Perhaps along my journey this year I will find myself naturally and organically reducing by using up things I already have. Perhaps there will come a time for more purposeful purging. Regardless, this is sure to be an illuminating experience!