Image: Google

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?

Image: Google

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.

Image: Google

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)

Maintaining Flexibility

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!

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