Thursday, January 31, 2013

Buying (nearly) nothing new - January 2013

I recently read that all social media, especially blogs, are inherently narcissistic. I will be doing a narcissistic post at the end of each month this year in an effort to make myself accountable for my "easy, ethical 2013 resolutions". This month I will focus on "stuff" because that is where I made the most change.

I have purchased two new "things" this month (not including food, drink, services or medication). One was a light globe to replace a blown globe in my storage room, which receives no natural light. I make no apologies for that. I am really proud that I resisted buying anything at the local handmade markets (my shopping Achilles heel), bookstores and post-Christmas sales.

My other purchase was a modem, after my modem stopped working last weekend. I tried to use an old one of my Dad's but it didn't work. I had no idea how best to choose electronics from an ethical perspective, other than avoiding them. I should have chosen to do without a modem. I could have looked for one for sale secondhand or on Freecycle. However, I use my broadband for work and study (plus watching TV and narcissistic blog posts) so decided to replace my modem within a couple of days of it dying. My first instinct was to head to the discount electronics superstore across the road. Instead, I paid a visit to a family-run computer store in the next suburb. The advantage? I saved time choosing which modem to buy, as they only had one model in each speed. I didn't waste time searching product review sites on my phone. I received great service. The whole transaction took about 5 minutes, instead of the 30+ minutes I would have spent agonising over the choices at the chain store. I supported a local business and I saved 30 minutes of my time. (I still have the two useless modems sitting around, waiting for electronics recycling collection time.)

I have been working at my "giving away 7 items per week" goal. I've only given away a few items but I've identified dozens that will be given away shortly. I am in the process of clearing out my wardrobes (that's right, I have a completely unnecessary TWO wardrobes for one person) that are shamefully full of clothes I had forgotten I owned and shoes I have not worn for years. Some of the shoes have only been worn once. I even hoarded some of the empty shoeboxes! I discovered bags full of clothes that I had intended to donate to charity in 2011 and had shoved in the top of my wardrobe, awaiting the annual charity collection. The charity collection never eventuated and the bags are still there, of no use to anyone. Most of the items will go to the Red Cross and I hope some will find a new home at Ready to Work, a local charity that helps disadvantaged women find employment.

Some of my sad, unloved shoes. They want a new home.
I have also been clearing out the kitchen cupboards of tools I never use and discovering products that I should use. It is helping to make my little kitchen work more efficiently and will help me cook more and follow Pollan's Food Rules.

I feel that I haven't challenged myself in January and will try to make more of a difference in February. My parents are getting me a bicycle for my birthday and that will be the topic of my next post. Yippee!

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