|After 5 days and 2000 miles, we entered Ohio on 7/23/2010.|
Last year was stellar. I graduated from college (finally with 3 fancy diplomas!), made it onto a design team (Scrap Our Stash), fulfilled a dream to be a summer counselor, and started my shiny new grown up job! That last accomplishment meant a 2000 mile cross-country move. So, the Mr. and I sold everything we could bear to part with, shoved our lives into a U-Haul trailer, loaded up the pets, and left Montana. Life has been quite different here in Columbus, Ohio; but it's made me a better person. I hope the hubby would agree with that! The best part of living here? That feeling to keep up with the Joneses has dissipated.
It started when we had our first moving sale. I realized that I was wasting a lot of space (and money, and creating a lot of carbon) with stuff I was never going to use, and I owned a lot of things just for the sake of appearances. It was stupid. And materialistic. Did I mention it was stupid?
After we moved we picked up new-to-us furniture from Craigslist where we got great deals, met some new people, and learned the lay of the land; a far better experience than we would have had buying a bunch of new furniture from box stores. That's when it clicked - I don't have anyone to impress here. I'm buying things that will make my life comfortable. Out with the LCD big screen tv we had in Butte, in with the freebie CRT tv that spends little time glowing in our living room, but isn't in the dump! Out with the lavish Pampered Chef pots and pans, in with a simple set of stainless steel pans that will probably last for decades instead of years. Out with the consumer mindset, in with local foods and a dramatic reduction on our environmental impact. The 5 months of 2010 that we spent in Columbus, will surely pale in comparison to the challenge we have set forth for ourselves in 2011!
Ryan and I made a compact for 2011. Nothing new! Nothing! Here are the rules we are using:
- Allowed items
- Food items - with an emphasis on eating and buying local. We're currently getting our groceries from Green Bean Delivery and selecting midwest and local produce. Eating seasonally will probably seem more exciting when spring rolls around!
- Toiletries - We have tried a few things and will continue to try others as the year goes, but the fact remains that we both need deodorant. Period.
- Cleaning Supplies - This only applies to chemicals (vinegar, Nature's Miracle, bleach, soaps, baking soda, etc.) and not "hardware" (vaccums, steamers, etc.). Maintenance items are allowed, such as filters and belts when absolutely needed (ie - belt is broken, not stockpiling).
- Safety Items - Headlights for the car, a fire extinguisher, smoke detectors, bike helmets...you get the idea.
- Underoos - This should be self explanatory
- Pet items - Someone argued that I wouldn't be consuming rawhides and catnip!
- Entertainment and services - Movies, digital media, massages, zoo and waterpark excursions, hair cuts, etc.
- Anything new - We can buy items at secondhand stores, garage sales, off of Craigslist/eBay/Amazon (used only), and refurbished items. The idea is to turn away from the typical American Consumerist mindset and make only mindful, purchases of items we "need" rather than impulsively buying what we "want." (Note: We have decided that we can buy any item on eBay/Amazon that is used or is from a "private" seller (not a store). Similar to buying from a virtual garage sale.)
- If something truly cannot be purchased secondhand, it can be purchased new at a local store or from a small business.
- White cardstock
but I only get to buy them when I'm completely out (this was my idea, not his, please be gentle!). At this rate, I will last through at least March! There is a third exception to that rule: I get to put in one order of Waltzingmouse Stamps since I never got to buy them at Christmastime. It's the hubby's belated Christmas gift to me. :) Fortunately, they are US made, high quality, stamps from a very small business!
There are a few saving graces to this situation, namely I live in a highly populated area where the "Art" section of Craigslist is well used, and I live near Scrapbook Art -- The most fabby scrapbook store ever! This is why: GARAGE SALE! (For those following my cake craziness. Please remember, fondant, meringue powder, and vanilla are all foods. I'll still be making cakes!)
Before we started this, we decided that we would consider having a "jubilee day" on the middle day of the year (July 2) where we would be allowed to buy anything we wanted, new or otherwise. There's only one thing I can think of that I would even consider purchasing at that time and it's only because I damaged my Big Shot in transit. I want the Big Shot Pro. However, until my Big Shot actually goes out, I only am at "want". (That, and it's going to cost more than my Cricut Expression did!) If you've followed my blog for very long you already know that I rescue buttons and ribbon from Goodwill, scavenge Freecycle, and have been known to modify stuff I find in my home for the sake of crafting! I'm looking forward to a year filled with "Frugal Friday" tips galore. Wish me luck with this adventure! I'll be posting an update on our successes and opportunities on a monthly (or so) basis here on my blog. It should be entertaining at the very least!
Useful links for The Compact and this post:
- Green Bean Delivery: http://www.greenbeandelivery.com/
- Waltzingmouse Stamps: http://www.waltzingmousestamps.com/
- Scrapbook Art: http://scrapbookartpolaris.com/
- Freecycle: http://www.freecycle.org/
- The original rules: http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/2006/01/new-years-resolution.html
- The original blog: http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/
- The yahoo! group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thecompact/
- The Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Compact