How Are We Going to Do This????!!! — Buy Nothing New for a Year

There’s something to be said about making a resolution. I read the other day that over 60% of Americans will make New Year’s Resolutions, but only 8% will actually keep them. Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever kept a resolution, myself; but then again, I’ve never committed to anything via the interwebs before. Now that I have an adoring legion of fans (thanks, Mom) keeping me honest, this year I’m hoping to be part of the eight percent.

A commitment of any degree could be thought of as a mission, and we have all been told that every successful mission requires a battle plan. So I’ve tried to sketch a rough outline of exactly how we aim to tackle this by categorizing the ways in which we plan on doing without new this year.

THRIFTED IT!: We will purchase items at thrift stores, garage/estate sales, and online via sites such as Etsy, eBay and Amazon (only genuinely used items will be purchased online, and only as a last resort. Shipping fees are not cost effective most times, and 99% of what we need should be able to be found locally.) Since we’re on this topic, let’s address the fact that while we do own a thrift store, we won’t always have in stock things we need when we need them. Right now I need a pair of gloves for one of my boys (just as an upgrade…don’t worry, he has gloves) but the sizes we have are not going to work. So, on to other thrift stores or Craigslist likely until we find a suitable pair. Also, anything we take home from Thrift & Thrive is purchased, so it typically doesn’t save me a ton of $ to shop at my own store, vs. a cool neighboring thrift store with a different selection. But yes, owning a thrift store is not dis-advantageous to this project.

RE-PURPOSED IT!: Much like it sounds, this method will be finding things and turning them into other things, or finding things that have been turned into other things already, and restoring them to their original purpose like I discuss here. Just about anything goes as long as the materials in question are not purchased new.

BORROWED IT!: I’ve got some pretty cool neighbors, and what I can’t borrow from them, I’m sure I could put a shout out on Facebook and find pretty quickly. This category will likely be comprised of tools that I may need to finish a project, etc. Not sure, yet…but there are a wealth of socket wrenches and steam cleaners collecting dust in closets across the world.

FIXED IT!: How many times have you thrown out a weed trimmer in favor of grabbing one on sale at the hardware store? I was this close to doing that once when my father-in-law grabbed it from my hands, disappeared to the garage, and in less than an hour, emerged grinning from ear to ear with a working trimmer in his hands. He saved me a hundred bucks, easy. I will learn to do this. Oh, yes. Yes, I will.

FOUND IT! When was the last time you made a special trip to the store only to return and find the exact same item buried in the pantry or hidden in plain sight? This will also include things that I just randomly find on the streets and alleys…and living in a city as dense as Chicago, I find quite a lot of things this way…and that’s just on my walk to and from work.

So, in a nutshell, there’s the ideology behind our resolution. Sounds easy enough, right? I keep looking for an oversight here, but can’t seem to find one yet. Things are going to change, I can feel it. We also plan on including tidbits about food, gardening, DIY, conveniences we’ve sworn off, and any other ways in which we can find some value in the reuse of components…namely because while we don’t always make a purchase every day, we do make choices every day that impact our lives, our financial health, and our environment. Hopefully this blog will highlight as much about the conservation of resources as it does the cost-effective, money-saving nature of our efforts. Here’s to hoping that we can also show how all of this can be fun, creative, rewarding and sometimes (gasp!) even better than the alternative.


Quick tally of our wish list just four days in: Smoke Detector, Boys Gloves, X-Box controller (late night discovery), external hard drive for computer to replace the automated backup service subscription that is about to expire.


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