This morning, as I wrote on my to-do list a series of tasks related to “figure out where to put ____”, I had an epiphany. We have too much stuff. I’m constantly purging stuff, packing stuff away, trying to pawn stuff off on other people. Even little old me, who likes to consider herself a minimalist, cannot stem the tide of stuff. It clutters my mind and raises up some serious questions about how I’m using our resources. Because others (actually, most others, if we’re talking globally) don’t have the luxury of spending even a few extra dollars each month. But I had this aha moment where I realized that if I want to stop the madness, I have to STOP BUYING STUFF.
Now, I don’t consider myself a shopaholic in the slightest. I don’t spend a ton of money “shopping” in the traditional sense. We don’t splurge on meals out often, and we’re not into the latest electronic gadgets. But. When I stop and scrutinize all the things that I’m bringing into my home and spending money on, can I honestly say that I need them? No. I may think of myself as minimalist, but maybe that’s because in some ways, my home has become a revolving door- out with the old, and in with the new. It keeps our number of possessions in check, but it’s not really in the spirit of minimalism, and we’re not being good stewards of our resources. I look around my home and realize that not only do we not need one more single thing, but we already have far more than many people have. It. is. enough.
November is a month that we focus on gratitude, and being thankful for what we have. This year, I want to focus on what makes me truly grateful. I want to pay attention to the little things that I take for granted, but I also want to take time away from tending to our physical wants so that I can draw nearer in understanding the emotional and spiritual needs of my family.
So, I’ve challenged myself, for the entire month of November, to not buy one single thing. No matter if I think we really need it (or will need it in the future). No matter if it’s on some amazing sale that will never come around again (yep, that’ll include black Friday deals, guys.) No matter if it’s only $1 from the Target Dollar section.
Now, obviously, food doesn’t count, because I have a feeling my family would object to not being fed. But since I tend to sometimes buy little treats when I’m grocery shopping, I’ll be sticking to a tight “only on the list” rule. But in the spirit of the challenge, I’m going to keep even grocery shopping to a minimum and try to cook from my pantry more often than not. And of course, I’ll pay my bills. And get people medical care if they need it. But that’s it. (And even these things aren’t a given for everyone. So there’s that.)
Want to join me? I’ve never done this before, so I can’t promise it’ll change your life or anything; I don’t really know. But I suspect that at the end, we’ll not only feel a little more appreciative of the things we usually spend money on, but also a little more free from the tyranny of stuff. And, as a bonus, you’ll most likely save a bit of money that you can use toward holiday festivities in December, or better yet, donate to a charity that helps those that truly have no extra money to spend, and for whom spending a little extra money here and there is not an option. I’d love to have some companions in this adventure. So what do you say? Do you think you could live with only what you have on November 1st for a whole 30 days? Let’s find out together! (Hint: I think we can.)
I’ll be posting updates on my successes (and probably failures) here all month, and on Instagram with the hashtag #buynothingnovember. I’m excited to embark on this adventure together and see how other people get creative about “making it work” with what we already have and get into the spirit of the challenge.