It’s been over 4 years since I made the commitment to join The Compact and stop buying new stuff. At the time, it was a one-year commitment. But after that first year, it became a lifestyle that I stuck with, rather than just an experiment or a challenge. I had absolutely no desire to go to a mall or buy anything new, and enjoyed both the freedom and the extra cash that came with the non-consumer lifestyle.
However, after more than four years, I have given myself permission to ease up a bit whenever something comes up that is not easy to either buy used, borrow, or do without. Case in point: the Curious George toy pictured above, which I really wanted to give to our niece’s new baby boy. It has been one of our favorite gifts for a baby in the past, not only because my husband and I both love the classic book series, but because his name is George and he is nothing if not curious. So I decided to go ahead and purchase this cutie-pie, in hopes that he would become a favorite and beloved toy of baby Miles.
I did manage to include a handmade gift with the package by knitting a cute little hat, which Curious George is wearing in this photo. Hopefully it will fit Miles, because my first try came out so small it now belongs to my stuffed dog. We also added a couple of favorite board books, one of which was Curious George, of course. Books have been one of my exceptions to The Compact for a long time now, as I want to support writers and books and everything literary.
My other recent purchase was two pair of new jeans, because that is the one clothing item I have been unable to buy used or acquire at a clothing swap. Jeans need to fit perfectly and be comfortable, and I usually need to try on at least 50 pairs in order to find one that makes the cut. In fact, in preparation for starting The Compact, my final crazed last-minute purchase was two pair of jeans, when I realized that I didn’t have any jeans that would last me through what I thought was going to be one year of not buying anything new. I lasted four years, but my jeans were getting pretty worn out.
I’m okay with both of these purchases. I’m giving myself permission to buy anything I want new, because it is such a rare event, and because I feel that overall my purchases are conscious and responsible. And that’s the real point of this whole non-consumer thing.
If you’re a Compacter, have you purchases anything new lately? If not, are there any items you find particularly difficult to purchase used? If you’re thinking about joining The Compact, what items are you most concerned about not buying new? Please leave your thoughts and questions in the Comments section.