Call us crazy but our family of four has committed to buying nothing new for the entire year of 2013. You can read about our reasons for doing this in the original post, Life Resolutions: Buying Nothing New in 2013.
March = Fail
Wait a Minute….No One Said Anything About Being Cold
The month started out with some last-minute trip planning. My sister, Zena, was spending spring break in the UK with her English fiance and asked if we would like to join them. Being crazy like that (and having saved some money from buying nothing new in January and February — BOOM!), we decided to go for it.
But we had one problem: our California wardrobes were not equipped for European winter! Wales, England and Scotland were all forecasting below freezing temperatures and constant rain.
Thankfully, I still had a pair of winter boot wellies that I had bought for last year’s trip to Montreal (where I shocked readers in proving just how much greasy poutine one liver can handle). I found those deep in the recesses of our winter storage (which is basically the same as “you’ll-never-in-a-million-years-need-these-things-so-why-are-you-keeping-them” storage but I digress…). As I mentioned in February’s review post, I had already found an awesome rain jacket at a local thrift shop so a little bit more digging in our winter gear and I was all set with a touque (it’s Canadian for hat, eh?), mittens and scarves. Mission Nothing New, complete!
But my husband did not fare so well. With no wellies or boots to his name, we scoured thrift stores, consignment stores, and Craigslist for any type of footwear that would work. He combed hundreds of racks for a waterproof coat but to no avail. Finally, the day before leaving for the UK, he called me in defeat and we agreed that he should just buy new Wellies and a rain coat. After all, the reason for our resolution is not to prove some point or save money — it was to retrain our buying habits. To make us stop and think before buying something and to enforce patience while encouraging the reuse of what we (or others) already have before adding to the mass consumerism that’s all around us. This time, we just couldn’t fight it!
But the fail didn’t stop there. Later on in the month, we also caved and bought new rubbermaid totes to organize our garage shelving. I have found these at thrift stores in the past but they’re almost always missing their lids…which doesn’t really work for a garage. We also bought some new gardening tools which we could have probably found at estate sales but with most of March spent traveling, we had run out of time and the garden couldn’t wait any longer.
Excuses, Excuses! But I Promise March Wasn’t All Bad…
- While traveling through the beautiful Lake District of England, we stopped in a charming little town and I made everyone go into the local thrift shop. It was there that I got to fulfill my “travel shopping bug” (come on, who doesn’t love buying stuff when they’re on vacation?). I found a gorgeous necklace for 5 pounds. My money helped a local charity AND cured my itch to buy! Well sort of…
- I managed to drag Tim to a few garage sales on the last weekend in March (he secretly likes it…) and we found a perfect little shelving unit for the no-mans-land spot in our kitchen! I’ve been waiting patiently for this for months and months and now my well-used kitchen appliances no longer have to hide in the dark shadows of my cupboards!
- When setting out the resolutions back in 2012, I wasn’t going to include shoes in our Nothing New rules. After some research, we decided that secondhand shoes (if in good condition) aren’t bad for your feet and we would include them in our guidelines. I’ve regretted that decision more than once (like every time the DSW ads arrive in my mailbox — curse you cute summer wedges!) because it turns out that finding shoes which are A) secondhand, B) in good condition, C) in a style you actually like/need and D) are in the correct size, is insanely difficult! So when I finally found a pair of well-fitting and adorable Keds at a local consignment shop, I had to snag them. I think the heavens parted, lights shone, and there were doves…for real.
When I Caved and Said “Screw It…”
These secondhand purchases were great but my most fabulous find in March came from a little antique shop hidden in the charming Welsh town of Cardigan. Overflowing with rare treasures, I was immediately drawn to the collection of antique cameras. Later, after digging through three floors of goodies (can you say “kid in a candy store?!”), I found a beautiful kitchen scale from the early 1900’s for just five pounds.
Since we were traveling carry-on only (yeah, that’s how we roll…), I knew Tim was going to shake his head if I came back with a scale made of iron (carry-on’s don’t have weight limits, right?!) and fragile antique cameras. But these were just too good to pass up. I struck a great deal with the shop owner, threw caution to the wind and started rehearsing my convincing speech for why I just had to buy them (yes, all seven of them).
Tim did shake his head, but being the good man that he is, he knew me well enough to know that I loved those cameras and would never have forgiven myself for walking away empty-handed. So sacrifices were made, my suitcase was bursting at the seams, and so help me, I got every single one of them home. I’ll put a few on my Etsy store but I’ll keep most of them for myself. Yes, that completely goes against the idea of living with less but like I said, March = Fail!
PS. Congrats to my sister Zena and Josh on their recent engagement! Josh popped the question after they hopped some fences and snuck up to the epic Edinburgh Castle in the middle of the night (scandalous!). Despite having a knack for trespassing, we are beyond ecstatic to have Josh in our family!