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    Friday
    Sep132013

    3 Steps to Let Go of Your Possessions

    Editors Note: Guest Post by Betsy & Warren Talbot

    Let’s face it: We all have too much stuff. Whether it is the things you no longer need, the items you never got around to using, or the “treasures” thrust on you by well-meaning people, you are probably shrinking your living space with all that clutter. 

    It’s more than simply buying nothing new. It’s being critical of everything you already own. Does it fit your life or not?

     There are 3 steps you can take to finally let go of those items no longer working in your life. Better yet, you can sell the things that are still in good condition to finance a part of your life that has been neglected. Who knew you could finance a vacation by getting rid of your junk?

    But before you start planning your next big holiday, let’s focus on 3 powerful strategies to let go of your possessions.

     

    Instead of Keeping Up with the Joneses, Keep Up with Your Dream:

    This is the classic mistake many people make. You spend your time keeping up with the Joneses (or at least trying to), and instead of making yourself happy you just end up buying more stuff. 

    It’s like high school all over again as you struggle to keep up with what other people’s families have and how they spend their free time. 

    To learn to be clutter free, adjust your focus to the ultimate dream you have for your life and not what the couple down the street just bought. Every time you buy something that does not fit your overall lifestyle goal, you move yourself further away from it.

     

    Remove Mental Clutter Before Physical Clutter:

    Are you holding on to outdated ideas about your life? If you are, it will be almost impossible to clear your life of clutter. 

    It’s when you cling to incorrect ideas about yourself that you get so mixed up over what to keep and what to toss. Being clear about who you are, what you want out of life, and how you want to spend your time means having a clear standard about the items you want and need in your life.

    Ask yourself: How is this item adding to my life? How many physical reminders do I need of that person or event? Am I holding on to this out of guilt?

    When you have a red velvet rope approach to the things that come into your life, you’ll only allow what truly helps or pleases you. You’re home will always be a sanctuary to you because it has what you use and love most.

     

    Creative Tips to Get Rid of Clutter:

    Once you’ve focused your energy on keeping up with your dream and removed the mental clutter, it’s time to get down to business.

     It doesn’t have to be drudgery, and your discards can even bring you extra money.

    First, consider what items you can sell for good money right now. Craigslist, eBay, Kajiji (in Canada), or Gumtree (in the UK) are great places to sell your used electronics, sporting equipment, tools, and collectibles. You can also sell your used electronics through sites like Gazelle.com or even the Apple recycling center (I recently made $200 off of a beat-up 4-year-old laptop this way). 

    Another option is to host an indoor yard sale with your good friends or acquaintances. Simply invite them over, tell them what you have for sale (artwork, furniture, sports equipment, etc.), give them colored sticky dots to place on the items they want, and let them shop. Once they finish, you can go around and add up their purchases to negotiate a price. This can be a really fun night with friends – especially those moving, going to school, or resettling after a divorce – and an easy way for you to declutter.

     

    Decluttered = Free

    When you have only what you want and need, you’ll have more freedom in your life to enjoy your relationships, hobbies, and life in general. The space to enjoy your life is the ultimate luxury, and when you have it, see how fast the Joneses start working to keep up with you!

     

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    About the Author: Betsy Talbot and her husband Warren have been traveling the world since 2010. It took them 2 years to declutter and downsize to just 2 backpacks, and life since has never been dull. They want you to have that kind of freedom, so they created the Declutter Clinic course to show you how to get the space to live the life you really want. Click here to find out how to get started.

     

    Wednesday
    Aug212013

    A Love Letter To My Readers.

    Dear Beloved Buy Nothing New-ers, 

    I will be taking a hiatus from this platform to spend some time internally in order to uncover the next step in my journey. If you are interested in contributing something to the blog & website or facebook page, feel free to email me at buynothingnewforayear@gmail.com and I will happy to take some time out to promote you, your blog or anything cool and eco friendly that you are up to. There are currently 25,800+ subscribers to this site.

    If you are new to us here, I am sorry we didn’t have more time to hang out but there is a few years worth of writing in the archives here or on the blog. Hopefully you can find something to inspire you along your way :)

    And, if nothing else, remember this:

    Everything you do makes a difference. 

    Thanks for being so fabulous for all of these years!

    BNN

    Monday
    Aug122013

    A Simple Childhood.

    Editors Note: Guest Post from The Fearse Family

    From the outside we are a family made up of one full time student / part time musician (Big Poppa), one part time teacher (Mama) and one full time toddler (Little Fearse). Inside the Fearse cave we see ourselves a little differently – we think of ourselves as three full time students and teachers and it’s a relationship that flows between all our connections: parent to child, child to parent and spouse to spouse. Any new parents would probably agree that it is a steep learning curb. The challenges that are thrown up are constant. Parenting can be wonderful and bewildering all in the same instant. 

     

    Our current focus to Buy Nothing New for a year has given us the space to breathe and enjoy our daughters fleeting babyhood. It has given us hope that we can pass on values to our daughter that will give her a solid grounding in life, no matter what her financial situation. This journey has allowed us to be the parents we wanted to be – attentive and thoughtful and responsive. It has taken away the distraction of the consumer culture. Maybe one day our daughter will be grateful for this upbringing. Maybe she won’t. We can’t foresee that, we can only take what we believe is the best path for us as a family.  

     

    As all parents do, we have our dreams for Little Fearse. We hope she will have a happy life, above all else, and a life that is secure. We hope that she will be fulfilled by the activities she chooses to pursue. We wish for her a community of people around her that provide her with positive influences, love and genuine caring. As a person we hope she will be compassionate about others and passionate about life. We hope she will see life as an adventure and the world as worth discovering.

    Our brand of parenting encompasses (among other things) the following ideals:

    • Having few toys;
    • Spending time together as often as possible;
    • An emphasis on fun, meaningful play and imagination;
    • Enjoying our natural environment – sometimes local parks, gardens and playgrounds but more often than not just enjoying our own back yard;
    • Discovering other peoples ideal worlds through books and stories;
    • Exploring freely, allowing Little Fearse to discover what works and what doesn’t for herself (something BP finds easier than Mama);
    • Having enriching and authentic experiences, whether it be visiting the museum or an art gallery, going to the farm, joining play groups, watching live music or shopping at the market;
    • Talking to each other with respect and joy – sharing our philosophies, asking each other’s opinions and really listening – even though Little Fearse is only at the beginning of her language development she still benefits from this;
    • Eating together at least twice a day;
    • Making each other laugh – even when we feel tired or challenged;
    • Having loads of cuddles;
    • Talking about how we’re feeling, even when those feelings are not cheery – giving Little Fearse the opportunity to see a whole array of human emotions;
    • Encouraging Little Fearse to develop her own understandings of the world – no matter what our tastes are it’s important that we don’t deny Little Fearse the opportunity to develop her own. This includes things like the food we offer her, the books we read together or the music we play;
    • Letting go. It’s hard as a parent to not want to control everything. Sometimes Little Fearse wants to do something that one of us finds uncomfortable – she’s aching to go down that slide that we (ok, Mama) thinks is too steep or she really wants to climb the tower at the play centre that she always gets stuck on. It’s almost agonising to watch, but we try at all times to allow her the freedom to explore without being ‘helicopter’ parents. It’s a hard line to walk;
    • Stretching ourselves to be more patient – not something that is always achievable, but something that is worth striving for none-the-less;
    • Seeing the world from Little Fearse’s perspective – sometimes as simple as getting down to her level. Have you ever done that in a crowded place? All those legs flying at you can be really intimidating. Sometimes you see beautiful things we miss up there in the adult world;
    • Slowing down to a toddlers pace, even if it takes an hour longer to get to the shops or the library or wherever you’re going; 
    • Having less expectations and more surprises. This doesn’t mean we lower our expectations of ourselves or Little Fearse. It’s about letting go of comparisons and working hard to not have expectations of each other that will lead to disappointment, but rather expecting nothing and enjoying the surprises that we offer to each other as a result;
    • Planning less, enjoying spontaneity. We try hard not to fill each day in the calendar, especially our precious weekends. Some of the best days are decided by the weather or an idea sparked by a book we’re reading;
    • Developing a wide community of people Little Fearse can enjoy through things like Family Day Care, swimming, Mums and Bubs classes, developing local friendships, shopping locally and (very importantly) spending time with family.

    When we began our year of buying nothing new we had no idea that this new approach to life would unfold. We feel blessed that we stumbled upon a simpler way early in Little Fearse’s childhood, giving us the opportunity to grow stronger as a family and provide her with what we believe to be a solid foundation for a life that is richer in meaning than it is in stuff. 

     

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    We are a family of three (Mama, Big Poppa and 15 month old Little Fearse) who live in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. In 2013 we decided to buy nothing new and see where it took us. With the time we have freed up in our lives and in our minds we have worked on building closer connections to our community, our environment, our family and ourselves. You can keep up to date with us on our Facebook page or on our blog.

    photo via: BuyNothingNew

    Monday
    Aug122013

    Sense when it Comes to Scents

    One of the most infuriating marketing scams I have ever witnessed is that of "air freshener." I used to buy into all of it: Vanilla scented Glade Plug-ins in the hallways and Febreeze on my old stinky couch. Truth is these air freshening products do not "freshen" the air by any stretch of the imagination. Instead they mask unpleasant odors with their more pleasant odor that is usually a toxic blend of chemicals you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy.

    According to an article from Mother Nature Network

    Inhaling petro-chemicals, dyes, and perfumes can cause long-term health problems. Time magazine reported that many chemical air fresheners contain phthalates, a type of chemical that causes cancer.

    And, here's  a link to what the EWG has to say about air fresheners.

    Air fresheners find themselves in all sorts incarnations: Candles, incense, plugins, oils, hanging things for your car (see above), sprays, perfumes, etc. Of course you can opt for healthier, non toxic scents to surround yourself with but remember, however pleasant these things may smell, none of them truly "freshen" the air. 

    These are the only things that really freshen our air:

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    Tuesday
    Aug062013

    Free Market - Really Really Free Market

    Editors Note: Guest Post by Alexis Croswel

    In Grand Rapids, Michigan, on the first Sunday of every month a group of community members come together at the “Really Really Free Market” (RRFM) . And yes, you guessed it, everything really is free! According to language on the group’s facebook page, the free market “operates according to gift economics, in which nothing is for sale and the only rule is share and share alike.

     

    Contributions are not mandatory, but are encouraged. It is an opportunity for members of the community to give what they have in abundance, and take what they need. This can include the exchange of articles of clothing, household goods, books, food, plants, etc., but the RRFM is also a space for people to share their talents, skills, and knowledge and to connect with Grand Rapids neighbors whom they might not otherwise meet”.

    I have now been to the RRFM four times, and I can attest that it is a true celebration of community. Free food is provided by Food Not Bombs, a loosely structured organization that uses vegetarian and vegan food that would have been wasted and creates it for the public for free. The combination of free food, free items, and the community coming together truly fosters an open, welcoming environment. Not to mention, for a recovering consumerist like myself (in my early teens I would love to spend time in target or other department stores shopping and extending my collection of facewashes. I was a marketers’ dream!) the RRFM is a great way to find unique items that have little impact on the environment.

    Some of the items I have collected over the months include a baking sheet, many shirts, a pair of jelly flats, a purse, and a spice rack (score!). I also love to organize the items I own and pass on or donate things I haven’t been using recently, and the RRFM is a great place to do just that. The more I have learned about the amount of resources it takes to make one new table, or one new shirt, the more I have begun to embrace second hand and barter.

    I hope that others out there are inspired by this idea of communal exchange and seek to start their own RRFM. Helpful tips on how to do so can be found at the RRFM blogspot, and if you’re near Grand Rapids, like the RRFM facebook page.

    Even for someone who didn’t grow up with a dad like mine who loved to “trash pick” items from the neighbors on trash day, the idea of the Free Market, and the way in which it is organized in Grand Rapids, makes it truly accessible and welcoming to anyone. So get out there and start organizing your own! The planet (and your pocketbook) will thank you.

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    Alexis is a recent graduate of the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. During college she worked at the Frederick Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors, and was involved as president of the animal rights student organization Humane Society of Grand Valley. She is now nurturing her love of the great city of Grand Rapids by working at Brush Studio in the Gaslight Village, writing for Vegangr.com, Dogs Unleashed, and Doorganics. You may contact her directly at croswela@mail.gvsu.edu