retail me not: buying nothing in 2012

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I’ve been off enjoying the festivities of the holiday season for the past couple of weeks.  I thought very little about decluttering and mostly just enjoyed spending time with family and friends (and indulging in food and drink entirely too much!)  But my thoughts of coming up with a new challenge for 2012 to keep my home clutter free have recently resurfaced.  Even though certain family members could not restrain themselves from buying large gifts for the kids (which we will be sure to have a conversation about that FAR in advance of the Christmas season next year!), our goal of keeping with a minimalist Christmas was somewhat of a success.  The kids received one joint gift from Santa, and one DVD each in their stockings.  That along with a letter from Santa wishing them the best of the holidays and a couple of foil wrapped chocolates was enough to thrill them.  We gave our oldest a book and our youngest received a puzzle from us (purchased at the thrift store no less!), and for those who like numbers, we spent $25 on each of our childrens’ gifts this holiday season.

However, as reasonable as Christmas was in the spending and consumption department, I did notice when putting the gifts away in the closet that there is one area of our home that is far from minimalist, and I would argue has become a bit indulgent.  It is the area of children’s clothing.  While I’ve had great success in sticking to a limited wardrobe myself, I seem to have issues with buying clothing for my kids that is either a) a great deal or b) too cute to pass up.  While I’ve spent the last twelve months decluttering my home, which has included kitchenware, bathroom towels, small appliances, endless amounts of toys, shoes, and my own clothing, my kids’ closet has become a bit of a boondoggle.  Granted, they share a room and one very small closet between the two of them; however, there are two large bins of clothing on the floor of their closet that doesn’t even fit them yet and is too big to wear.  Erp.

So here is my challenge for the coming year:  2012 will be the year of not shopping.  Not only will my husband or I NOT be buying them any toys or games (I spent WAY too much time clearing away toys in 2011), but I am holding a moratorium on kid’s clothing as well.  In the past, any time I spent shopping for my kids was dedicated to buying ahead for them, for events to take place in the future: next winter, next summer, next Christmas, ad nauseum.  So for 2012, I’m hoping to not only to enjoy all of the cute things already in their closet, but to develop a habit of not buying ahead.  This will be good practice for living in the moment, as well as enjoying and being grateful for what we own already.  The only things I would consider buying them this year would be socks and underwear, but they have no need for any more of these things currently.  I’m hoping that this challenge will have a positive impact on the amount of space in our home, and I won’t be buying and hanging onto superfluous amounts of clothing for my kids “just in case.” I am also pledging to buy nothing new in the clothing department for myself for the entirety of 2012.  If I do need to replace anything in my already little wardrobe, I’ll be heading to the thrift shop, otherwise, I’m putting a stop to shopping for myself too.  I’m hoping to cultivate a focus on other activities that are more experience rich than shopping.

As a parent who has for a long time preferred shopping for my kids to shopping for myself, I have no idea how this challenge will go.  I would love to hear stories of encouragement of how you have curbed buying for children in your family, or how you have downsized your kids’ wardrobes without too much whinging from the peanut gallery.

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4 responses »

  1. “This will be good practice for living in the moment, as well as enjoying and being grateful for what we own already.”
    Woo hoo! Good for you, Erin.
    I’m really excited for you. I think this will be a great success for you and your family. I’m already envious of your bravery and the quality time you will get to spend with your children. I’m with you all the way.

    • Will power: it’s a beautiful thing… that I don’t possess. One week down, fifty one to go! 🙂

      Thanks for your support and looking forward to reading more of your writing this year.

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