Let the Compacting Begin

The empty shopping cart. Symbolic of my first day of The Compact. I wrote about it last week, but never got around to starting it. So this is it...I'm really doing it this time. I'm actually really excited to explore and conquer my tendencies to want, want, want things all the time.

My first "compact moment" came today as I was heading home. We had a birthday party to go to tonight for one of Bella's friends who was turning 2. I decided to stop and get a balloon for her. I also wanted to buy a couple plants to go in some cute little pots I have at the apt. And then I remembered...

"I started the Compact today...what am I thinking?!"

So instead of going into the store and spending money on a balloon, 2 plants, and inevitably more (because I was hungry and would have bought snacks and who knows what else too)...we continued on home. When we got there, Bella and I made an adorable homemade card together to bring to her friend, and I am going to see if I can find some plants on my local Freecycle. Whew! I passed my first test.

With that one little decision, Bella and I were able to spend time creating something together. She learned that it's ok (and BETTER!) to make a homemade gift for someone. And I saved myself at least $25.00. Wow!

Now for the rules. I tend to get very strict with myself whenever I commit to something like this...to the point of making myself crazy. So I will try not to be so hardcore that it causes me unnecessary trauma...but committed enough to make a difference. So, here is what I will do:

  1. I will not buy any NEW items for one year.
  2. I will only buy items that I NEED.
  3. I will not buy any convenience foods when grocery shopping with the exception of bread and chips. I will strive to eat in season, buying as local as possible. I will bring cloth grocery bags to the store, and I will create a weekly menu/grocery list EVERY week.
  4. I will not go out to eat at a restaurant if I have the option of eating at home.

EXCEPTION: I will allow printing of photos. Photography is one of the things I love, and to take that away would greatly decrease my quality of life...which is not what the Compact is about.

My Goals:

  1. To gain perspective and learn contentment.
  2. To be a mindful consumer and live lighter on the earth.
  3. To become more patient and learn to plan ahead as I borrow, barter, buy used, re-use, and recycle.
  4. To payoff the remainder of our student loan debt.

Thanks to Chelee for getting me started on my rule list!

Here is the "Compact Pledge":

In light of the destructive effects of personal greed, we pledge to curb our purchases, cease frivolous buying, and choose to simplify our lives. Excepting only those things needed for work and the health and safety of our families, we pledge not to buy new. Further more, we will actively seek to pass on possessions we no longer want to those who are in need. In doing so, we hope to educate both friends and family about the corrosive effects of being in a constant state of want, nurture in ourselves the uplifting state of giving, thus reducing the load on the environment and creating a more sensible path for our lives. For these reasons, we join the Compact.

- SF site (paraphrased)

Here's to the journey! Who is with me?

Photo: Eva Marieville | Flickr