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Monday, October 09, 2006

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.

- Aaron Highe at the SF site (paraphrased)

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

Photo: Eva Marieville | Flickr

25 Comments:

Blogger Gavrielah said...

This is sooo awesome, Sara. I'm sure you'll do great! I want so badly to take this step as well....can't figure out what is holding me back.

Good luck!!!

10/09/2006 10:10 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

gavrielah ... thanks for the encouragement! Could you start small? A mini-Compact lasting only a month? Or even a 2-week trial run? :) Maybe that would help you work through your fears...

10/09/2006 10:18 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

I've been mulling it over since reading your first post. I'd have to make an exception for the businesses, which are most of my purchases anyway, particularly lately.

But I keep wondering - what about consumables like garbage bags, paper, ink for printers, things like that?

10/09/2006 10:59 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

"...excepting only those things needed for work and the health and safety of our families, we pledge not to buy new."

For work...you're good.
Garbage bags....could come under health/safety. Paper and ink...not sure. It's more the idea of just not consuming any more than you need to consume. You should definitely do it with me! :)

10/09/2006 11:07 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

Sara
Your posts are very inspiring...I need time to ponder how to put some of this into action. Keep it coming! I feel like I gain so much perspective by reading your blog. Thank You!

10/10/2006 3:21 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Good luck! I don't really buy many things anyway, but in the past I've tried to do a no-spend month and I end up wanting to spend more just because I'm not supposed to. I would buy food a lot or something just to spend money. :-( I'm going to think about doing the Compact. It sounds really great, and a do-able way to really make a difference (imagine if thousands did this!).

What do you plan on doing for Christmas? We will make homemade gifts for just about everyone, but that still requires buying some things.

10/10/2006 4:14 AM  
Blogger angela said...

Sara, you are a real inspiration. I just got off of a 6 week fast of buying clothing and boy was it hard.
I too like gavrielah want to embark on this journey...i don't know.
i'm thinking.....

10/10/2006 4:37 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

I am with you, as a curious spectator, and as someone who does a lot of this as part of a routine I put in place over many years... will really look forward to hearing about your journey with this...

oh, and on the meal thing, I kept track for four weeks and developed a monthly plan... this was easier in the long run and provided variety (though my kids sound like they're at a restaurant..."Hey, Mom, what's on the menu tonight?" :)

10/10/2006 4:42 AM  
Blogger Heth said...

I love that you're doing this.

10/10/2006 5:13 AM  
Blogger km said...

You go girl! I know I'll be convicted and encouraged reading about this adventure.

10/10/2006 6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay!!! You're on board. Way cool.

10/10/2006 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anna said...

I think it is so cool and inspiring that you are doing this, Sara. Hey, do you want to trade photography for handmade (by me) baskets (for gift giving or to keep for yourself)?

10/10/2006 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome aboard!

Isn't it funny how at first you sort of "forget" you're compacting. LOL

Congrats on the homemade gift idea.

As far as lists go, I'm such a "lister". I have lists for lists. LOL

So glad to have you as company.

10/10/2006 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh gosh,I can't imagine not buying books for a month,let alone a year!
I can't wait to read your chronicle of mindful spending.
Blessings,
Kim in Indiana

10/10/2006 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on starting! DH and I have decided to definitely give it a go, I just need to post my compacting manifesto ...

10/10/2006 7:07 PM  
Blogger PeakEngineer said...

Sara,
You have some great thoughts on working to reduce our consumption. These first steps go a long way towards easing ourselves into a simpler, happier life.

10/10/2006 7:09 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Kim in Indiana...
If books are an important part of your life, you wouldn't have to completely give them up. You are "allowed" to buy used things...and there are TONS of used books out there :)

10/10/2006 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Kim in IN. said...

Sara,
Yipee!! I most always buy books on half.com!

10/11/2006 4:33 AM  
Anonymous shawn said...

This is very inspirational. I'm anxious to hear more about your experiences.

10/11/2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger denise said...

I am thinking I will give it a go in January... after the holidays and after the business gets going.

Keep me posted on your journey!

10/12/2006 8:44 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

what is the SF site noted at the end of the pledge? ...maybe i missed it in your entry. so wonderful!!

10/16/2006 9:50 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Hi Allison,
I added the link in my post now. I also have more links in the first paragraph of this post. Thanks!

10/16/2006 1:21 PM  
Blogger Myna said...

I'm with you :) Haven't thought through it, but I'll give it my best go.

10/17/2006 1:56 PM  
Blogger Deeapaulitan said...

Sara,
We are moving to a new community soon. Its always easier to begin anew when everything around you is new and different, but I would like to do this as well. I'll begin now, and hopefully have it well underway by the time we arrive in our new home!

10/21/2006 4:31 PM  
Blogger guadalupeMARS said...

I've just started blogging - your blog is beautiful. I love your compacting idea. I'm a minimalist at heart but it is hard to do with a family. But I am going to try. Stuff is such a distraction from our God-given purpose... just as you discovered by avoiding the store and spending time with your daughter - the root of joy!

1/07/2007 9:25 AM  

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