Six weeks in, and my Year of Buying Nothing New is going pretty well. Some things, like white paper, have been hard to source. Freegle this week yielded two bird feeders, and chicken wire for the allotment. I’ve been borrowing and lending a lot more things like books, and giving away quite a lot of stuff including my own produce and preserves. I’m buying the seeds we need this year, though – aiming to save a lot more next year. My Saturday Guardian has mainly been sourced from the Ellie where I have started to lurk, beer in hand, towards closing time. Generally, though, I lack for very little.
Being in my early 50s, I find that I already have enough ‘stuff’ and clothes, probably, for a lifetime if carefully looked after and mended. But age isn’t the only factor: buying second-hand and making do with less seems to come naturally my 22-year old daughter and many of the younger people in our 36-strong Facebook group. Perhaps it’s because they have less money and are also more canny and more aware of the problems of the throw away culture.
I can sense that some of my contemporaries are uncomfortable with this little experiment and project on to me that it’s an exercise in righteous self-denial and even self-punishment. Far from it. As anyone who has experienced fasting or conscious simplicity knows, there can be an increase in connection, joy and freedom.
Freedom Ahead is the title of a lovely new film being shown by Transition Town Lewes this Friday; see here for the trailer. It documents the lives of a growing number of people across the world who are turning to the land and a simpler life, with fewer overheads, less stress and more community and more security. As an eloquent young Indonesian says in the film, ‘Security is in seeds, not money’.