Recently I’ve been thinking about how I can make more of buy nothing day. Buying nothing can end up being a bit of a passive endeavour – staying at home, eating leftovers, not shopping on the internet – it’s possible to “buy nothing” by “doing nothing” and that’s not really the intent.
There are lots of options to make it a more active experience. I could choose to make it a day I visit friends or search out free events, cook some fantastic creation from cupboard staples or practice the guitar (this last may be a stretch given I’ve ever played a musical instrument in my life).
For me though what I love about buy nothing day is that it creates a moment of pause, a gap in the month when we reflect on consumption and on stuff that we are accumulating (and throwing away) day after day, week after week. I like to think I’m a pretty good waste reducer. I have a ecoffee cup, I take various bags & bottles to the shops to refill, I drink tap water, I buy second hand, I compost, I take lightbulbs to the tip. Yet stuff still accumulates, month after month my house gets fuller. Quite often stuff accumulates precisely because I dislike waste – plastic containers are kept for leftovers, tights for tying up plants, clothes to be repaired, half cans of paint, nuts & bolts & screws because they might be useful.
Each month I plan to tackle one of those piles of things I keep because they might be useful and find someone who might just use them. Freegle, Streetbank and Nextdoor are all my friends in this. This month it’s the shed. A hosepipe, some garden string, odd bits of wood and some shelving brackets have all found a new home and a new life. A peaceful hour sorting out nails, screws and other bits and pieces into those old plastic containers that I hang onto because they might be useful meant that even these found a home to a delighted diy-er.
There’s something personally satisfying in finding new homes for accumulated stuff. Yes, it can take a little bit of organising and a little bit of thought to make stuff usable to someone else but it definitely adds something to my buy nothing day challenge.