Affluenza is defined as “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” Is your life starting the show the symptoms? Are your cupboards full to bursting? Boxes of stuff you can’t even identify? Don’t worry – help is at hand.
This month is Buy Nothing New Month, and for those who haven’t joined us on this adventure in previous years that means it’s time to cut down on excess, get conscious about consumption and find creative ways to make what we already own go further.
It’s estimated that Australians spend around $1250 per year on stuff they don’t use, that wind up cluttering up their homes or rotting as landfill. Buy Nothing New Month is a great way to save a pile of money and reboot your attitude to ‘stuff.’
Ready for the challenge? Here are 5 great ways we’ve come up with to help you fight affluenza and survive Buy Nothing New Month in epic style.
1. Meet your local tinker, tailor, cobbler etc.
Think old school. Back in the day, people bought quality objects and did what they could to make them last. They polished their boots, had heels resoled repaired, stitched, super glued and darned they didn’t just wave the magic plastic to buy a whole new item.
So for this month, get to know your local craftspeople and before you throw something away, ask them what it would cost to repair. Work shoes looking a bit down at heel? Take them to a cobbler (they aren’t just in fairy tales folks.) Strap snapped on your favourite handbag? or seam unraveling on a dress? Ask a tailor what it would cost to repair and you’ll find it’s peanuts compared to investing in a new item.
2. Op Shop like a pro
If it’s good enough for celebrities, it’s good enough for you. If you’ve never op shopped before, you’re in for a treat – the eclectic abundance of pre-loved items that come through op-shops, markets, second hand and vintage stores are a creative gold mine for fashionistas.
Not only will you be able to easily find basics like brand name jeans and retro T-shirts, Op shops in posh neighborhoods (where afore mentioned Affluenza is rife!) will frequently yield up designer treasures – think Ferragamo pumps, Calvin Klein shirts and barely worn French Connection shift dresses. Be warned however, paying $20 for designer items can lead to sticker shock next time you’re in a department store – it really is a mindset changing experience.
3. Rescue an old favourite
Do you have an old favorite or two languishing in the repairs drawer with a missing button or three or a too-loose shoulder strap? It’s time to resuscitate them. Pull out the sewing box, run a seam if you need to, Buy Nothing New Month is the time to work your way through your ‘repairs’ basket, pull out those much-loved darlings and breathe new life into them.
Collar looking a bit worn on an old favourite dress? Convert it into a new skirt for summer! Jean hems looking a bit ratty? Turn up the hems and Voila! Capri’s! Mending and Making do can be a great creative cash saving exercise.
4. Host a Clothes Swap Party
Clothes swap parties are a lot of fun in the name of a good cause. You score a bunch of extra space in your closet and some fun new numbers without spending a dime! Invite friends to bring pre-loved but wearable items of clothing to swap, supply a few bottles of bubbly and watch what happens.
Any items that don’t find a new home go to charity. If it’s not something your friends would be into you can attend or convene your own official clothes swap through these cool websites:
5. Excavate your Pantry
Do you have a growing collection of non-perishables breeding at the back of your cupboard and rapidly approaching their expiry date? It’s time to excavate. For the Month of Buy Nothing New, consult the pantry before you hit the grocery store and find some creative ways to use up those neglected pantry lurkers. Open and use that gourmet spice rub you received last Christmas and crack open those tins of pulses (chickpeas, lentils etc.) breeding at the back of the pantry. Find a creative way to use them up, save some money on your weekly shop and stop perfectly good food going to landfill.
There’s probably a million creative ways you can find to beat affluenza. If you’ve got ideas or other inspirational ways to Buy Nothing New that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you!