Spending a whole year buying nothing new was the starting point for my personal sustainable living journey, so it should come as no surprise that I’m a bit of a fan!
I’ve written a whole post about “Why Buy Nothing New” but in essence, it’s a brilliantly simple framework to use to start to change your buying habits, at the same time as keeping stuff out of landfill and saving a shed load of resources.
If you’re thinking you might like to dip your toes into the wonderful world of Buying Nothing New, here are some tips to get you started!

1) If the thought of a year Buying Nothing New is making you feel a little trepidatious (I assure you you will find it easier than you think!) then why not ease in slowly, with a Buy Nothing New week, or month. Or aim to do a day every week, or a week every month and see how it goes.
I am a bit of an all or nothing type, so for me it was easier to commit to the whole year, but I guarantee that the very act of Buying Nothing New even for some of the time, will make you reflect more on the ‘normal’ purchases you are making. And you may find that you automatically cut down on what you are buying new without even thinking about it.

2) Avoid the shops!
For example-one of the things I found I missed the most was crafting mags like Mollie Makes, and Simply Crochet, but I found I didn’t miss them as much, if I didn’t torture myself by going in to the newsagents and browsing them each month!
Or, if you find that you often buy the odd item of clothing when you go to the big supermarket to do your food shop, you could change supermarket to a smaller one, or just change your route around the supermarket so you don’t cruise the clothes aisles!

3) Hit the shops! The charity shops.
You can find all kinds of things in charity shops-most of which you don’t need, but quite often there are little gems.
They are great for clothes, and for kids toys/clothes, as well as lots of household items.
I always check out the duvets/sheets etc as sometimes you can get really cool retro bedding sets, which give you LOADS of fabric for making, for very little money.

4) Make a list
Because you can’t just pop out and buy whatever you want/need, I found it useful tokeep a list of the things I was on the look-out for, and keep it with me. Then the next time I was doing a round of the charity shops, I could consult my list to see if there was anything I could cross off.

5) Ask!
If you let people know what you are doing, you may find that people start giving you first dibs on anything that they are getting rid of. We were given bags full of boys clothes, fabric, etc.
Facebook is also a great place to ask-just posting on your own personal page saying what you are looking for, especially if it’s just something you need to borrow for a short while.

6) Join your local Freecycle/Freegle group
If you aren’t already a member, you NEED to join!
You can post any items you are de-cluttering and people will come to your house to collect them, saving you a trip to the charity shop. AND you can post WANTEDs for things you are looking for-you will be amazed what people get rid of, and are happy to let you have for free.

7) Be prepared to think outside the box
Having to source things second-hand makes you far more inventive and resourceful.
I found this decision making flow-chart on FB a while back on the Story Of Stuff page (I think they got it from GOOD) It’s slightly tongue in cheek, but it made me giggle, and makes some very good points!


From the GOOD FB page via The Story of Stuff

Ask yourself if you really NEED something. If you are going to have to put time and effort into finding it, you will be surprised how often you don’t seem to NEED something quite so keenly..!
If you really need/want it, ask yourself if you can repairthe thing you need to replace? Or can use something elsein it’s place?
I found that by the time I actually found what I thought I so desperately needed/wanted, I had either learned to make dowithout it, or to make do with something else instead.

8) If you really need something specific, then sites like eBay and Pre-loved are great. You can search for what you want and set yourself a budget. Just remember to tick the ‘Used’ box in the search options, otherwise you could end up inadvertently buying something new!

9) Learn to sew
This is such a useful skill, and allows you to make a whole heap of stuff, and mend lots of things too!
If you don’t have a machine, keep your eye out of Freegle/Freecycle, or post a WANTED, or ask your friends/family if anyone has one taking up room that they no longer use.
If you have no idea how to even thread the machine, or what the heck a bobbin is (this was me 6 years ago..!) then have a look at The Sewing Directory for beginners classes near you, or again, just ask! If you ask around, you may have friends who could show you the basics, or join your local Streetbankgroup, and you may find someone happy to do a skill share/swap

10) Come and join my sustainable living community over on Facebook! It’s a fabulous bunch of people, sharing their ideas, inspiration and top tips for living more lightly. It’s a great place to ask for help with anything you are struggling with, and everyone is very friendly and very lovely indeed!

11) Because all the best Top 10 lists actually have 11 things…
Enjoy it, have fun, be kind to yourself, and don’t beat yourself up if you slip a little every now and then.
And above all, remember:

It’s your money. You get to choose who you give it to, and what you buy.


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