Because I enjoy my challenges;

October is Buy Nothing New Month!

It's no newsflash that we first world citizens overconsume. Between planned obsolescence, rapid upgrades to technology and the constant consumer drive to makeover our lives to whatever post-modern retro minimalist bohemian trend is in next-last season, we're consuming at levels far beyond what our planet can sustain. Necessity may be the mother of invention, but creating artificial need is her evil twin.

This month-long initiative challenges us to analyse our consumption patterns and to find alternatives for buying new.I've done this challenge before and found it really rewarding (not just for the bank balance). And yes by 'rewarding' I mean 'frustrating' because it always seems that as soon as you restrict yourself from doing something, a very insistent exception to the rule will soon rear its attention-seeking head.

The obvious first alternative to buying new is of course stealing from other people shopping at secondhand stores. I posted last year about shopping secondhand in Darwin, and it's something I do as often as possible. I'll eventually write some posts about the local op-shops in my area, share a few upcycling projects I've done in recent times and show off some of my own secondhand treasures (because people have been walking round my place like it's a quaint bric a brac shop for years now, in fact a friend once suggested I put stickers with price and origin on everything to save myself some time)

Other alternatives to forking out for new include;
* swapping with friends - borrow books, clothes, magazines
* going to flea markets
* checking out your local online trading site (I've both sourced and sold a decent amount of needed/unwanted items on gumtree and ebay. One important lesson I've learned is that holy shit people will buy any old crap)
* sharing your stuff when you're not using it - either with friends or with your community. Yes you may never see it again but hey, that's the price you pay for being a left wing hippie. The rewards are numerous, however.
* using your local library (all too easily overlooked)
* upcycling (my personal favourite) - this trend has been around as long as the first wheel (which was probably upcycled into the first chandelier); turn old jeans into a tote bag, old bed frames into a garden trellis or old fruit bowls into a lampshade. The Uniting Church in Nightcliff will be running a series of workshops this month under the theme of upcycling. There's also a great new Darwin-based site here with lots of ideas. Source your materials from second hand shops, the local dump or - with the pre-cyclone cleanup happening right now around the northern suburbs (it's kind of our once-yearly equivalent of hard rubbish night) - right off the side of the road. There is a vast amount of resource out there for the reusing - if you have a little time and imagination (or just copy cool ideas off the internet, right?)

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