Buy-Nothing Failures

We bought Sophie some new summer-weight shoes. She had one pair of shoes, already, but they seem to make her hot. She kicks them off, then refuses to put her bare feet on dirty ground, fastidiously lifting her feet up high whenever we try to lower her down outdoors, carefully holding her feet out of the way and giving us a look like, “Mommy, can’t I please have some flip-flops?” So we went and got her new shoes, breaking our buy-nothing pledge. Then, since it was broken already, we went out for dinner. I felt guilty out of all proportion to this minor transgression. Ben joked that he was honoring buy-nothing month by ordering a small beer instead of his usual large.

We’re visiting B&C in their Big Bear Cabin this weekend, and I suspect that it will be hard to transport the cloth diapers (washing & drying them every day is fine at my house, but at someone else’s?), so I think I may buy plastic diapers for that trip. And we’re starting to need laundry soap, body-soap, and deodorant. One of my favorite things about buy-nothing month was that it kept me from having to make trips to annoying big-box stores. My local farmer’s-market supplied all my needs. Unfortunately, that only lasted for half a month.

At least the buy-nothing exercise meant less trips to annoyingly large stores. It meant some creative thinking: yesterday, when B&C gave us 40 wonderful plant-cuttings that we don’t yet have room to plant, I wasn’t sure what to do until I remembered that our neighbors had a “free dirt” sign on a pile in their yard. I had enough spare pots, saved from earlier plants because I’m just weird about throwing out stuff like that. So everything got planted in pots, and we avoided the ridiculousness of purchasing dirt — or even the ridiculousness of purchasing plants, when they do grow free. That was a benefit of buy-nothing month.

Also, we kept giving and getting free stuff. That felt good. And we learned that our lifestyle is already pretty minimal, pretty non-consumerist, except for going out to eat. And baby shoes. And, soon, diapers, deodorant, and soap.


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