What happens when you tell your family of your grand idea to give up shopping for a year?
A - They jump up and down in enthusiasm, yelling "goody!"
B - They think you've gone over the edge, telling you you're crazy.
C - They start searching for a time machine, looking for transport to October 31, 2010.
If you guessed A then you're a bigger optimist than me. B would be more accurate, although my children may just consider C, too.
Actually, I've been thinking about giving up shopping for a year for some time. I read a book about another woman who did it a few years ago. I've also seen a few articles and blogs dealing with the same idea. It seems that plenty of people are feeling the need to cut back on their spending habits.
I don't know that our family spends any more time shopping than other families but I have been feeling the need to make some changes for a while. For better or worse, I am the main procurer for our family: groceries, personal products, clothing, household and educational items - you name it, if we need it, I buy it. It seems as though there is always something that is being added to the never ending shopping list.
Lest it sound like I am an unhappy captive on forced shopping trips, I confess to enjoying them a little too much. Especially for books. I have a great affection and appreciation for the written word. Just ask my husband. He helped lug the many, many heavy book filled boxes from our old house to this one when we moved here almost five years ago and I've only added to my collection since then. My bookshelves are getting pretty crowded though and I've begun to ask myself when is enough, enough?
It's not just books, either. We're a family of five and all of our closets are filled to capacity. Be it clothes, kitchen appliances, toys or books, we have more than enough of everything. I dislike clutter and I'm beginning to feel crowded. I want to simplify. I want more than just space in my home. I'm seeking space in my life.
After much thought and deliberating I decided that giving up shopping for all but the necessities for a year would be an interesting challenge for all of us. I decided on November 1st as our start date because I've already done the majority of our Christmas shopping for this year. With our budget feeling the pinch of the downturn in the economy I had started shopping last summer to spread out the expense of purchasing Christmas gifts. I figured, no time like the present, so we're not waiting but just jumping right in.
It's far too soon to tell how things will go but I'm hoping this experiment leads to less materialism, less time spent shopping, fewer bills and greater peace, ingenuity and appreciation for what we already have. Check back in and see how we're doing!