I know that the following truth makes me a walking stereotype, but few things are as unexpectedly delightful as not buying a sweater last year at Anthropologie for $136 dollars and finding it this year at Buffalo for $20. In the correct size, no less. That’s just happy. Damn the man, save the Empire.

I’ve decided to try an experiment in the name of recycling, living simply, and polar bears. I vow not to purchase any new clothing for the next 2 years. No Forever 21, no Target, no Anthropologie. According to the rules I’ve drafted for myself, I can purchase second hand, used, or vintage clothing, or items that are handmade by individuals (not companies) within the US. Exceptions are: one pair of jeans a year (I know, but you try being me and buying jeans. If I can find them long enough, I swear I’ll go second hand), underwear (for obvious reasons), and socks. I will also allow myself two pairs of practical new shoes each year, but only if a pair I own dies somehow and I can’t find a suitable second-hand replacement. Please keep in mind that practical does not mean ugly. So lay off.

I can make my own clothing, but only from mill end or thrifted fabric. If I receive a gift card, I may use it, but I may not ask for said gift card (so no crying to mommy). If asked, I will encourage people to gift me Etsy dollars or something instead.

And here’s the one that really hurts: Books. This rule also applies to books. Eek. That was even hard for me to type. Thank God for Powells.

The goals are to reduce the impact my purchasing has on the bleeding fingers of small children in third world sweat shops, to reduce the impact my impulses have on my wallet, to detox from the high I get buying stuff I don’t need, and to challenge myself to be creative and resourceful (and maybe use my sewing machine for once).

Yup. Challenge ends 7/1/11. Anyone in?

PS Though I feel it’s a bit jinxy, I have to add another exception: should I need a bridal gown, I’m gonna buy one. Not seeming too likely, but here’s to praying big and not limiting God and the plan and the future and all. Same story if I’m asked to be a bridesmaid again. 😉

  • Maureen June 29, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    >You might want to check out swaptree.com. It's a site that allows you to trade books instead of buying them. It's not completely free though… You have to pay shipping.

  • Tamara June 30, 2009 at 9:40 am

    >I really really want to be in on this with you but what if I fail miserably?I guess I don't buy clothes that often anyway. But maybe more often then I think.Karyn, Girl of Cardigan, I Tamara Leeper am in. There I said it. Feels good and scary all at once. Its hard for a girl short and wide!Now I just have to get over being intimidated by Buffalo. I may have questions regarding your material restrictions…

  • karyn June 30, 2009 at 9:56 am

    >YAY Tam! Welcome to the party. I will confess I actually jumped up and down a little when I read your comment… I'm so thrilled to not be alone! I will support you, and if you fall off the wagon, I will love you still. No worries. Ask all the questions you need.Oh, you so made my day today!

  • Tamara June 30, 2009 at 10:48 am

    >I prove my vow by posting a blog. As if that would solidify to the world that I really mean it…LOL

  • dan July 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    >i'm in

  • thatoneguy July 8, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    >I hereby endorse this endeavor.

  • rawster July 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    >You have to work the library. It's awesome. I search on-line and put books I want on hold. When it arrives, I get an email and it's waiting for me on a shelf. It's free. Don't tell anyone, but I've had two books for over six months now because I keep renewing them on-line. It's almost like I own them. But of course – I do realize I have to return them eventually…