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The Compact: Month 1

each mistake teaches us something In January, challenged by Katy of The NonConsumer Advocate, I committed to a perfection-avoiding modified version of The Compact.

I promised not to buy anything new for an entire year. The perfection-avoiding modifications are necessary so as to avoid me sitting naked in the compost pile.

The modifications are:

  • Buying used (with the exception of underwear and socks — because used undies? Ewww.)
  • Buying from locally owned businesses whenever possible
  • Making do with what we have as much as possible
  • Choosing gifts for friends from local businesses, individual artisans, or companies that benefit others in some way
  • And I reserve the right to purchase a new computer this year, if the need arises and mine rolls over and plays dead.

Basically, my mantra has become:

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
(And if you can’t do that, then buy local)

January was a mostly successful month.

I needed a soap dish and found a delightful one on the first day of looking at my local thrift shop.

Thing One needed jeans without holes in the knees for job searching. Can’t look like a ragamuffin and land a job, can you? He visited The Goodwill and came away with two pairs he likes just fine for less than $14.

Otherwise, everything we bought was consumable or medical/safety in nature. With one exception.

And I didn’t even realize it at the time.

I bought a brand new birthday card. At Target. And I didn’t even choose one of the recycled ones.


But, in a moment of perfection-avoiding calm, after a deep breath, I said to myself, “Well, next time we’re downtown, let’s stop by that lovely local shop and pick up a few birthday cards to keep on hand.”

A lesson learned. A plan formulated. A step in the right direction.

If you’re a Compact-er, how are you doing on your commitment?

Photo Credit: Sooperkuh

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Cyndy Newsome February 5, 2013, 11:32 am

    I don’t really have a commitment, but I do a lot of this stuff.
    I truly enjoy it.
    Example: my boyfriends father recently passed and I needed something funeral-appropriate. I got a GORGEOUS dress at Goodwill for $6 and silver heels there for $5.

    • RChicken February 6, 2013, 7:29 am

      I think the key is being open minded to what you might find. And sometimes realizing that you won’t find something. Thank you for your comment!

  • Jackie February 5, 2013, 1:59 pm

    Now that is compact that would be hard to keep around here! I live in a small town that doesn’t have a lot to choose from aside from Walmart or Meijer. We do have some 2nd hand stores but even there the options are limited.
    It sounds like you guys do pretty good! I wouldn’t worry to much about the card from Target… easy mistake to make if you ask me!
    Jackie recently posted..Monday Menu – Challah Bread

    • RChicken February 6, 2013, 7:28 am

      I feel very fortunate that I live in a town with several second hand shops and a downtown area that is revitalizing itself with local businesses. I still have 11 months to go…but keeping in mind that it’s a “modified” Compact helps my perfectionistic head realize that a birthday card is NOT the end of the world. Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Tracie February 5, 2013, 4:08 pm

    I love the idea of this challenge. It is tough to shop local where I live, but there is a Goodwill near my house, and that where we buy most of our clothes.
    Tracie recently posted..Don’t Make Me Choose Between Cookies and Books

    • RChicken February 6, 2013, 7:26 am

      It’s hard to believe that I’ve made it 1/12 of the way through my challenge already! There are things I’d love to have, but really I don’t need them.

  • Teresa @ Working Traveling Mom February 14, 2013, 8:15 am

    We’re not officially Compact-ers, but we do try to be as sustainable as we can – growing our own fruits and veggies, cooking from scratch whenever possible, etc. I also recently started thrift store shopping and found some great things for myself and the kids!
    Teresa @ Working Traveling Mom recently posted..Thrift Store Shopping

    • RChicken February 14, 2013, 8:59 pm

      I haven’t been a Compact-er for very long either…but have probably leaned toward this choice for several years. Thank you for stopping by!

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