Hi lovely Meadow Rue readers. How are you? Happy to be back in a routine? Sad that the bustling holidays have left us all somewhat…befuddled? Me too. Meeee too.

sick Allie

I apologize for what I’m certain was my longest absence from blogging since starting this endeavor. This little thing I’ve named the mutant, death virus attacked by body last Sunday. By Monday I was immobile and it wasn’t until Friday that I started to feel normal again. It left me with a lingering, hacky cough as its souvenir. Really a thoughtful bug. I’m warning you folks, it’s going around. And it’s mighty contagious. You might consider wearing a mask. Just think about it.

But I’m recovered and way past due for a Year of Nothing New update. Agreed? So far, six months of Nothing New has been a real party. And I mean that seriously. I’ve saved money in the retail arena and I have several new pieces of clothing that I absolutely love! One question I’ve been asked over and over is if I’m going to go on a shopping spree on July 1st, 2013. The answer is no.

makefixborrow

First, this project has literally transformed the way I think about what I buy. I’ve become that opinionated hippie who is annoyed and saddened with the capitalist culture we live in. That’s not to say I don’t indulge often in consumer tendencies (I have to eat after all), but I’m so much more concerned with who I’m giving my money to now. It was a pleasant realization to understand the power I have in choosing where my dollars go. Please choose wisely, people. Make sure your monetary transactions reflect your values. It feels so much more honest to live that way, I’ve found.

vintage thrifted loafer shoes

Second, recently, having too much “stuff” is driving me absolutely batty. I’ve started to politely refuse useless gifts and free swag (a girl does NOT need 15 metal water bottles). I plan on doing a major purge of most of what I own in the coming months, simply because my soul is craving it.

gift

Finally, what’s probably the hardest for me, is the guilt of not being the perfect “nothing new” blogger. My Christmas gifting performance was dismal, mainly because I had too little time to make special, handmade items for each person I care so much about. I know in my heart that the my family and friends aren’t concerned with how much money or time I spent crafting the perfect gift for them. But I feel like I continually fail in this arena, and buying gifts is just so much easier. I’m not sure where to find a sense of mental balance for myself here. I’m still looking for confidence when it comes to involving others in this Year of Nothing New.

Like everything else in life, I’m still working on figuring out this whole endeavor. What it means for the blog, for this year, and how it fits into my life as a whole. What’s most exciting, is that my values are becoming startling clear. Especially after a dark period of my life where I never really knew what I wanted or who I was. That isn’t to say it’s easy, but it sure as hell is a lot of fun. Join me?

I’m over a month into my year of nothing new. I still think it’s the bee’s knees. I have several new closet staples and I’m feeling more inspired than ever.

But bee’s knees it may be, there are still lessons learned. Some painful, some not so much. All of them are making this project a million times more interesting that I ever planned it would be.

Five Lessons Learned from 30 days of Nothing New

1. There is a world beyond thrift stores. It’s called eBay.

2. The word “vintage” is thrown around on online marketplaces like it’s the new “organic”. Because apparently something newly manufactured and sold direct from the manufacturer, is still considered vintage. Who knew?

3. Plan ahead. Don’t put off making that gift for an upcoming birthday. Don’t put off finding those pair of boots you need for a timber skills workshop. The added stress of not being able to go pick something up at the store at the last minute will make your handmade gift feel less special, or will make you start to resent this crazy idea.

4. Be more articulate (read: polite) about your reasons for buying nothing new. Because simply saying, “Do you have any of those used?” is a little off-putting to store owners.

5. DO NOT GO TO TARGET UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If you need toiletries, get them at the grocery store. You’re setting yourself up for failure the minute you walk through those automatic sliding doors.

Overall, the momentum is rolling on this crazy idea of mine and I have more pictures, tutorials, and potential projects than I have the time to tell you about. Still, I’m so inspired that I am just dying to get the word out. I’m contacting other bloggers, commenting on my favorite blogs, and consistently watching my readership slowly increase. It’s exciting and a true confidence builder. It’s also scary as hell. But I want to share it. I want others to connect with the project and see their own creativity come to life when they’re forced to make, fix or borrow.

All of that being said, I realize that I have miles and miles to go before I can even call myself a blogger. I have blog design dreams and a real goal of organizing this space into something a bit more cohesive in the near future. It will happen.

I have so much appreciation for you loyal readers and commenters. I know who all 13 of you are…I think. If you feel so inclined, spread the word! I’d love to see a community grow from this project that has already given me so much. And please, please, please give me all of the constructive feedback you can think of. It’s much needed.

Oh friends. I have such grand dreams. Such ambitions, but sometimes little motivation.

My life feels like a constant battle between what I should do and what I want to do. I’m letting go, more and more, of the shoulds, and embracing the wants. And trying to feel less guilt.

It’s working. Slowly.

Enter my new project.

I’ve had a grand dream for a while now. It was conjured up during a walk on a Hawaiian beach with my amazing little mama. It has been lodged firmly in my brain since that November day, refusing to leave. It feels less like a should, and more like a want. So I’m going with it.

It’s probably going to be hard. And frustrating. And I’ll probably think about giving up more than once.

But, lately I’ve been loving that little quote, “They didn’t say it’d be easy, but they said it’d be worth it.”

This is going to be so worth it.

Confused? Yeah, I figured. So here’s the scoop.

Starting today, July 1st, I will not buy anything newly manufactured, firsthand. No new clothes, no new sporting goods, nada. Clothes will be bought secondhand. Broken items will be fixed, rather than replaced. And for those items that I use so rarely, I will simply borrow them from friends or family. For 365 days. One year, folks.

Of course, there are certain items that will have to be bought new. So my small list of excludables is:

-Food: No brainer. And kind of gross to think about used food. This includes the beagle’s eats.
-Toiletries: Also a no brainer. This includes anything found in a typical girl’s shower or under her bathroom sink. For hygienic issues, obviously.
-New edition textbooks that can’t be bought used.
-Possible purchases for a new entrepreneurial endeavor next spring. These are even grander dreams that we’ll save for another post.
-Digital files: Music, audiobooks, movies. Because if I didn’t buy these firsthand, I’d be considered a criminal. And I ain’t no law breaker.

That’s it.

This next year will be full of craigslist scouring, ebay auctions, and lots of Facebook posts searching for items I need. I will be spending many hours in thrift stores, and many more hours behind my sewing machine. I am so excited. Pumped, one might even say.

It’s not all butterflies and rainbows though. I’ve quickly realized that I am going to have to plan ahead for EVERYTHING. And I don’t do that. Ever.

No longer will I be able to hop on over to Target for a cheap basic tank for a particular outfit. New climbing equipment can’t be picked up at REI on my way to the mountain. My dreams of a shiny new ipad? Out the window.

Why am I doing this you ask? Good question.

For starters, I spend way too much money on things I just don’t need. Having to spend several hours or even days looking for, buying, and acquiring an item that I deem necessary will force me to reevaluate a need versus a want.

Also, I’ve found my creativity repurposing thrifted items has, well, rather blossomed in the last year, contrary to this post. This challenge only makes me feel more inspired. This might be the year my wardrobe gets an overhaul!

I’ve received some mixed feedback about this project. People are skeptical. Most don’t understand why. At this point, this project is for me. My soul feels like it needs this. Something to call my own, and something that will be so gratifying.

That being said, I’d love some support. Can you do nothing new?