Posted by: alethacs | November 2, 2008

The Year to Simply Live: 2009

We’ve changed the title of our “Buy Absolutely Nothing Retail Year” to “The Year to Simply Live: 2009.” We think this is more positive and better reflects what we’re trying to accomplish– a simple lifestyle focused on what we have, not what others want us to think we want. Some of you have started asking some questions, so we’ll try to address those. And no, we’re not doing this for financial reasons–but the savings will be an added benefit!
1. Buy nothing retail: We are making a commitment to buying nothing new for one year. We will use what we have, make what we need, repair what is broken, trade with others, and shop consignment if necessary.
2. Eat to live: Yes, the buy nothing retail extends to food (mostly!). We will be growing as much as we can in our suburban backyard. However, we can’t grow everything we need (we are going to try to grow a bit of our own wheat, though!). and so we will need to buy some building block items. But–nothing that comes in a box, no mixes, no breads, etc etc. Fortunately, we mostly do this now, but I will be adding yogurt making and juicing to our homemade lifestyle.
And yes, our year will include not eating out!
3. A media diet: Having eliminated cable/satellite and enjoying a media free lifestyle for our children, we are finally ready to take the final step. Yeah!!! The TV will no longer have a home in our home. We feel at peace without the advertisements and materialistic portrayals of fake people constantly streaming into our psyche. Furthermore, it would be nearly impossible to do #1 without doing #3. Even savvy shoppers and “smart watchers” can miss the ubiquitous unconscious effects that powerful television images impart and brand in our soul. When I realized I have difficulty clearly remembering my grandmother’s face (she died 8 years ago), but could vividly recall a Disney film from childhood, I knew it was time for it to go. I want more images of loved ones imprinted in my minds eye and TV simply gets in the way. What if there were no media images to put in, just the faces of my children? I’ll let you know!

4. Goodbye Junk mail: Hand in hand with the media diet is also not subjecting our consciousness to the catalogs, magazines and other junk purveyors by inviting them into our home. For instance, I find when I look at a home magazine, maybe not right then, but a some point, I find myself “needing” something for the home that will get that magazine look. Oh, it’s not usually expensive (although it certainly could be!)–just some containers to help organize or some such. Without these images, I am perfectly happy with what we have. What does looking at that mag get me? Nothing, but a feeling of dissatisfaction or a nearly unconscious wanting. So, we are cancelling (as much as we can–these guys are good at worming their way in even if you don’t want them) all catalogs that come to the home–those that make it will be dropped right into the recycle container without ever crossing the threshold. BTW–did you know the USPS has a vested interest in keeping the junk mail coming to your door? To opt out, visit:
5. Cash on the barrel. I was in a store the other day and at the register was a sign saying they were no longer accepting cash for certain purchases. Repeat: the store was no longer going to accept money. Like many, we have used credit cards for convenience, but now we feel we can no longer support a system corrupt with predatory lending practices (find out more here: Research shows that when you pay with credit rather than cash or check, you tend to spend twice as much. I know we have definitely fallen prey to this, considering how much stuff we’ve accumulated that we don’t need. So, goodbye plastic!


  1. kudos to you for taking this huge leap to live “simply”! i’m nowhere near where you are, but i loved reading what you aimed to do, and fully support you! as for the store that no longer accepted cash… it just shows how clueless the owner must be. “real” money is in the form of gold – and if i could ask for payment in gold – that would be my preference 🙂

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