Spending Detox 2018

Spending Detox_edited-1

The Beginning | January

2017 was not a good year, but the good news is that 2018 is just around the corner! … and it’s bound to be at least as bad. In these uncertain times, we are compelled to take control over those few things that we can control, and make a difference, however we can.

Although we are cardholding Canadians and therefore unable to help with all of the re-election down south, there is one thing we can do: we can curb our spending habits and get rid of all the excess in our homes.

How does it help?

With the rise in fast fashion, consumption is at an all-time high. People are buying more than they can afford, and then tossing it out and buying new stuff (that they still can’t afford). Meanwhile, big corporations make a killing off of the new consumer class, and stand to gain from us spending more and more each year.

This isn’t just an issue of capitalism – here are some other ways that our consumer habits are costing more than we realize:

The Environment

Producing consumer goods uses fresh water and produces greenhouse gases. They also take up space in landfills when we’re through with them. By limiting our spending only to what we need, we can prevent further waste from industry, and limit our carbon footprint. That all sounds good to us.

Social Welfare

Inexpensive consumer goods are usually inexpensive for a reason. When you consider the exploitative labour practices occurring in less-developed nations, it makes the behaviour of the consumer class seem even more careless and destructive. This Forbes article sums up the impact that fast fashion has on women in particular.

We wouldn’t suggest that the best thing to do about exploitative labour is to eliminate these jobs altogether, of course – everyone deserves the right to earn a living. What we suggest is that instead of putting money in the pocket of fashion companies like H&M and Forever 21, consider making a donation to your favourite charitable organization and let the experts handle what to do about poverty overseas. We certainly aren’t going to solve anything by continuing to put cash in fashion CEOs’ pockets.

Mental Health

Clutter has an impact on our mental health. Getting rid of it – and then, committing to keeping it out – could be instrumental for a person with mental illness. (It could also not be that – everyone’s different. But I’m willing to try it.)

Clutter is often an insidious and seemingly harmless outgrowth of people’s natural desire to appropriate their personal spaces with possessions … when [clutter] becomes excessive, it can threaten to physically and psychologically entrap a person in dysfunctional home environments which contribute to personal distress and feelings of displacement and alienation. (Roster et. al, 2016)

For a person with high-functioning anxiety, such as myself, clutter seems to amass as I come up with new projects that I want to do, and every time I see it, it reminds me about how I failed at that (unnecessary) project. I am willing to try minimalism if it ends the cycle of feeling perpetually under-accomplished.

Creativity

Studies suggest that clutter is useful for creative, out-of-the-box thinking, but a clean space is better for productivity – maybe this explains why we keep coming up with new story ideas and never write any of them. For people who need to think creatively, an empty, white room is likely not the answer – but neither is a giant pile of trash. There is probably a middle way.

Spending Detox 2018

So let’s get down to it – what are we going to do to make a difference this year?

1. No spending on unnecessary consumer products

Necessary is defined, for our purposes, as anything that we use on a daily or almost-daily basis that we do not already own or has run out – for example, cosmetics, hygienic products, cleaning supplies

2. No spending on clothing, period, unless one of the following items is ruined beyond repair and needs to be replaced:

– Work attire
– Winter coat and boots
– Practical basics such as white and beige undergarments, socks, plain t-shirts.

* Exceptions will be made for one-time projects given that they are actually completed (i.e. cosplays, special baking supplies, an artistic project) with the understanding that the item will be returned if it is not used in a timely manner.

4. One item will be disposed of for every day of 2018. If a day is missed, catch-ups are allowed.

An item is one garment, product, etc. but not one part of a set of products – i.e. you can’t throw out a pencil crayon a day for 25 days, that is obviously cheating.
In the event that rule #1 is broken, an additional item should be disposed of for each unnecessary item purchased – but it would be best to avoid this altogether to minimize waste.

5. Items will be disposed of responsibly, within reason.

Anything that can be donated will be donated. Expensive, good-quality items may be sold – consumer-consumer markets are generally a good thing for all of us, if we’re not too lazy or introverted to participate. Electronics will be either sold, donated, or recycled at an appropriate facility. All other items, the kind which nobody in their right mind would ever want, may be thrown out, with the understanding that this is a commitment to being less wasteful in perpetuity – the long-term result will be worth it.

We invite you to join us in the spending detox 2018. Comment, tag us (@switchsisters on twitter and instagram) and let us know if you’re up for the challenge!

Image result for instagram logo three will be documenting her progress on this special instagram account: @why_did_i_buy_this