Thriving During “Buy Nothing New” Month

Posted by Jill Chivers in Shop Your Wardrobe Strategies

I’m an ambassador for Buy Nothing New Month, a relatively new conscious consumption initiative started 3 years ago out of Melbourne.  When I first heard and read about Buy Nothing New Month, I thought I was reading my own website – the BNNM messages are so congruent and aligned with my own that the overlap is almost complete.

Buy Nothing New Month is about inspiring people to think and behave differently about their consumption patterns, for one month only – October.

It encourages us to think about where what we buy comes from.  I love that, as so often its easy to get caught up in the high of the buy, the thrill of the kill, that we can forget that someone had to produce this thing we’e thinking about buying.  Where and who did that? I’m especially drawn to these questions when I see advertisements for discount department stores and all the gasping that goes on over $3 kids t-shirts and $5 throw cushions.  Where did those items come from?  Who made them, and what did it ‘cost’ those people to be involved in that production?

Buy Nothing New Month also encourages us to think about what happens to our stuff when we are finished with it.  Some studies suggest that the average Westerner is responsible for about 30kg (60 pounds) of non-biodegradable fabric waste from clothing disposal alone. That’s a lot of clothes being discarded that won’t break down and aren’t part of the cycle of life. 

And my favourite part is Buy Nothing New Month encourages us to come up with alternatives to buying new.  Those alternatives include swapping, borrowing, buying second hand or gently pre-loved, sharing, revamping, upstyling and in other ways extending the life of the items we already own.  This option isn’t included in their list of alternatives to buying nothing new but it’s one of my favourites: can you see it as an adventure to do without it? 

And directly from the site, Buy Nothing New Month is “easy. It’s fun. It’s moving from consumption-driven to community-driven. It’s good for us, our wallets and our planet.”

It’s an honour to be an ambassador for Buy Nothing New Month.  You don’t have to be officially aligned with the initiative to get involved, you can have your own version of Buy Nothing New Month, in your own way and with your own people. 

What kinds of adventures might you have?


In Other News

In alliance with Buy Nothing New Month, The Clothing Exchange are hosting National Swap Day on Monday 8 October.  They’re holding a number of events – their biggest swaps ever is the goal — and I’m speaking at the Melbourne event in Federation Square from 6pm.  Check out The Clothing Exchange for more.

And finally if you haven’t checked out our new YouTube channel and video, you can click here to do so.  While you’re there, please feel free to leave a comment!


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    5 Responses to “Thriving During “Buy Nothing New” Month”

    1. Julia says:

      Well, I didn’t know about “Buy Nothing New” Month before I geared up to sell used stuff at a resale event this weekend, but I’m going to be selling clothing outgrown by my kids. 🙂 I may be doing some buying, as well.

      I think we’re mostly set for “stuff” right now; I have one wardrobe concern about one hypothetical situation, and I can refrain from taking care of it by buying something new this month, unless it moves from “hypothetical” to “real,” but I can at least try Goodwill first. (I do not own a purse suitable for me to take to a funeral. I’m hoping there will be no funerals at which my attendance is expected this month!)

      One of the kids might need new shoes. I doubt anything else will come up requiring a purchase of anything new. 🙂

      • Jill Chivers says:

        hi Julia – good to see your comment here… sounds like you have a busy weekend coming up with your resale event. If the Buy Nothing New initiative takes your fancy, you could consider doing more things throughout October with that in mind – there are so many ways to get inventive about what we need (including reviewing what we really need). And even if something comes up that you would normally think to buy new, it can be an interesting experiment to see what other options you have.

    2. Maureen says:

      When the economy tanked I took on the “buy nothing new” for years not a month. 🙂

      I’ve never been a shopaholic but I know in the past I have bought things I truly didn’t need and now wonder where the heck to keep it all.

      • Jill Chivers says:

        hi Maureen – thanks for reading and commenting, nice to see you here! Well I have been a shopaholic and I can certainly relate to buying things that aren’t needed (and there isnt’ room for) — I think all of us have fallen into that boat from time to time. Which is why initiatives like Buy Nothing New Month are so terrific – they offer the opportunity to take a pause, think a bit differently and get creative. I really like that. And yes, there’s nothing like a tanking economy to start thinking differently about wht is really needed – those red high heels are probably not a necessity! (yes, that was me…)

    3. Julia says:

      So, how did I do?

      I think I bought one new article of clothing for myself. I bought new underwear (and lots of it) for one of the kids, as we’d finally found underwear that was comfortable for him in his size. (He’s autistic and has sensitivities to fabrics and tags and such, and I finally found some underwear where he tolerated the waistbands well.)

      I had birthday money, and if I’d found out before I blew most of it on books that I was going to have to travel to where it’s colder than I like, I would have bought silk longjohns, instead. But I found the ones that were packed up before the last move, so I didn’t need to buy more anyway!

      I was also more mindful of the non-clothing, non-book purchases I was making.

      Thank you for reminding me to be mindful!

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