My Making (and Buying) Mantra


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One Little Word is a great way to avoid making specific resolutions, but there is one thing I’m going to try to do better this year that doesn’t easily fit into the “grow” scheme.

I find it’s a lot easier to think about having principles than it is to actually carry them out. So maybe putting into pixels that this is something I’m working on will help me to actually do it.

I say I want to consume less, have less, make more and buy local when I can, but the vast majority of my Christmas gifts were bought online. I keep saying I’m going to stop buying so many books because I have access to a great library — and tons of reading material already in my house — yet I still buy books and have enough unread on my Kindle to last most of the year.

I love the idea of buying organic and local foods, yet I hardly ever shop the local natural foods store and barely went to the farmer’s market last year.

So this year I want to do better on all those things. Here’s my game plan.

Making and Remaking

sewing table
My sewing table is ready for action, with a couple of projects already waiting for me!

My first impulse, instead of buying something new, needs to be to consider if I already have something I could use for that purpose or refashion to suit my needs.

The next level would be making something out of materials I already have or can easily and inexpensively buy locally.

If that’s not an option, can I get something used that would work? Can I buy it new locally? Shopping online, then, would become a last resort.

The Book Problem

Still, I’m not going to go out and cancel my Amazon Prime membership. There are still things I will need to buy online. Lately I’ve been buying a lot of books on knitting and textiles related to the next book I’m writing, and those have to be purchased online because they’re just not on the shelves locally.

(OK, I could go to Nightbird and have them order them for me, but time is rather of the essence on this project.)

But for non-work-related books, the hierarchy goes like this: Can I get it from my local library? Can I borrow the ebook from the library or the Kindle Lending Library?

If no, can I buy an electronic version? Can I buy a physical copy used? Buying a new book in paper form is the last resort.

(I know that screws authors, and I am one so I shouldn’t do that, but I really can’t shelve another book I’m only going to read once. Which also means a decluttering of the bookshelves is in order, but that’s for later in the month.)

Food Stuff

I picked these strawberries at a local farm; one of my few eating local wins last year.

I usually start off each year with really good intentions around organic and local food (not to mention less-processed stuff) and then I get frustrated about having to make multiple trips because we need a particular thing I can’t get there.

That said, I can and should make more of an effort to think about where our food — particularly produce — comes from. It’s possible I could hit the natural food store once a week as a supplement to my regular shopping.

But I also need to be mindful of what I buy because I tend to buy things there because they’re pretty and I’d like to use them and they don’t actually get used. Which does no one any good.

Of course all of this is an ideal, and I know it won’t happen this way every time, but just building in a pause to think about whether I really need something and how is the best way to get it should cut down some impulse buying, increase my crafting and remaking quotient and eliminate some clutter in the house. All great things!

Do you go through checklists like this when you consider a purchase? I’d love to hear about it.

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