Monday, May 05, 2008

The Compact

Some of you may have heard of it. Some of you may be participating. Some of you don't know what I'm referring to. The Compact is a commitment to not purchase anything new for a year. It excludes necessities like food, cleaning supplies, toiletries and underwear/socks. There may be a few other exceptions... The reason for it is to help eliminate waste and keep things out of the landfills. Also to encourage local business and agriculture. Well, my brother, Ryan, and his wife, Jessica, have made the commitment. Since they began Ben and I have thought about it, weighed the cost and decided to take the plunge. From the moment we made the commitment things pop up in my head and I realize I can't purchase them. Seconds after we agreed on it Ben demanded I get some keys made... "Would those be new keys?" I said. "Crap," was his response. We decided that it was a safety issue and I made myself some keys. But, after I had the keys made, I had a handful of keys in my hand and no ring to put them on! That won't work, I thought. So I went home and scavenged through my kids' toys. I found a key ring that they wouldn't miss and grabbed a little chain off a little craft. then I found another pair of finger nail clippers and stuck the chain through it! I always have clippers on my keys because then they don't get lost! Unless you lose your keys... I mean unless your daughter loses your keys... Then I found an army knife in the junk drawer and, voila, I'm set to go! It's kind of fun to be creative. I expect a little anxiety when there's more difficult issues to figure out. We've got a store here called The RE-Store and there is all sorts of materials and building-type stuff there. I thought it would be great for finding the rest of the garden boxes I need for my deck garden. As soon as I'm ready I'll have to find dirt and compost without buying it from the store... Craig's List will hopefully serve me well.
We're also venturing to clean up our home by not using chemicals anymore. I'm not willing to waste for the sake of transition but, for instance, my Windex is almost gone and, then, I won't need to purchase a squirt bottle for my Vinegar and water solution. One problem solved. It will so much safer and healthier for our family and the earth and it will hopefully make the air in our home not so polluted. I'm not sure when I'll transition out of paper towels. I can't handle the stink and nastiness issue of washcloths/rags for reuse... We have resolved not to but anymore napkins. We have cloth napkins that we pulled out. When we have lots of people over I just don't have enough dishes for a large crowd so, to eliminate the desire to buy paper plates,I 'm going to check out Goodwill and Value Village for a good stack of lightweight plastic plates or something... Not sure what to do about enough cloth napkins. Good thing I have someone's sewing machine at my house!
It's a never ending issue. The desire to buy. I think this will be a good year for us with lots of room to learn!

8 comments:

TNHaus5 said...

I think this is a great idea. Don't know if I could do it. I look forward to the updates on your blog.
Wendy

Eric & Tara said...

I have been thinking of making my own cloth napkins lately...maybe I will!
Sometimes I don't think I could do the compact...there are still so many things to buy for Malak...how would that work??

Julia Stewart said...

Girl, I am so proud of you for 'taking the commitment' of not buying anything new for A WHOLE YEAR....
I would seriously have to plan for that in advance... WAY in advance!

I am excited to hear about the journey on your blog...

also I am happy to hear that you are not using harsh chemicals anymore to clean... may I suggest this link to get you started ;-)

http://highlandmops.blogspot.com/2008/04/safe-cleaning.html

good luck! much love!

Eric and Cheryl said...

Jenn, you have me thinking but not willing to commit, yet! This is a lofty challenge. A year is a really long time, why not start off a little smaller like...a month. :)

Now that seems like something I could do, I wouldn't want to set my self up for failure. We all know I would fail for sure!!!

I miss you, we need to plan a weekend getaway with no children soon!!!!! Sometime in June or July?

Jen said...

It's also not about failing. It's about contributing and doing your best. I'll let you know what my "best" turns out to be!

And, Jules, I think "planning" for it is cheating and missing the point! Aren't you saying "buy anything I might need before I actually make the commitment." Sort of like me going to the dollar store with Emma the day before we started so she could get craft supplies for her bedroom... I didn't actually know we were starting the next day but I was "thinking ahead" you might say...:)

Anonymous said...

Jen,
You might want to check out freecycle.com in your area. It is a way to get stuff (and get rid of stuff) you need/don't need without money exchanging hands. Can be really interesting. I am on our local list, and you would be amazed at what is available. Good luck....I should really do this myself!
Lesa

Jen said...

I found 12 matching plates at Goodwill for $.69 each and 16 matching cloth napkins at Salvation Army for about $7 total! They don't match each other or anything but... that's not the point.

Kaydub said...

Way to go Jen! This could really feel like camping - you know how when you are camping - you just make do and get real creative with daily living. Well, I've always wanted to go camping for a year?!

Garage saleing will be fun!

Marm