If you’ve read the About page, you know I’m a member of The Compact. If you haven’t, then I’ll tell you now; I’m a member of The Compact. Now that we’ve established that, you’re probably wondering what The Compact is, or maybe you already know and wonder how I’m doing it.
The Compact is a pact you make with yourself or others, not to buy anything new for a year. Of course everybody makes their own rules and conditions. For example: most people choose to buy underwear and socks new, and everybody needs groceries, so those will be bought new as well.
In my household we chose to buy groceries, socks and underwear new. My fiancé, Bas, plays a trading card game called Magic, and he’s allowed to buy new cards. Other than that, everything we buy is second hand.
The thrift shop has become one of our favorite stores, and we buy a lot on “Marktplaats” which is like a Dutch Ebay. We also try to fix things when they break, instead of just tossing them. As you can imagine, all of this has really changed our lives.
Why would you do this? Well, there’s a number of reasons.
Reason number 1: First of all, you’re helping the environment. A lot of damage is done to the environment by producing new items. The materials used, the poisons and fumes that come from the factories, the shipping, etc. By buying items that somebody else no longer has use for, or fixing what you already have, no new items need to be produced, thus lowering the impact on nature.
Reason number 2: You’re creating less waste. By not throwing things out when they’re broken, but fixing them, you create less waste obviously. When you need something “new”, you buy it second hand. This stop that item from becoming waste. Again pretty obvious.
But have you thought about packaging materials? Whenever you buy something new, you create a lot of waste in packaging materials.
I think Bas and I only create half as much garbage as we used to, ever since we started the compact. There’s still food packaging of course, and some things just can’t be fixed. But overall, I say we’re doing pretty well.
Reason number 3: You’re saving money. By not buying anything new, you’re saving a ton of money. Now you may think our house is full of old junk and we dress in rags, but nothing is further from the truth. Because you only buy second hand, you can choose higher quality items. Maybe I lost you just now, so let me explain: If you have, for example, a €200,- budget to buy a new table. (The old one would be unfixable of course) If you buy new, you could spend this money on a crummy, wobbly, cheap table. It would be fine, but it wouldn’t look like much and it would be rather flimsy. If you buy second hand however, you can buy a fine, sturdy oak table, for the same €200,-. It would be used, but it would be of a much higher quality. Same goes for clothing. I would never spend €30,- on a shirt, but the same shirt second hand would cost me about €4,-. So you buy higher quality stuff, for less money.
Reason number 4: You’ll have less junk. You won’t go shopping for fun, so you won’t bring home anything you don’t really need. You’ve probably come home from a day of shopping not even remembering every item you bought. Maybe, you bought a shirt you didn’t really like, because it was on sale. Or maybe you bought a cute item that might look good in your living room. All those items pile up in your house, making it harder and harder to keep everything organized. When you buy less junk, your house will be much easier to organize and keep clean.
Does joining the Compact sound appealing? By all means, go for it! If you’re not sure if you can do this, just have a trail period. Bas and I had a three month trial when we started. By the end of the third month we liked it so much, we decided to keep going. Remember, you make your own rules. If you want to buy shoes new, then do it. I you want to buy you car new, do it. Because in the end, even if you only stop buying some items new, you’re still making a difference. And in the end, making a difference, in your own life or in the world around you, is what it’s all about.
P.s. Have you joined the compact or made a similar lifestyle change? Tell me about it in the comments