Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Compacting (Again)

In 2006, way back in the olden days when I only had two children lol, I used to frequent the boards at mothering dot com. It was there that I came across the idea of compacting. Sara at walkslowlylivewildly summed it up nicely here. I was SO onboard. I started in January of 2007, and lasted until we moved in April 2007. Not too shabby! Right around this same time, the San Francisco Compact folks were getting lots of press (it seemed like it to me, but I am sensitive to that sort of thing). S0 it was probably good for me to bow out then, anyway, lest I be accused of (finally) being trendy (don't worry, I'm not).

But the lessons I learned in that time were good for me. It was eye opening to not be able to buy anything brand new. It was work to have to search out something second hand. It was educational to have to decide if that item was worth the work.

I think for me, this is one of those things that seems like it would complicate things, but really makes my life easier. So I'm back on the wagon :)

Here are the rules I'm playing by. I plan to take this one month at a time and just go with it. I am accepting that some months may not be perfect, and that that's okay.

1. Avoid Buying
Is this a want or a need?
Is there something I can DO instead of BUY (I LOVE Cindysporch)?
Can I use something I already have?
Can I wait?

2. Avoid Buying New
Shop Craigslist, thrift stores, etc.
Barter, Borrow, Make something
Be patient
Exceptions: personal care items (includes shoes and underwear), food, supplies for projects or schooling (only after I have gone through step one to decide if we need it or can make due with something else), gifts for birthdays (unless I have time to make something)
If I have honestly exhausted all of the above means, and I am unable to wait it out, purchases should support local or independently owned businesses.

3. Food Rules (since this is something we have to buy)
Minimal convenience foods
Buy local and organic where possible
Shop the farmer's markets first
Minimize packaging, buy bulk, bring my shopping bags
If we do eat out (let's be reasonable folks... this is sure to happen... I can only make so many changes at once) we'll keep it to local establishments

My goals:
Embracing patience
Finding contentment in the present
Combatting my tendency toward instant gratification
Cultivate resourcefulness

... and saving a little money toward that Christmas tree farm in Maine won't hurt.


  1. Wow - love this! I had never heard that term before. I think I may commit to a similar plan :)

    Thanks for the comment about my little weekly updates. I feel like I haven't had much time to blog about much else - unless I stay up waaaaay too late. I do use curriculum packages - but then I have a habit of changing them up a bit. It helps to have a foundation, for me, though. I've used Sonlight in the past, but this year we gave Winter Promise a try. I really like them both. If you look down the right column on my blog, you can see what we're using this year, and click on the links to check out the websites, if you're interested. :) Take care. Michelle

  2. We are really on the same page! I have never actually tried compacting - looks like something I should try after I get home from vacation (there's no way we can go to Disney and NOT buy something new LOL).

    This will be a good experiment for us both!!!!

  3. Nope, nope, not gonna play. But I do love your goals at the bottom.