Sunday, November 6, 2011

Buy Nothing New Month Challenge

So in amongst the craziness of our lives I signed our family up to the Buy Nothing New Month challenge during October. It can't be much harder than what we already do right? I had grand ideas of taking a daily photo and blogging my family's success (or failure) at the end of every week.

Alas that idea went out the window. So this is a very detailed summary of the month of October buy nothing new month (with the exception of food).

WARNING: Picture heavy

I have to say that the best way for us to buy nothing new was to completely isolate ourselves, doing away with all the 'clutter' in our life. We are a good 30min walk away from the major shopping centre, there is no local op shop either which has never ever happened to us before. I can 100% honestly say I haven't stepped foot in an op shop during October. Carlos and I don't drive which meant all our time was spent helping his family clean, de clutter, box and move stuff from his dads which was no longer needed. You could say we were treasure hunting while we helped out.

The first room to get a mini make over was the kitchen. I managed to find a few treasures I know you will also appreciate.

Orange is such a sunny colour. I cleaned these up along with some giant Bushells jars too. They are magnificent aren't they?! I am thinking my wonderful friend Lisa could use the massive glass jars for honey... what do you think hun?

I also discovered an over flowing tea towel draw and linen cupboard. The green floral tea towel and purple 1972 calendar tea towel are just splendid. I have put them away to refashion. A handmade fluoro pink pot holder has no doubt pulled out many a meal from the oven. A yellow and white table cloth which I soaked came out bright and happy again.

This little gem was hidden away in the linen cupboard.
A wonderful mushroom serviette holder.

After the kitchen we were on a mission to clean out a small room to put some bunks (which we purchased off ebay, hurray!!) and create a space/bedroom for our 3 children. What we found shoved, left behind and carefully forgotten was GOLD, pure treasure hunting gold.

This Donald Duck night light was picked up in Disney Land when Carlos and his family visited in 1979. The lamp is stamped 1976. We already have a Donald Duck cookie jar so this was a lovely find.

These are 4 original Star Wars figurines.

C3PO is dated 1977 when the first Star Wars, A New Hope was realised.
Snow Trooper, Trooper Pilot and Lando were all from the following Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes back.

This may have been the find of the century. Carlos knew he had these somewhere. (there are more too but he thinks they are stored in the roof). Bear was absolutely beside himself when Carlos showed him what he had found under the bed. It was a very special moment between a father sharing his childhood toys with his equally Star Wars loving son.

Another find for Bear who can't get enough of MJ.

Carlos has crates filled with records from when he started to DJ in the 80's and 90's. This one is being displayed in the kids room.

Golden books.
These were tucked away and once pulled out were read and re read by new smiling faces! Does anyone get goose bumps when they read a story which they loved as a child?

Abuelo (Grandad) collects Aeroplanes.
All different types and sizes. Having a look right now at the shelves and cabinets I count roughly 50. He has calved his own from balsa wood and even has air line bags, crockery, glassware, you name it he has it!

Our kids know they are not allowed to touch his planes. They resist the natural urge to pick one up and zoom it through the air very well. Abuelo found these model kits and has given them to the kids to put together and play with which is something really special. I love creating and carrying on memories.

Remember these?

It's called a Rubik's Twist.

Kind of like a rubik cube you can manipulate. This is a cobra and shortly after Carlos made a dog. Thanks to google we can make many more sculptures.

Are you excited? I know huh...

This is the original Nintendo Donkey Kong Game & Watch. When the kids saw it they were floored by it. It's great to show them what we had growing up and they seem to appreciate how technology changes...

I remember seeing these but my first handheld game console was the original Gameboy and that was after begging my brother to let me have it to play Tetris when he got the up grade.

Her colour, shape and graphics. Isn't she beautiful?

Our kids will never know just how awesome these were back then. Unfortunately this one was damaged a few years ago and no longer works but we showed the kids the same game using an iPhone app.

Now the kids don't have many toys here while we work on fixing up the bed room so I discovered a local play group which a toy library visits every fortnight. So we can borrow toys easily and choose what suits each childs interest that week.

Best of all it's FREE.

So far we have borrowed magnetic blocks pictured above, dress ups, tween books, read along stories and musical instruments.

I also scored a little something for myself.

Every crafter needs one of these.

A vintage knitting bag with built in measuring tape.

This use to belong to Carlos' mum. It was put aside just for me and I am so excited to hold something so precious. It still contained some of the pieces she was working on, some knitting needles and crochet hooks. Accompanying the bag was an arm full of vintage wool too.

Why stop at crafty things though...

Carlos was on a roll finding all his childhood treasures. He managed to pull out his Batman belt buckle which he has bestowed upon me... Yippeee. Why the excitement you wonder? Because I can pair the belt with my Batman shoes.

I am proud to say we did absolutely no clothes shopping. Not even at a treasure shop which is a feat in itself. Moo and I have been sharing clothes which is really nice... and kind of strange. Bear has managed to squeeze into the same clothes from last Summer plus was given a few more hand-me-down boys things. Carlos is so easy to please. He has been a great customer with Native Instruments and they rewarded him with a free T-shirt. He is a jeans/shorts and T-shirt guy so it's perfect.

Bubble was fortunate enough to receive 3 bags filled with hand-me-down Summer dresses, 2 pairs of leather shoes and other assorted clothes. So she has had fun trying them on one day at a time.

Speaking of receiving clothes, the kids started at their 3rd school this year. We were worried we would have to buy new school clothes right in the middle of this challenge. But it turns out they were happy to help us out. We received a mix of new and 2nd hand uniforms for Moo and Bear as well as 2 new hats.

Now I will let you in on a trick that may (or may not) help your kids find their lost school hats. I did this for Moo when she was in kindergarten and we never lost her hat.

Sew a button either inside the hat or somewhere discrete on the outside. This gives your child something to easily recognise and their school friends pick up on it pretty quickly too.

Now just to end the month on a high note and to drum home the need to consume less, even if it's 2nd hand I invited my eco girlfriend in crime, Michelle along to Reverse Garbage to meet Annie Leonard who is the brains behind the viral short presentation 'The Story Of Stuff".


It will inspire you in so many ways. Support the choices you have made during October's challenge and it may even give you a kick up the bum to take the challenge a little further for yourself... OR better still the planet!!

I also got to meet Narelle from Reverse Garbage. They have been diverting waste from landfill since 1975 for practical and creative re use.

So both Narelle and Annie in the same room was just a little bit awesome to say the least.

So did we buy stuff? No we didn't...
Can't wait to see you next October ready to buy nothing all over again!!


  1. What a huge treasure trove Steph. Who needs an op shop after finding all that goodness. Loving the glass jar and the batman Belt buckle. Gold! Hope you are all settling in okay? x

  2. like wow!!! hit the jackpot or what?!
    and you did sooo well with not buying anything at all, so impressed :)

  3. All such amazing and collectable stuff...

    I loved Reverse Garbage in Melbourne. I worked in schools with craft projects and used it a lot.

    The Story of Stuff is one of my fav's. I email it to all my consumeristic friends.

    What an amazing and lucky month for you. After such a rough period too. Lets hope it's happiness now!

  4. so inspiring and well written steph!! I can't believe I made it into a blog! weeeeeee!!! what an honour!!! It's good to know that all that hard work clearing up wasn't all boring and horrible :D xxxx!!!!

  5. Lots of happy smiles today after reading your blog post x

  6. Wow - I am just open mouthed in amazement at all the great finds. The Donald duck nightlight has to be my favourite. Well done for completing the buy nothing new month, very inspiring.
    Thank you too for the comment you left me and the link. I liked looking through all your maternity pics - you had some good op shop finds! I am going to spend some time now catching up on your blog - new to me- its great.

  7. I have got to get in on this next time. What a great challenge. Impressive!

  8. Wow--Lando looked a little seasick.... ;)

    Love this! I remember doing it at my gramma's house. Wish I could have brought more with me overseas, but I DO have a few kitchen things. That mushroom serviette holder is ADORABLE! :-D