Trying to be a slightly better person

A month or so ago, I encountered this graphic (someone shared it on facebook, I think) called the Buyerarchy of Needs:


Source: Artist Sarah Lazarovic,

I’ve thought about this a lot off and on, because I think it’s one of the main disconnects in my life: that I think of myself as an environmentally conscious, non-materialistic person, but in reality I shop A LOT and have a lot of stuff and just generally don’t actually do environmentally friendly, non-materialistic things*. And, if anything, this has gotten worse over the past couple years (especially re: shopping on maternity leave, buying baby clothes [AAAAH] and Amazon Prime, all of which I have mentioned before on this blog. Y’all, it is like I have a DISEASE.) So while I hesitate to call it a resolution, I am going to try to make a change in 2018. It’s not a buy-nothing year, but it’s a buy-less with rules year? Not very catchy, right?

*Well, I mean, I do SOME. I am still using cloth diapers at home. And I bring my own coffee mug to Tim Horton’s most of the time. And this past summer I started using a glass milkshake straw instead of the plastic ones they give you. Yes, I HAVE A SPECIAL MILKSHAKE STRAW WHAT’S YOUR POINT.

And I have gotten a lot better at not buying books. I already hardly ever buy new books. But still. I probably still create more garbage than like 90% of the people on this planet, so then bringing your own straw to the fancy coffee place in your neighbourhood to drink your $7 milkshake with doesn’t really count for much, does it?

So anyway, rules for A Buy-Less Year That Needs A Catchier Name:


  • Used books
  • Clothes from thrift stores
  • Things you can buy at a grocery store
  • Things that are part of our Amazon subscription
  • Existing gift cards will be grandfathered in
  • OK to eat out because if we didn’t do this we would literally die


  • New books
    • I already obeyed this rule by putting the new Maureen Johnson book on hold at the library instead of pre-ordering it like I was going to! YES! I am crushing this!
  • New clothes
    • Exception: if Malcolm really needs something and I can’t find it used. James is the arbiter of “really needs” and will approve these purchases. It will be like an old-timey heteronormative family from a classic sitcom, where I run purchases by my husband! Fun, right?!
  • New jewelery, accessories,  shoes
  • Random stuff from Amazon. Non-subscription things need to sit in my cart for 48 hours before I order them.
  • New craft supplies/fabric. Thrifted ones are ok, and I’ll make occasional exceptions and buy something new if I REALLY NEED IT and can’t find it used. Can I trust myself to be my own arbiter of this? No, but no one else can do it better.


So I wrote this post above a couple of days ago(/LAST YEAR), and didn’t have time to finish it, and then I was going to “polish” it and maybe add some jokes (or “jokes”) and then publish it on January 1st. It is now January 3rd and my kid is sick and so far in 2018 I’ve gotten, I don’t know, like 8 hours of sleep or some nonsense and I already feel like giving up on EVERY SINGLE PROJECT ALREADY UNDERTAKEN OR UNDER CONSIDERATION and just, I don’t know, eating carbs and drinking coffee until I die. Yesterday and today I have days off from work and Malcolm is supposed to be back in daycare and I was like THINK OF ALL THE THINGS I CAN DO! Here are a few of the things I was going to do: Swim laps! Do laundry! Make little snacky foods for him that we can easily freeze! Design a vinyl design to make a scarf for myself! Here are the things I did instead: NOTHING! (Actually, not totally true. Before I got the dreaded Daycare Call yesterday I did have an eye exam and work out. So that’s two things.)

But, I haven’t broken any of the shopping rules yet and I probably won’t be able to for at least a few days because I’ll be here, unable to even really go outside, listening to a sad baby scream. So that’s good, I guess? Whatever. Just hit publish. 2018: Year of Good Enough. Again. That’s three years in a row!


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