What Really Matters

Starting August 1st, my beloved and I are going to attempt a year-long experiment. We’re not going to buy stuff. I am expecting this to be very difficult, particularly for me, because I love all of these things:


Truth be told, I’m a bit of an impulsive shopper. If I’m having a crappy day at work, I go shopping on my lunch break. Feeling overwhelmed by balancing the demands on my time? Quick trip to Nordstrom ought to sort that out! Is it a cloudy day when I really wanted some sunshine? A new red lipstick will cheer me up.

Clearly, this isn’t a terrific habit, emotionally, financially, practically…and it leads to having WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.

In the beginning of July, my beloved and I were just getting back into the swing of things after vacation and being sick for a while, and we realized that our lives are far too cluttered with stuff that we don’t need or even use. So this month, we’ve been going through our house room by room, and de-cluttering. See exhibit A: one room’s worth of stuff, boxed up and bagged to be donated to charity.


Obviously, there are some exceptions to the “not buying anything” rule. Like food. And soap. Required items for school and work will be somewhat unavoidable. We also have a “safety clause” – if something really important needs replacing, like the brakes on the car, we’re going to buy new brakes.

We’re also okay with spending money repairing things, like having shoes re-soled if they are worn through. For clothing, if it is damaged beyond repair and we actually need it (for example, clothing for work), we can buy a replacement item, but there will be no “yay, it’s summertime, let’s go shopping!” benders. Instead, I’ll be trying to upcycle things as much as possible. (Cue the sewing machine…) For gifts, we’ll try to give experiences rather than things.

Ultimately, we want to focus this year on what really matters.

what matters

We want to focus on people, and traveling, and places we love, and sharing the experience of being human with those we care for. We’ll be checking back in from time to time to report on how the experiment is going. So, starting Thursday, the Year Of Not Buying Stuff will begin.

Wish us luck!
Sumiko and Sean

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