the challenge

What is the challenge?

The challenge is no retail shopping for one year. This means no shopping in retail stores, with the exception of groceries and toiletries.  (I don’t want CPS taking my kids away for my radicalness)  Groceries and toiletries are the only new things we will buy and will, in the process, hopefully learn better ways to make those purchases.  The only places we will shop is thrift stores, resale shops, craigslist or any other places that has second hand stuff.  No major purchases either.  Now the one small issue here is that sometimes I have to buy things at work for stage sets or marketing.  I will still have to make those purchases because I need my job.

Why am I doing this?

Because I felt like it.  Actually, the idea just popped into my head one day and I decided to do it.  I want to live differently, meaning finding creative ways to not buy stuff I really don’t need, to share stuff with others, to not be wasteful and to be more environmentally friendly.

What motivated me?

Media

I have been reading many books lately about poverty and homelessness.  Among those are Under the Overpass, Trolls and Truth and Irresistible Revolution.  I have a long list of other books that I have on my reading list, but one at a time.  😉

The one thing I love about all of the books is these are all about ‘ordinary radicals’, people that have chosen to sacrifice their life to follow Jesus’ examples of living.

I bought the domain name trashsociety.com a while back, with many different intentions of what I could do with it.  We have so much waste in our American culture.  We are raised to do anything and everything that will make our lives easier and more comfortable.  Well I am finally uncomfortable with comfort and irritated with ease.  There is so much suffering in the world and we can all make a difference by intentionally choosing to make some simple changes in the way we live.

A few months ago, I was channel flipping on my TV (my nice big flat screen TV that I just really needed to buy with the monthly satellite TV package that everyone needs in order to live because we must be entertained if we’re awake, right?) and came across a show called Hoarders.  If you haven’t seen this show, check it out http://www.aetv.com/hoarders/index.jsp.  It’s a little bit like watching a wreck.  It’s awful, quite disturbing and yet you want to look at it.  I’ve watched many episodes of it and came to one conclusion.  The only difference between these hoarders that are being showcased for reality show entertainment and the rest of us watching is that the rest of us don’t have a problem getting rid of our stuff.  We buy stuff, lots of stuff and when we are tired of it, we give it away or worse yet, throw it away.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have been guilty of this many times in my life.  And being a person who loves to buy used things, shop at thrift stores and is all about getting a great deal, I appreciate that someone bought these things new.  If people didn’t buy new cars and sell them, there would be no used cars for people like me to buy, which by the way, I drive a 14 year old car that I bought used.  I wouldn’t trade it in even if I had unlimited money.

Art project

I’ve also done a lot of artwork around this topic.  My art show was called ‘excessable’, a word I made up, meaning the excess in our society and just how accessible it is to us.  Go to excessable.com to see the photo collection and gallery showing.

So now that I’ve yapped a long time, let me step down from my soap box.

I will be blogging this challenge.  It started yesterday, May 27, 2010.  Stay tuned…