A year without buying anything except the bare necessities. A year of making do with what I have. By Meg Hourihan.Make It DoTumblr (3.0; @makeitdo)http://makeit.do/Avoiding the seasonal clothing trap<p>A reader emailed asking:</p> <blockquote> <p>Any suggestions for how to avoid the lure of new clothes that comes with the change of seasons? The emails and catalogs are calling to me…</p> </blockquote> <p>The idea that we need new clothes for a new season sure is a win for marketers, but something I’ve never understood from a practical point of view. I’ve lived most of my life in the Northeastern United States. Every fall I pack away my warm-weather clothes and unpack my wool and heavy pants. Which means each fall and spring I unpack a whole new wardrobe!</p> <p>Usually the excitement of seeing a t-shirt or a skirt I haven’t seen in six months (coupled with the warm air) is enough “new” to satisfy me. Especially if I unpack something I’d forgotten I even owned.</p> <p>But realistically that’s hard. So two concrete suggestions:</p> <p>1. Allow yourself to purchase one new “seasonal” item to freshen up all your leftovers from previous years. I just did this today, in fact: a lightweight pair of pants for spring that I plan to wear while sitting at an outdoor cafe in Paris with an old friend.</p> <p>2. Get rid of all those catalogs and emails! Unsubscribe from the emails. Cancel all the catalogs. I use <a href="http://www.catalogchoice.org/" title="Catalog Choice" target="_self">Catalog Choice</a> to make it really easy to cancel catalogs. It lets you track and resubmit requests when somehow you keep getting those same tempting catalogs!</p> <p>The less stuff I see, the less stuff I want and need. So what works for me is to see less. Best of luck as you fight the temptation to keep buying and buying and buying.</p>http://makeit.do/post/41956642651http://makeit.do/post/41956642651Thu, 31 Jan 2013 13:30:15 -0500shoppingI love the idea of Make it Do. I try to do the same, mostly by reminding myself that buying things does not bring happiness. You wrote that you have a few shirts/pants/etc. I think that's awesome. But how do you address the need for different clothes for various situations? I keep several sets of clothes, from weddings to weekend casual to nights out. I try to buy versatile classics but still - it all adds up, even when pared down! Do you have any suggestions? Thanks! -Megan<p>I agree, it does add up! I have more clothes for the summer, stored away right now, that includes dresses. I find winter is easier and try to have a few things that work for wedding/nights out and then just everyday. I guess I have more than a few shirts/pants/etc but I find I mostly wear those few items, then have the “dress-up dress” and those rarely used but necessary items. </p> <p>If anything I’d suggest trying to get as much use from something as possible, like a nice pair of black wool pants that can be dressed up with a blouse for evening out but worn with a sweater for work or weekend. Not that I do that exactly! :)</p>http://makeit.do/post/40262710347http://makeit.do/post/40262710347Fri, 11 Jan 2013 12:20:30 -0500Making do with less<p>I’ve got a pick-up scheduled for next week to donate a bunch of household stuff. I can’t wait to get rid of all kinds of clothes (sweaters I’ve never unboxed this winter!) and old books I haven’t cracked in fifteen years. I’m already feeling the relief I get from having less stuff, and knowing my space isn’t filled with unused items.</p> <p>Funny thing is that this time last year, I didn’t want to get rid of anything, for fear of needing “it”, whatever it was, and not being able to buy it. So I held onto all kinds of things I would have gotten rid of. A year later I realize I didn’t need any of “it” and I won’t need to buy “it” again. A few sweaters, a few shirts, a few pairs of pants is plenty for me. It’s all I wear and all I need to wear. And I have piles of fabric from which to craft anything else I may want. Plenty of books from the library keep me happily reading, and there are more there if I need them.</p> <p>In freeing myself from the strict rules of Making Do, I’ve freed myself from unwanted stuff. Hadn’t expected that, what a treat!</p>http://makeit.do/post/40185567827http://makeit.do/post/40185567827Thu, 10 Jan 2013 13:16:20 -0500Hello 2013<p>I wish I were posting a “Yay! I did it!” message. But alas somewhere around October, encouraged by a friend’s suggestion to “Just Make It Done!” I more or less gave up on this project. That’s not to say I started buying everything in sight, but I did remove the Rule that had Hung Over Me for the previous nine months. It wasn’t the relief I’d expected, probably because I didn’t go shopping for stuff except for things I kinda needed – like new Gore-Tex pants because I discovered mine from 2004 were no longer water-resistant during a rain storm on a glacier in Wyoming. :(</p> <p>Mostly I’ve just felt sad about failing at this project in the way I wanted to succeed: in documenting this journey, and in finding it meaningful and profound. While I had tons of posts in my head, I never seemed to have time to write. While I felt it was a good experience, I didn’t wake up this morning transformed. I’ve always valued a less consumer-y, more sustainable, life style. I confirmed it doing this, and ultimately I found some peace following my heart.</p> <p>But what the heck 2012?! A year that started so wonderfully, skinning into the backcountry of the Tetons on January 1, drove right off a cliff for me in late October. Here in New York City a nanny murdered two young children. Then Sandy hit and we lost power for a week, while others lost everything. An image that continues to haunt me: two young children drowned, swept from their mother’s arms as they fled rising waters. Then the reprieve of Thanksgiving was shattered by the school shootings in Newtown, CT.</p> <p>A <a href="http://capecodquakers.org/silencespeech.html" title="Silence and Speech" target="_self">Quaker Open Letter</a> describes what it means to add to the silence of a Quaker meeting:</p> <blockquote> <div> <p><span>If you feel moved to contribute after others have spoken, our experience is that it is as well to leave a fair time, and ask yourself whether you will be carrying further what has already been said.</span></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>As the mother of two young children, it’s been hard for me to focus on almost anything but just loving my kids these past few months. That doesn’t take money, or stuff, or words with anyone but them. Making Do seems very insignificant indeed.</p> <p>So this morning I awoke thinking I’ll continue to Make Do as much as possible, and to write about it when there’s something to say. Here’s to a brighter 2013!</p>http://makeit.do/post/39402434571http://makeit.do/post/39402434571Tue, 01 Jan 2013 15:09:00 -0500Mother of all updates<p>Three months?! Three months since a post?! Oh goodness. No time for excuses. A mega-update and we’ll get this train back on track.</p> <p>(And welcome if you’re just here now from the Etsy blog or the New Yorker…)</p> <p>On clothes: The husband jeans have been a great success and until it got too warm for jeans, I wore them almost every day. The <a href="http://makeit.do/post/19353509208/the-remains-of-the-duvet" title="The remains of the duvet">Remains of the Duvet</a> dress took over after the heat got to me. Without too much detail, I’ll just say with minimal undergarments, the air flows beautifully through the dress, keeping me cool and dowdy-looking as I take my kids around New York.</p> <p>On buying: I’ve bought some stuff. I’d meant to update about that, but a tiny sense of failure held me back. I bought a tank top and a t-shirt at H&M. I bought the most amazing red sandals for 50% off at Anthropolgie. I seriously have worn them almost every day since I bought them. They’re all leather with leather soles, I LOVE them. They’re probably the best sandals I’ve ever bought. No regrets there! I bought a larger day pack. The justification? I needed an easy way to carry lots of gear and hold two little hands adventuring through NYC. I bought a couple MP3 albums. And I bought trekking poles and gators because…</p> <p>On the woods: I went climbing in July in Wyoming. My small group (a NOLS alumni expedition) summited Gannett Peak, Wyoming’s highest at 13,809’. I rented all the gear I could but poles and gators were purchase-only, and I needed them for our climb. Since most in our group were 40 years+, we went as lightweight as possible with gear. Talk about making do: being in the woods for two weeks and going minimal refined my awareness of just how little I need. A bed is nice. So is toilet paper. But need it? Nope. (Still trying to get photos and a narrative of the trip posted, that’s another post.)</p> <p>On food: I’ve been on Nantucket since early August and feel like the hyper-local cooking I’ve been doing complements Make It Do. I made sea salt with my kids by evaporating water we brought home from the beach. We use it to garnish local farm tomatoes, and we top them with basil from growing on our deck. We picked wild beach plums and made jelly. We’ve picked a zillion wild blackberries and are making jelly with those soon. We’re eating local corn and local fish. It’s deeply satisfying to use what’s closest to us. It’s also easy, fresh, and delicious.</p> <p>On support: I received a wonderful email in April from John B. One piece of it has stuck with me. He wrote, “I am not saying it is OK to shop…but if there are just a few items you need and especially if they represent tools that might help with the overall goal, don’t be too hard on yourself about strict compliance.  Allow yourself an exception from time to time without feeling you have failed.” He suggested picking a rate of compliance (85% or so) and sticking to that. That’s basically what I was doing, and his email encouraged me to continue with that. Thanks John B!</p> <p>On budget analysis: I’m behind on reviewing my spending for Q2, and probably won’t have time for that till fall. I might just combine Q2 and Q3 review in one. Curious to see how I’m doing. Feel like I’m doing really well. We’ll see what the data say.</p> <p>On the future: I’m still chugging along. I can’t say I love not buying stuff. Especially when I’m in New York, I continue to find it very challenging. With cooler weather and back-to-school on the near horizon, I’m fantasizing about new jeans and wooly sweaters. And winter gear! I’d suspected my Gore-Tex ski pants (c. 2005) were no longer waterproof. This was confirmed sitting on a glacier in a very cold rain in Wyoming. I might get new pants. The rest I’ll probably get over when I open that box of cold-weather clothing that’s been stored away since June. That’s always like Christmas for me, sweaters I’d forgotten, some pants I love but haven’t seen in months. It all seems new.</p> <p>The reality is I’m two-thirds through the project. What will the final four months bring? And more importantly, what happens on January 1, 2013? I’ll strive for more frequent updates and to answer those questions.</p>http://makeit.do/post/29964979121http://makeit.do/post/29964979121Wed, 22 Aug 2012 10:02:12 -0400boughtThe husband jeans<p>I recently spotted a guy walking down the street wearing loose-fitting jeans, cut-off around mid-calf and left raw at the hem. They struck me as both comfy and funky, and I resolved to have some myself. Since my husband basically wears jeans every day, I figured he’d be a good source for an old pair. And yes, upon inquiring, I was given a worn pair that hung off my hips just perfectly!</p> <p>Alas, they were worn in the butt, and there was a big hole that allowed my underwear to peak through.</p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/megnut/7171324380/" title="Jeans 1 by megnut, on Flickr"><img alt="Jeans 1" height="375" src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7093/7171324380_cbffeabc78.jpg" width="500"/></a></p> <p>No problem though. I cut off the lower legs, trimmed a patch and sewed it over the hole.</p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/megnut/7171326992/" title="Jeans 2 by megnut, on Flickr"><img alt="Jeans 2" height="375" src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7075/7171326992_82be6aa31d.jpg" width="500"/></a></p> <p>Now the only problem is I want to wear them every day! Yay for husband jeans!</p>http://makeit.do/post/23618162631http://makeit.do/post/23618162631Wed, 23 May 2012 14:30:35 -0400clothingLoving the library<p>Far and away the best thing I’ve discovered from this project has been my local New York Public Library branch. Though I used libraries in high school and college, once I graduated I mostly purchased books. Poking around well-curated book stores is one of my favorite things to do and I rarely leave empty-handed.</p> <p>Amazon Recommends became a new, less magical, way of doing that. One-clicked books piled up, often not read. I call these my aspirational books. I believe I’ll read them. I’d like to be the kind of person who would read them. But often I don’t read them. This year I’d planned to read them all. Instead I’m checking out books from the library.</p> <p>Now when I walk past my local independent book store, I look at the collection in the window and whip out my iPhone. The NYPL has an app and I easily request whatever catches my eye. Usually within a week, it’s at my local branch for pickup. I can be the person who reads <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0547750315/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=megnutcom&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0547750315">To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918</a>!</p> <p>But here’s the thing: if enough time goes by, I have to return my library books. And when I’ve failed to become the person who reads the entire book about World War I, that’s ok. Back it goes to the NYPL. I will now be the person who reads <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159420277X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=megnutcom&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=159420277X">Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier</a>. At least until early June.</p>http://makeit.do/post/23554351328http://makeit.do/post/23554351328Tue, 22 May 2012 14:42:00 -0400librarybooksThe vanity belly<p>I’ve been jogging again after ages of not doing it. Before I had kids I ran the NYC Marathon and several half marathons. I ran road races on the weekends and logged 20+ miles a week for years. All that stopped when I had my second child, Minna, and I’ve been slow to return to the streets, until now.</p> <p>I signed up for a road race to force myself back into running, and it’s been fantastic. Except that it’s suddenly warmed up here in New York, all my running tanks apparently were purchased when “cropped running top” was the style. Also purchased: the “crazy low rise running short.”</p> <p>Ick! It’s one thing to feel my little belly jiggle as I jog. It’s another thing to expose it to the west side of Manhattan so early in the morning. I didn’t take Vanity into account when creating my guidelines!</p> <p>So be it. I’m Making Do on this one, and it’s all the more motivation to run hard and fast, so the jiggle is burned off. The plus side? I’m a blur as I speed by everyone!</p>http://makeit.do/post/21274106124http://makeit.do/post/21274106124Tue, 17 Apr 2012 13:26:37 -0400clothingCompost ahoy!<p>I broke down and bought a compost bin. I’ve wanted to get one since we moved into our current house and never managed to find one that was just right. I’m terrified of attracting horrible giant NYC rats. And we have limited space. But I found a small one that rotates, the same a friend uses in her NYC yard, rat-free.</p> <p>I’m excited to be able to produce less waste and to use our compost in our small garden. It will be great not having to buy compost, and being more sustainable in our daily lives. I’m also looking forward to teaching my kids about composting, and learning how to do it together as a family.</p> <p>Did I break my rules? I don’t think so. I’d say it’s household purchase, not personal. And it’s a long-term investment in something that’s better in the end for everyone. Still, now buying anything makes me feel all weird and funny. I guess that’s progress?</p>http://makeit.do/post/21023250879http://makeit.do/post/21023250879Fri, 13 Apr 2012 09:58:29 -0400boughtsustainabilityOoops, that picture below of Minna wasn’t supposed to show up here! I’ve got my old blog...<p>Ooops, that picture below of Minna wasn’t supposed to show up here! I’ve got my old blog Megnut resurrected at Tumblr now: <a href="http://megnt.tumblr.com">megnt.tumblr.com</a> and I was trying to get instagram to post the photo there. But that didn’t work. Oh well.</p>http://makeit.do/post/21022778603http://makeit.do/post/21022778603Fri, 13 Apr 2012 09:43:11 -0400Stop that noise! (Taken with instagram)<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m2dcyf1kdS1r8607go1_500.jpg"/><br/><br/><p>Stop that noise! (Taken with <a href="http://instagr.am">instagram</a>)</p>http://makeit.do/post/20963118346http://makeit.do/post/20963118346Thu, 12 Apr 2012 09:47:03 -0400Do you have a freecycle network in your area? I get--and give away--a lot of stuff in my area this way. It's serendipitous, it gets stuff out of the house and to the person who needs it, and it creates community. You can also post for things you want. The perfect desk may be sitting in someone's garage gathering dust.<p>I’ve checked the freecycle.org website but there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of activity in New York City. There aren’t a lot of garages here for stuff to gather dust in. Most people put stuff they don’t want on the curb and you take it if it looks good to you. That said, I’m holding off on the desk for now while we get the kids’ room sorted out. Maybe I’ll happen upon a great desk while I’m out and about.</p>http://makeit.do/post/20911854983http://makeit.do/post/20911854983Wed, 11 Apr 2012 14:01:09 -0400The time and the desk<p>I’ve gotten some thoughtful emails about my new desk situation, and not just how to convert the crib into a desk. Several folks have suggested looking for a used/vintage desk at a second-hand shop and fixing it up. This has me thinking about the value of time to stuff. Pre-Industrialization if you wanted a wool jacket you grew Merino lambs, sheered them, carded the wool, spun it, wove it and then sewed your jacket. Carding the wool alone took DAYS of work. Now of course I can go to the garment district and buy a few yards of wool and sew a jacket. Or just buy a finished jacket in ten minutes and do something else with my time.</p> <p>Somewhere between doing it all and doing the buying of a finished product is the sweet spot for me. And while no one (yet) has suggested I chop down a tree, mill it, and build my own desk, the idea of spending hours to locate a good desk and then fix it up feels “expensive” to me. Maybe it’s because I have specific desk requirements (size, storage, etc.) and the idea of searching and searching for just the right desk is unappealing. Or maybe the fixing up part isn’t something I enjoy as much as sewing or other time-consuming crafts I do undertake. Or maybe it’s simply because I know New York City doesn’t have good deals on used desks to fix up and I’d be over-paying if I tried it here. Or I’d have to drive out to the country some place to get the right price.</p> <p>What I’m saying is: I think I’ll sell some furniture we won’t be using (like my son’s twin bed frame) and put that money towards a desk. I don’t know if that’s Making Do or not. I sorta doubt it is.</p>http://makeit.do/post/20528265027http://makeit.do/post/20528265027Thu, 05 Apr 2012 11:07:21 -0400buildComing unglued<p><img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1yvxjBTcm1r44bdc.jpg"/></p> <p>Tuesday I arrived at the gym to discover a gaping hole in the back of my tights! My favorite tights! My Pilates instructor said, “Well looks like you get to go shopping!” but of course I couldn’t. And even if I could, I hate shopping to replace something that was perfect. I waste hours trying to find the exact item and the replacement is never as good. During the course of my workout the hole got bigger and bigger. I kept saying, “I’ll sew it!” and my instructor kept saying, “I think you need new tights.”</p> <p>When I got home and inspected I discovered that the pocket that had torn away was in fact glued (! I know, right?!) in place, and had simply come unglued. So I tore it out, and sewed the uneven hole closed.</p> <p><img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1yvw0bgrW1r44bdc.jpg"/></p> <p>First time using the lycra stitch on my machine. Sloppy work. And I didn’t bother to even change the thread but hey, making do! We’ll see how they hold up tomorrow at the gym. I’m pretty confident they’ll be fine. Yay!</p>http://makeit.do/post/20475888088http://makeit.do/post/20475888088Wed, 04 Apr 2012 14:21:56 -0400sewingTear down these ads<p>Somewhere along the way recently I came across <a href="http://periphery.org/post/567468623/people-are-taking-the-piss-out-of-you-everyday" title="People are taking the piss out of you every day">this Banksy quote about advertisers</a>.</p> <blockquote>“People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else…They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you….You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”</blockquote> <p>There’s more to the quote, and I encourage you to click the link and read the whole thing. I’m no street artist like Banksy, but the temptation to do something to the ads that surround me is pretty great. He says, “Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours.” When private property, say the top of a building, is rented to another private party, say Disney, only those two parties gain. The rest of us, the public, trying to occupy our share space, say the corner of Christopher St and Seventh Avenue South, in New York City, gain nothing. We lose. In fact, we suffer. These billboards do leer. And laugh. And push their products. A few months ago, it was a poorly animated penguin movie with a crappy script. Before that, a super high-end boutique just arrived from Paris. Now? A male dating site with two nude “sexy” men.</p> <p>If I could tear them all down I would. Instead I avert my eyes. I walk faster. I tell my son he can’t see the penguin movie because it’s PG, not G. I keep thinking about this one line, “They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you.” Why did we let them?</p>http://makeit.do/post/20404484857http://makeit.do/post/20404484857Tue, 03 Apr 2012 07:32:35 -0400adsDesk from crib inspiration <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/turn-an-old-crib-into-a-work-b-155012">Desk from crib inspiration </a>: <p>It can be done, a desk from a crib. Granted I’ll need a lower chair, and have to come up with a plan for files. And get used to working in “jail” but still. Possibilities! Thanks @lunchstudio!</p>http://makeit.do/post/20351203697http://makeit.do/post/20351203697Mon, 02 Apr 2012 11:32:28 -0400buildRunning the numbers<p>I thought it would be interesting to see how my spending for the first three months of 2012 compared with the same time-period in 2011, so I crunched some numbers. Straight comparison of everything on my credit card showed a slight total decrease in spending (about 3%). But when I pulled out all the non-Make It Do items (gas, groceries, kids’ clothes, cable bill, etc.) I discovered something pretty amazing. I’ve reduced my personal spending by 77%!! Yes, I should be spending 100% less, but we all know I’ve cheated. But not much, and not lately.</p> <p>So what have I learned? That the majority of my spending does go to family/household stuff, it’s true. But I slipped in a lot for myself. Last year 22% of my total outlay was items for myself. This year, it’s 5%. I wish our total household spending were down more significantly, but I suppose that’s not realistic with inflation. If I can hold myself to 5% or less all year, I’m going to be pretty darn happy! I’m looking forward to the end of June to run the numbers again!</p>http://makeit.do/post/20346778831http://makeit.do/post/20346778831Mon, 02 Apr 2012 09:00:06 -0400accountingBeds then desks then what?<p>Spring is in the air, and with it, my urge to get our house cleaned up and organized. My daughter Minna is two-and-a-half and beyond ready to move out of her crib. We bought bunk beds so the kids could share a room and we could reclaim our tiny office. I didn’t feel too conflicted buying bunk beds because Minna needs a bed.</p> <p>But now with our office back, further organizing thoughts have struck. If we move our bed into the small office, we can turn our much larger bedroom into a nice big office! With rooms for all our books! With nice sunny space for productive work! And with that, suddenly, we need a desk, for I’ve been using my husband’s desk as a desk/sewing table for years. But if we have a bigger office, he’d like a dedicated desk of his own.</p> <p>My friend Christie suggested (I *think* she was joking) converting Minna’s crib into my new desk. If only I had the skills and tools to do that! Even then, not sure it’s possible with the materials at hand. My initial thought was to buy a cheap desk at IKEA, but as part of Make It Do and conscious consumption, I don’t want to buy cheap products that will need replacing in a few years. If I buy a desk, I want something that I’ll use for the next twenty years, if not the rest of my life.</p> <p>I don’t know if a new desk counts as something for me, or our household, or if that matters. I’m mulling this one over while we wait for the bunk beds to be delivered.</p>http://makeit.do/post/20298417464http://makeit.do/post/20298417464Sun, 01 Apr 2012 14:27:13 -0400boughtThe remains of the duvet<p><img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0xwf3yw4e1r44bdc.jpg"/></p> <p>Eat your heart out, Scarlett O'Hara! The above crappy photo shows an old 100% cotton IKEA duvet I’ve had forever. It’s been unused since we upgraded from a full-sized bed years ago. With spring in the air, I was feeling the need for a new dress. To the rescue? My unused Japanese “Stylish Dress Book”. Though the instructions were all in Japanese, the pattern for this dress seemed simple enough:</p> <p><img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0xwznn0AQ1r44bdc.jpg"/></p> <p>A few snips and some tearing and the duvet was into one giant piece of fabric. Like yards of fabric, all softened from so many washes back in the early 2000’s. (Headbands, kids shorts and dresses, and who knows what else will come along soon enough.) Some sloppy tracing on my part, a couple days of sewing, and voila!</p> <p><img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0xx2nS4ll1r44bdc.jpg"/></p> <p>Not the best picture, but I’m a lazy stylist! It’s a little big, I think I could have used a smaller-sized pattern, but not so bad for my very first dress for myself. Now if only that warm weather would return, I’d be able to wear my Stylish Duvet Dress. I might even tackle another dress from this book with the remains of my duvet.</p>http://makeit.do/post/19353509208http://makeit.do/post/19353509208Thu, 15 Mar 2012 15:10:07 -0400sewingA city schism<p>Before I conceived the full scope of this project, I had the idea of not buying anything for one, two or three months. I gave up on that because it didn’t actually seem like a challenge. And now that I’m two months in, I’m glad I did. It wouldn’t have been a challenge. If I could go shopping for everything and anything tomorrow, I’m not sure I’d have learned much.</p> <p>But looking down the long road of ten more months, I see the challenge only growing. Not just the challenge of making do, but of keeping my spirits up throughout the year. I’ve already talked about the difficulties of living in an urban environment, surrounded by ads and shops and stylish people. Now even the remnants of consumption irritate me. The streets of New York are always filled with trash: little paper receipts from the drug store, take-out coffee cups blown from trash cans. Stuff, and the inevitable waste that accompanies it, is all around!</p> <p>I think I’m suffering a city schism. Me and the city? Not so good together right now. It’s a bit mixed up in my head, whether it’s the project that’s causing it or it’s the project that’s reminding me of ways I’d prefer to live. After all 2012, and the project, started while I was living in a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinzhee" title="Quinzhee">quinzee</a> in the Tetons. Talk about making do! Though after nine straight days in the same wool shirt, a second (clean!) one would have been nice. Being in the mountains with so little is a clear reminder of how little one really needs to survive. Not just survive though, to be very content.</p> <p>If I fail to Make Do for the year, I don’t think it will be because I want to buy things and won’t be able to resist. No, it will be because I won’t like who the not-buying-me has become: irritable and judgy, misanthropic, one typewriter away from banging out a manifesto in my cabin in the woods. Can I happily remain in consumptive society without participating? I don’t know. (I do know participating fully didn’t bring me much happiness.) Perhaps this will be the journey of the next ten months.</p>http://makeit.do/post/18898274987http://makeit.do/post/18898274987Wed, 07 Mar 2012 07:00:05 -0500