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48: No Unnecessary Things

At the end of 2019, I wrote a post about my experience attempting to “buy no more things” during the year. If you want to read it, it’s here.

For 2020, I decided to continue tracking the things I bought and review them at the end of the year. I changed the description of my goal to “buy no unnecessary things”. I kept pretty much the same rules as last year, counting only personal spending, and not counting consumable items or gifts. I also didn’t count supplies for any art/craft projects I worked on because they get used up in the process of making. (That was a decision I made in my Depth Year post.)

Again, it wasn’t that I was trying not to spend any money; it was about really thinking about what items I needed to add into my life.

Of course, at the beginning of the year I had no idea what was to come, and how different this year would be from other years, but as it turned out, the pandemic didn’t really make much of a difference in this aspect of my life.

My experience spending took a dramatic shift from being focused on live music and dancing to buying supplies for making things, but the number of physical items I bought stayed almost exactly the same as last year.

Here are all the unnecessary things I bought this year:

  1. Gigaton CD – New Pearl Jam album. I almost counted this as necessary but I bought the physical CD because I wanted the Ten Club special edition, instead of just buying the digital album, so I couldn’t justify it. When I bought this, it was in anticipation of hearing them play all the new songs live in April and I was excited to learn all the words and sing along at the top of my lungs in California… but we all know how that turned out. Still a good album and I would have bought it whether or not a tour was happening.
  2. Jump rope – An optimistic attempt at home fitness while I was laid off. I have barely used it at all, but I remain hopeful that when my garage studio is finished it will be part of my HIIT circuit and (fingers crossed) used on a regular basis, numerous times each week.
  3. A Little Bag of Books – Isolation Issues – I bought this from the Regional Assembly of Text because I love the work that Becky and Brandy do and I have always admired them for being able to finish art school, open up a shop and succeed! They’re amazing and I wanted to support their business during tough times. If you haven’t checked them out, do it.
  1. Upper Cut Bag – I got this for a great price because a boxing gym by my house had to close down due to the pandemic. It’s something that I was going to buy for my garage studio anyway; I just got it a bit early because a good opportunity came up. I am glad I had the chance to bring it home in a wheelbarrow and give money to a local cause instead of buying from a big American company and paying shipping and duty.
  2. Birdhouse – From Raging Bowl Pottery, another artist I very much admire and wanted to support. I went to art school with some amazing people. Now that my home office is set up at the back of the house, my window looks right out at this birdhouse and I can enjoy it every day.
Rustic Birdhouse by Raging Bowl Pottery
  1. Souvenir sweatshirt for Virtual Camp Hollywood – I thought it would be kind of cool to commemorate this strange year without dance events, and I wanted to help support Camp Hollywood, so I bought a sweatshirt. After currency conversion and shipping, it turned out to be far more expensive than is reasonable, but since I received it (after it shipped from New Jersey to Sweden to Canada – the route all international orders take, apparently) I have worn it about 33% of the time that I am dressed (plus sometimes with my pajamas), so it turned out to be totally worth it. I love this sweatshirt.
  2. Ceramic mushrooms – 100% impulse buy while on our mini-vacation to Vancouver Island. They caught my eye at Coombs Market because of my newfound interests in gardening and pottery. They’re in my garden now, but I kind of regret buying them. They look much tackier out in the real world than they did on the shelf and I’ve made my own ceramic mushrooms since that I like way more.
  3. Artist’s Way (used) book – I mentioned this book in my last post about my goals for next year. I originally got a copy out of the library, but to do the exercises I need it for 13 weeks, so I found a used one on Marketplace. It was $4.
  4. 3 Ikea picture frames – I’d been meaning to frame a few of the etchings I made back around Y2K and after I got my new workspace set up in our kitchen nook, I finally made it happen. I was warned not to bother with Ikea frames because they’ve changed to using acrylic instead of real glass, but being cheap, I didn’t listen. Now I have regrets, but the frames themselves are OK and I am happy with the mats I got, so I will probably just replace the glass at some point. I do enjoy looking up at the prints from my desk.

* * *

Since I just itemized all the unnecessary things, I am also going to include the things I deemed as necessary because I still wrote them down. It’s all just a matter of personal opinion anyway:

  • New phone and case (Nothing fancy and not an upgrade for the sake of an upgrade – my old phone stopped working during the beginning of isolation back in March and it was an overly arduous and lengthy process to get a new one; I really would rather have just avoided the whole thing)
  • Wrist brace (Also during the first bit of the pandemic, I think my isolation knitting got to be a bit much)
  • 2021 Day Planner (I counted my 2020 day planner on last year’s list, but I will never not buy one; it’s how I keep my life on track, even when I rarely leave the house)

* * *

One final note on eyeliner because it makes me laugh every time I look at it:  

At the end of 2019, I had this little nub of eyeliner pencil left and I was thinking to myself “I made it through the year without having to add this to my list!”* Well, who would have thought it would also last all the way through 2020? As it turns out, being laid off for half a year, never going dancing and really not caring about how I look for the most part has resulted in a record-breakingly low year of eyeliner usage. I truly hope that it gets used up next year.

*In 2019, I included specialty personal products as things, but I don’t count them anymore because they’re consumable.


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