Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Limitations of the Compact

When I began compacting, I originally eschewed all purchases of new things. If it was new, it was gone from the shopping basket. End of story.

Yet, that wasn't very satisfying. Something was missing.

And, no, I'm not talking about needing new items. I don't. And, no, I'm not talking about finding fulfillment in purchasing. I don't.

Rather, I found that the commandment to avoid all purchases of new items--regardless of their source--was limiting and ineffective. In eschewing all new purchases, I couldn't support artists or craftspersons (the very people I ought to be supporting). It felt, in effect, like rejecting artists in the same vein as I rejected the big boxes was throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

So I amended my compact, and began purchasing new items from artists, knitters and woodworkers because they need our support very much. And by refusing to purchase new items from them, just as I refused to purchase new items from soul-less corporations, I was hampering the traditions of hand-made crafts.

So now, though I won't hop into Walmart and buy a new plastic toy for my little guy, I gladly wove my way through our Arts Festival and purchased a hand-made puzzle for him. And I mad that purchase without regret.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Gavrielah's Pledge

I originally started the Compact back in October. I did not follow through with my pledge at that time and stopped posting on my blog. I've been thinking about it a lot the past few months. and the only thing I can say is that I simply was not ready at that time. I was all for the idea of it, but didn't have what it takes to put it into action. I fully believe that I am ready now.

Here is my Compact pledge:

  • Buy only what is truly needed
  • Buy nothing new, except for health, safety, and needed consumable items
  • Borrow or barter before buying used
  • Prepare healthy, simple meals at home every day
  • Will completely eliminate processed foods and white sugar, white flour, etc
  • Will eat foods in their proper season and buy locally as much as possible
  • Use only cloth for napkins, "paper" towels, toilet tissue and feminine needs
  • Get rid of all clutter in our home and keep only what we truly need or find beautiful, always giving away whatever no longer brings us enjoy
  • Will seek free and simple family activities to bring us enjoyment
  • Unplug any appliances not in use and eliminate as many appliances as possible.
  • Learn to grow things like herbs and some vegetables in containers

Exceptions: I will allow for printing of photos, but only ones I've carefully chosen and have a particular use for. I will allow for limited tickets to events such as festivals or museums. I will also allow for some downloading of music and purchases of CDs or craft items from local artists.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Catherine's Pledge

I'm new to the Compact, but this is an idea that has resonated with me for a long time.

Here's my pledge:
  • I won't buy new, with the exception of consumables such as food, cleaning products, medicines, health items, and raw materials for making such
  • I will borrow or barter when possible
  • I will buy used for everything else
  • If I need to buy gifts, they will be in the form of gift certificates for local services or locally-made products
  • Since we just moved into a new home, basic home improvement items such as paint, concrete, or tile may be bought new if no acceptable used or surplus products are available
I'm starting small with two months, but I hope I will be able to extend my Compact, if all goes well!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Jenny's Pledge

This is the pledge I placed on my blog last October. I am making one addition to that pledge (in kelly green) because, after several months of compacting I realized that completely avoiding buying new is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water since artisans and crafters need our support too, so I'm amending my pledge to allow purchase of hand-made goods straight from the artist.

Here's My Compact:

  • No buying new items excluding health, safety, consumables and "second hand new" items.
  • Only buy what's necessary.
  • Borrow or barter before buying used, if possible.
  • Raw materials such as vegetable butters, essential oils, salts and the like are exempt when used for making personal care and cleaning products.
  • Craft items are exempt if I cannot find the item used such as needles, embroidery wool, quilt batting, or spools of thread but I must go through borrow, barter, used and "second hand new" channels before purchasing new.
  • No hoarding allowed.
  • Handmade goods, purchased directly from the artist, are exempt from the compact because we must support individual artists when and where we can.

The Basic Rules

Though every pledge on the Compact is different, there are a few basic rules to follow:
  1. You don't have to be a mom to join, but many of us are moms. And you don't have to have a blog to join, but if you want me to link to your blog I will.
  2. Don't buy new! If you exempted the purchase in your pledge, then it's exempt. Outside of that, DON'T BUY NEW. There are natural exemptions to this rule including consumables like food and personal care items as well as health and safety items.
  3. Barter, trade, buy used or go without.
  4. Once you've made your pledge, post it on your blog and the Compacting Mamas blog.
  5. Save one of the buttons on the sidebar to your blog's sidebar and link the button to this blog while providing a link to your pledge beneath the button.
  6. Post to this blog at least monthly to share your experiences, challenges, thoughts and revelations on compacting.
  7. If, for whatever reason, you didn't keep your compact, fess up here. Use the "OOPS!" button. Remember, we're here to support one another through all the aspects of compacting.

The Pledge

Compacting, aside from the choice not to buy any new items for a given period of time, is deeply personal and that's why no single pledge fits all. Indeed there's few hard and fast rules when it comes to your Compact.

Your best bet, in taking the pledge, is to examine the pledges of others who've been compacting and tailor that to fit the needs of your family. Your compact might look quite different from someone else's compact who has different needs. For example, though the Compact doesn't restrict food in any way, someone might wish to also pledge to abstain from chain restaurants during their compact. Alternatively, many compacts have exemptions. For example, say you're an avid crafter and will need to purchase new materials you might make an exemption for those.

Most pledges consist of four parts:
  1. The commitment not to buy new for a specific period of time.
  2. The reasoning behind your decision to join the Compact.
  3. Your plan for maintaining the Compact.
  4. Any exemptions.

Ready to Join?

If you're ready to make the commitment not to buy anything new for a period of time (2, 4, 6 or 12 months) drop me a line at jenny(at)green-mommy(dot)com with the following information. Sign up periods begin at the first of each month.

New to the Compact?
I'll need the following information sent to jenny(at)green-mommy(dot)com:
  • The number of months your signing up for (2, 4, 6 or 12).
  • The name you wish to be displayed on the blog.
  • Your blog's or website's URL (if you don't have one, you can get one for free from Blogger.)
  • The date your compact will begin.
Been Compacting for a While and Want to Join the Blog?
I'll need the following information sent to jenny(at)green-mommy(dot)com:
  • The number of months you've decided to spend on the compact (2, 4, 6 or 12).
  • The name you wish to be displayed on the blog.
  • Your blog's or website's URL (if you don't have one, you can get one for free from Blogger.)
  • The date your compact began.
Is Your Time on the Compact Up and You Want to Continue?
I'll need the following information sent to jenny(at)green-mommy(dot)com:
  • The number of months you plan to continue (2, 4, 6 or 12).
  • The name you that has been displayed on the blog.
  • Your blog's or website's URL (if you don't have one, you can get one for free from Blogger.)
  • The date your compact began.
I'll reply to your email and add you to the blog! Don't forget to add a button to your blog, link it here and post your Compact Pledge on your blog and this one as well.

NOTE: If you don't have a blog, and don't want one you still can post here. Just email me the above information and specify that you don't have a blog. There's no reason you should miss out on this cooperative journey!