Since 2017 I calculate every year in September whether I’ve lived within the earth’s capacity. One category of this equation is the new stuff I’ve bought. I discuss that bought briefly in those posts, looking at the period from September to September. But, every full year from Januari till Januari I also start the challenge of buying nothing. And then at the end of the year I evaluate. I did it in 2018 and 2019 already. Today I’m doing that again. Today I am sharing all the stuff I’ve bought new in 2020.
Progress so Far
I have to say: it’s been a bad year for this category. In 2018 I only bought 9 new things in total and in 2019 11 in total. This year the list will be much longer. The biggest reason for this is because I’ve moved. In August I moved from my parents house to my new appartement together with my boyfriend.
We bought most things we needed secondhand but there were things I couldn’t avoid buying new. I will not list the secondhand things we bought here because that impact is not made by us. The person who bought it new is accountable for the impact, we’re just using it again. I split the price of all the stuff I bought together with my boyfriend in half since half of the impact is for him. I also chose to not include consumables in here like shampoo or make-up. I do always include them when I calculate all my impact (so don’t worry), but this post is solely about stuff. I do list new gifts I received here because I think it’s my responsibility to make sure people don’t gift me too much new stuff. Last year I also included my investments since I invest in solar panels quite a bit. I decided to leave that out this year since it creates positive impact and in the end is not really a belonging.
Well, here we go. Here’s everything I bought new in 2020 with a brief explanation:
1. A Playboy Magazines, 8 euros (January). It was a gift for a friend but I should have come up with a better gift. Food, drinks or an experience are good alternatives for buying stuff.
2. Notebooks, 1 euro (February). This is a stupid story. I was in Groningen with our student association and we had some spare time in the city center. I had to go to the bathroom in the HEMA but that was only allowed if you bought something from them. And so I bought notebooks for 1 euro, I knew my brother could use those.
3. 3 pieces of underwear at Organic Basics, 66 euros (April). I needed new underwear. Last year I bought new underwear too, but it was a size too small. That’s why I needed to buy new ones again. I don’t want secondhand underwear so I choose to buy it new. However, I do choose to buy sustainable and fair (that’s why I bought it at Organic Basics).
4. A Coloring Book, 5 euros (June). This was a gift from mom. I had told her that I wanted to start coloring. The holiday was coming up and it just seemed fun. I had looked for one secondhand but hadn’t found one yet. When mom saw this coloring book for me she gifted it too (which I think is really sweet).
5. Markers, 1 euro (June). Along with the coloring book I needed markers. I didn’t really like using pencils because that’s very light. I couldn’t find secondhand markers and so I bought these new.
6. Nintendo Switch Lite, 219 euros (June). This was another gift. I had been telling my boyfriend I maybe wanted to buy an Nintendo Switch Lite. I was doubting a lot because it was very expensive. My birthday was coming up and so he bought this for me. For him it was cheaper to buy it new than secondhand because of a discount he could get. He asked me for permission and I said it was okay if he bought it new (I thought it was an expensive gift already). But thinking about it now I should have let him buy it secondhand and pay the difference in price myself. I just hope this thing lasts me a lifetime since it was the biggest purchase of this year.
7. A Spare Key, 8 euros (July). I somehow lost the spare key to my bike and so I had a new one made. If I don’t have a spare key and lose the one key I have I am screwed and will need a new lock and so I chose to make a spare key.
8. Paint from Fairf, 35 euros (August). I moved to Groningen and wanted a color on the wall (the walls were all white before we moved). I had a specific color in mind. I did look online for secondhand paint but it was nowhere to be found and so I bought it new. I did chose the most sustainable brand I know, Fairf.
9. Face Masks, 2 euros, (August). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I have to wear a face mask everywhere. I usually get them for free somewhere (at a store or when my parents bought a big box), but I did buy 2 myself for 2 euros. That was when I forgot to take mine with me (I try to reuse the ones I have as much as I can) and I had to go by train and so I bought these.
10. Curtains, 22 euros (August). Another thing we needed for our apartment. I did search for them secondhand but I just couldn’t find the right size and color. And when we had no curtains for a few days I was tired. I couldn’t sleep very well and so I wanted to buy curtains right away. This rush also caused that I didn’t buy sustainable ones. We just went to IKEA and Karwei.
11. Hooks for the curtains, 4 euros (August). Same story as the curtains, we needed these hooks to hang the curtains.
12. Soil, 16 euros, (August). I started a worm bin in August to compost our food scraps since we didn’t have the option to separate it in our new municipality. To start this I bought soil (which we also use for our plants when they need a bigger pot). I bought the most sustainable option there was, without turf (because that destroys nature). I haven’t found a way to avoid buying soil yet (if you do, let me know!).
13. Hooks for a cabinet, 2 euros (September). We bought a secondhand cabinet for in the kitchen and we wanted to hang up some of our kitchen utensils on it. I couldn’t really find these secondhand online when I took a brief look and since it was a really small purchase we chose to buy it new at Dille&Kamille.
14. Trash Can, 13 euros (September). We needed another bin to separate our waste. The only secondhand options I found were plastic bins. I avoid buying plastic (also secondhand) because I think it’s unhealthy and ugly. This was a conscious choice to buy it new. A bin out of aluminium.
15. Plasters, 6 euros (September). My boyfriend cut himself and we didn’t have plasters. That’s because I think it’s a waste, most wounds heal perfectly fine by themself. But since I don’t live alone I don’t get to make decisions all alone. We chose to buy plasters, but I bought sustainable, compostable ones from Nutricare. When I cut myself a month later I was very happy we had them after all haha.
16. Planks, 4 euros (September). We had a secondhand poster which we wanted to hang up in our living room. We didn’t want to just stick it to the wall and so we bought a special set of planks from IKEA. You can put the poster in between the planks and then hang it up. It’s really pretty. I couldn’t find it secondhand and so we bought it new.
17. A Baking mat, 4 euros (September). A baking mat is a more sustainable alternative to baking paper because it’s made out of silicones and can be used over and over again. I wanted to buy it secondhand but since I couldn’t find it we bought it new.
18. A plant, 13 euros (September). Except for this one, all our plants are adopted. We bought this one new because my boyfriend’s grandmother gave us money and she wanted us to use the money for our home. Since we already had everything we needed and were supposed to spend it on something that can always move with us to another home we chose a beautiful big plant.
19. Stick nails, 6 euros (September). We bought stick nails because we wanted to hang up some things in our apartment but we didn’t want to make holes in the load-bearing walls (we’d need special equipment for that as well). I couldn’t find stick nails secondhand and so we bought them new.
20. Bees Wax Wrappers, around 15 euros (September). My boyfriend and I got these reusable bees wax wraps gifted to use by my aunt and uncle. They’re a reusable alternative to plastic or aluminium foil. Since I’ve never found these secondhand online I think I would have bought them new anyway if they weren’t gifted to us.
21. Clippers, 5 euros, (September). Same story as 20, it was a gift. The clippers are to close food packaging when they’re open so that food stays fresh longer.
22. Bleaching cream, 12,50 (October). In October I decided that I was going to stop shaving my leg hair. I wanted to see if I can accept my body like it is. The hair on my arms is not bothering me either so what’s the difference? In an attempt to make that proces easier for me I bought bleaching creme and bleached the hairs on my legs. It was one big fail because it only lasted for about two weeks. I would never buy it again and I regret this purchase.
23. Helix Piercings, 80 euros (October). After all these tiny purchases I also did another big one. After years of wanting it I finally decided to pierce my ears. I got two helix piercings. My plans was to get titanium steels at first (which is the smallest piercing available to start with) and then buy secondhand or sustainable gold rings. That was a mistake because the titanium steels are really bugging me. My hair is constantly stuck behind it. When I take more piercings I will probably go with gold rings immediately. I also don’t know what’s more sustainable: getting titanium first and then also buying secondhand or sustainable gold or just get non-sustainable golden rings at once. I don’t know and so next time I’m choosing convenience.
24. Fixing my shoes, 3,50 euros (October). I don’t how to call it. When you close a zipper there is this thing at the end which you can pull to close the zipper. At one of my shoes this broke and so I needed a new one. I didn’t attempt to buy it secondhand because I expected to not find it and it is a really tiny thing.
25. Ceiling Cap, 3 euros (November). Another thing of which I don’t know the precise name. When you buy a lamp (which we did secondhand) you need some sort of cap when you want to hang it up the ceiling and make it look decent and not have cables showing everywhere. I couldn’t find this secondhand and so we bought it new.
26. Photos, 3,25 euros (November). We also bought a lot of picture frames secondhand to hang up out wall in our apartment. However, we also needed pictures to put in those frames. Since that’s quite personal you can’t buy those secondhand. And so I printed some photos at HEMA to put in the picture frames.
27. Two sorts of thread, 5 euros (December). Sometimes I have to repair some clothing myself. To do that I need thread. I had been looking for it secondhand for a long time and I really needed to fix my coat. And so I bought black wire new at Albert Heijn. I also bought another type of thread since I wanted to make a peanut-crank as a Christmas gift to dad. It turned out that this thread was too thick and so I ended up using the first one I bought for repairing things. And so I shouldn’t have bought that second type of thread.
28. A sex toy, 50 euros (December). I don’t think there should be any type of taboo on sex and so I’m sharing this. I bought a sex toy. I couldn’t really a sustainable brand and so I just purchased a product at a regular shop. Maybe this is something that doesn’t exist yet: sustainable sex toys.
That’s it! Wow! 28 different items, where I bought 11 items last year. It’s a lot but when I look at the list it’s mostly small things. 3 euros here, 4 euros there. I spend a total amount of 612,25 euros! Holy cow … My evaluation is that I bought 4 big things. The underwear which I really needed. The Nintendo Switch which I should have bought secondhand. The piercings to which there are no alternatives and the sex toy which I also want to buy new. Only the Nintendo Switch is a learning point. The smaller purchases didn’t really add up and most of the things were items I couldn’t find secondhand. That’s okay. Last year I spend 336,45 euros and so I did worse than last year unfortunately.
I guess I’m also learning to choose for myself sometimes, like with the piercings and the sex toy. I can not buy those things because of sustainability but I don’t want to. There are 10 categories really important when it comes to living within the earth’s capacity and stuff is just one of them. If I do choose to be a little selfish there I can always change something in the 9 other categories (like traveling less kilometers). 2020 was the year I moved and so I hope that this will be the biggest list of new things I’ve bought ever in my life and that from now on I can buy everything secondhand. I know that’s unrealistic because I already know I want something in 2021 (more piercings!). But I will again thrive to keep as close to 0 euros in 2021! See you next year!
How much have you spend on new stuff in 2020? And what did you think of my list?