British Columbia

Victoria woman aims to 'buy nothing' for entire year

Dana Stanley is one of the latest to join the 'buy nothing' movement — a lifestyle where participants aim to limit purchases for weeks, even months at a time.

Dana Stanley plans to forego frivolous expenses for all of 2018

Victoria resident Dana Stanley aims to refrain from unnecessary purchases through 2018. (Dana Stanley/Facebook)

Just over a week into her New Year's resolution, Dana Stanley says its been a cake walk.

The Victoria woman is one of the latest to join the 'buy nothing' movement — a lifestyle where participants aim to limit purchases for weeks, even months at a time.

But Stanley has taken it to the next level. Beginning January 1st, she aims to buy nothing for 12 months straight.

"I think it's going to be fairly easy, to be honest," she told host Sheryl MacKay on CBC's North by Northwest. "I'm just tired of dealing with 'the stuff'"

By stuff, Stanley means the unnecessary things that people buy all year round — from brand new electronics to fresh clothes.

"Whatever I have in the closet, this is what I'm going to wear for the next year. I don't really have any summer clothes in there, so I don't really know how this is gonna work."

Stanley says she thinks foregoing frivolous expenses will be easy. (CBC)

Reducing waste

Stanley says she was inspired to take on the year-long resolution after she and her partner successfully took on a month-long challenge to cut their household waste production in half.

"We found it incredibly easy, almost embarrassingly easy," she said. "It was really just about diversion — we were throwing away things that we could recycle, we were buying things in packaging that were easily found without packaging."

The challenge shed light on how much waste humans actually produce. Stanley says she became more aware on how much plastic ends up in landfills, or even on the side of the road.

Buy Nothing Project

After feeling guilty after making common purchases, Stanley came across the Buy Nothing Project — a group of dedicated waste reducers who have created an online gift economy.

Members exchange goods for free to help each other reduce overall waste. Some take up the challenge of not buying anything for a month. But a select few have opted not to buy anything for an entire year.

Stanley is the latest to take up the challenge. However, she's abiding by a set of rules that allows her to make some purchases.

"It's a buy 'no stuff' year for me," she said. "I'm allowing myself to purchase food... basic body care items as long as they can be refilled... basic cleaning supplies... [and] basic services — I'm not cutting out things like haircuts."

But Stanley won't be buying any clothing, beauty care products, or electronics.

"If my phone dies during this year, which it very well might, then I'm just going to have to find a workaround,"  she said. "I know my blender is probably going to die this year, so I can't buy a replacement.

"Nothing really besides the essentials."

With files from CBC's North by Northwest