Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: the scorecard

At the start of 2012 I wrote a blog post on my goals for the year, and followed it up with musings on mending or recycling rather than buying new, saving money, time and resources in the kitchen, the challenges of getting things repaired, and non-tangible gift ideas. Hmmmm, is a pattern forming here? I've long been frugal and a bit of a greenie, but am becoming more and more concerned about avoiding waste and clutter as I get older.

As stated in the original post, my overarching goal for 2012 was to be 'absolutely conscious about consuming only items I need, rather than buying any unnecessary clutter'. I didn't want to buy for the sake of buying, or get rushed into buying things that looked like bargains (but probably weren't), or acquire things I regretted. I fell off the wagon a bit in April when we discovered the delightful Hoola Hoop in Braidwood and I bought (ahem) five dresses! In my defence, I'd always struggled to find dresses I liked, and that fit me, so perhaps I can argue that this was just making up for not having any dresses in the previous twenty years or so? In any case, all five have become well-used additions to my wardrobe, so they definitely haven't turned into clutter. Anyway ... I kept a tally and ended up buying sixteen new items of clothing or footwear during the year, including several that were replacing other things that had worn out or fallen apart. This sounds pretty extravagant to me, but apparently is not. According to Juliet Schor, in her 2010 book Plenitude:

In 1991 Americans bought an average of thirty-four dresses, pairs of pants, sweaters, shirts, underwear, and other items. In 1996 that number had risen to forty-one. By 2007 per-person consumption had soared to sixty-seven items. American consumers were purchasing a new piece of clothing every 5.4 days.
(page 29)

I'm not American of course, but perhaps Australians are just as consumptive? If so, I guess I can pat myself on the back for only buying one quarter of the number of items the 'average' consumer does. (Or possibly even fewer? Professor Schor doesn't specify whether her figures include footwear. If they don't I guess my tally looks smaller still.)

Oh, and my other goals for 2012? Mostly achieved. I wanted to finish my uni course (done), continue volunteering and making microfinance loans (done), not get diabetes (succeeding so far), lose weight (whoops  not achieved), cook more Asian recipes (not really achieved  will try harder in 2013) and renovate our bathroom (didn't get around to it! Another one to carry over to next year).

My goals for 2013 will be similar to those for this year. I'm going to keep up the clutter and waste avoidance project, as it's quite a satisfying feeling. Oh, and I really do plan to cook more Asian food! How about you? Happy New Year.


Walter Mason said...

You look as though you did really well in 2012! You deserve congratulations! And now I'm certain that 2013 will be the best of years.

Karin said...

Why, thank you Walter! I share your optimism. Let's make 2013 a wonderful year ;-)