January Reading

I love to read both fiction and non-fiction, and can lose a whole weekend if a book captivates me. I also enjoy shopping for books, my collection steadily growing shelf after shelf. “Collection” is an appropriate word for my personal library, as I have indeed bought many books of a series or of the same theme, without making a dent in the To Be Read (TBR) pile. A major theme throughout my TBR are topics that I didn’t study in university but still care to learn about: mythology, ancient civilizations, art history and architecture, and social/cultural topics. Mythology and ancient civilizations were less a “need to have now” purchase to complete an arbitrary list I’d set, and more a reflection of what I was interested in at the time or where I was visiting. The art history and architecture books, on the other hand, were all bought within the same year while they were on sale – which is how I ended up with 25 of them. I won’t set an arbitrary expectation that I complete all of the art books in rapid succession to read them before the year is done, as I’d much rather read them as I’m drawn to them. Much like the goal for the year is to approach what I’m doing with intention and balance, I’ll be starting off with picking two books per month: one art/architecture history, one from any other category. This may change throughout the year, but for now, this works for me.

Book 1: The Study of Language

This was a swap from a friend who studied linguistics, and I’ve had the book for almost a year. I’ve flipped through it a few times, but haven’t yet committed to reading it. I like learning languages and learning about languages, so I feel like this textbook will act as a roadmap in understanding the linguistics building blocks. If nothing else, I want to finish the book so it find its way back to its rightful owner.

Book 2: Claude Monet – Taschen

Impressionism hold a special place in my heart, having been fascinated by pointillism while in high school, and most often drawn to this art period when strolling through art museums. The art from this period tickles my brain for how you need to take in a piece as a whole to see what the artist saw, and when you stand too close, it loses the bigger-picture meaning. Granted, if you stand too close to any painting, it too will lose meaning, though a pear in a still life is going to keep looking like a pear from most distances. I’ve soaked up what I could from museums and survey-level art history books, and I think I’ll be in for a fun read to go into more detail about the leader of Impressionism.

What I’m working on this week:

I’ll be tackling my clothing inventory and flipping my hangers around for the new year, which will be written about in Thursday’s post. If you’d like to see what I’m up to in between posts, you can follow my Instagram account, @ladywithless . Thanks for reading 🙂

My No Buy Plan for 2022

What is a No Buy?

The purpose of a No Buy or Low Buy is to reduce how much you are purchasing new things. You set parameters for yourself of what you are limiting (whether entirely or capping), and for how long. You make the rules for yourself according to what your need are (i.e., it would be incredibly difficult to purchase nothing an entire year if you included essential categories like food and rent), as well as what exceptions you have to your rules – or what you are indeed allowed to spend money on that may not be considered to be essential by others.

My Categories

I chose my categories based on where I spend the most money: clothing, accessories, shoes, crafting supplies, tea, and body care products. Books are also on the list, but are being treated a bit differently. For clothing, I have more than enough seasonal wear, and I know what colours and styles I like to wear most – and I know that I don’t need more. Accessories – earrings, other jewellery, bags, scrunchies – are just as plentiful as clothing. Shoes are a bit different in that I have a lot, for different events/purposes, but many of those events are not currently taking place, so they are not in use. Crafting supplies is likely the broadest category with stationary, writing tools, stickers, yarn, washi tape, scrapbooking paper, and about par for clothing in sheer volume of materials. For tea, I like(d) to buy in bulk with DavidsTea having moved to being almost an entirely online store, so I have around 1.5 kilos of tea, and I certainly don’t need more. For body care products, I amassed so much of everything from shopping sales, buying in bulk, or thinking that I would need more than I reasonably use. A single person doesn’t need five tubes of toothpaste, but that’s what I got from Costco six months ago. For books, I have a healthy To Be Read stack that I want to complete without rushing myself. Books are a bit different, then, as I’ll still be going to the local library, but I won’t be buying new books.

What will be tough about the goal

Avoiding sources of temptation will likely be my biggest struggle over the course of the year. Certain stores, like Michaels, DavidsTea, and Simon’s are full of stuff that I like (and that can stay out of my shopping cart), and avoiding them as a whole is my best bet. In 2021, I went to Michael’s twice, once with spending nothing (but I’d already been shopping at thrift stores that day), and the second time with buying more than I intended once I found something that would make a cute gift. I don’t need to say much about tea (see the 1.5 kilos remark above), and Simon’s is a catch all for cute clothing and home goods, and probably my number 1 targeted ad on instagram. I find that thrifting without a physical list has also led to buying more than I intended, and the rush from shopping for new items is the same as it is for thrifted items, with the additional layer of it being an unexpected find. To help prevent these temptations, I’ve already unsubscribed from all emails from these stores (and others) and I don’t follow them on social media anymore.

My philosophy

When it comes to what I’m going to do when faced with decisions of whether or not to purchase something, I want to have a much more intentional and slowed-down approach than I used to. I want to know what I have and what I need (which likely won’t be anything, at least for a few months) and be able to consider what it is that I’m taking into my home. If I don’t want to be in a space where I’m shopping, whether online or in person, I will need to be intentional about how I’m spending my time and what I do in a day. I want the time otherwise lost from online or in-person shopping to be spent on activities that are more meaningful to me, and I want my living space to not be bursting at the seams with stuff. I will be going into this year’s challenge with the mindset that the decisions I make are my own, and that there is no luck involved in the process; if I am tempted by an item, and choose to make a purchase, that is my decision. However, I also recognize that I do make mistakes, stuff happens, and what matters more is what I learn from my decisions and what I choose to do next.

What’s coming up this week:

I’ll be doing a paper-based inventory of my clothing (so I can keep track of number of wears per item), flipping my hangers over, and picking out the two books I’m aiming to read for the month beyond the remaining library book I have on loan.