Monday, January 2, 2012

12 in 11: December and ...finale

Did I succeed and reach year's end with only twelve clothing purchases across the year? Yes I did! I bought no clothes in December and so (with a little bit of creative counting urged on by my readers) I reached my goal for the year.

Across the year I've bought three pairs of shoes (Mary Janes that accommodate my heel inserts and that are already extremely worn; some Trippen sandals and glittery beaded slippers from Malaysia that need a particular occasion for wearing); two pairs of winter pants - beautiful fine wool Alistair Trung sale pants I've been wearing for 'best' and some indestructible heavy fabric grey pants I've just about lived in; a black Nicola Waite overdress that I wear either over pants or with thick tights (Nicola Waite makes such great clothes for larger women); three long-sleeved t-shirts for winter; a summer Marimekko oversized t-shirt that's currently my go-to favourite; and a grey Mandarina Duck handbag I've used almost every day since it was purchased. The final item is some earrings I bought on a visit to the Canberra Old Bus Depot Markets. I subsequently bought some additional earrings and a necklace while travelling but at the urging of my readers decided not to count these as they fall into the categories of both handcrafts and souvenirs.

So what have I learned from this challenge? Probably that it's good to have some external constraint on my clothing purchases - it's kept me honest to know that I need to publicly justify them. I've ended up with purchases that have been practical (as well as beautiful in some instances) and that - with the exception of the beaded slippers - have been well worn across the year. I'm surprised to find just how many of the items I've bought have been 'brand' items. As I wrote in an earlier post I've liked to think of myself as disregarding brand snobbery. I think I've now discovered that I just like to be selective about the brands I'm snobbish about!

I've enjoyed this challenge and what it has taught me; and I've enjoyed the comments it's elicited both within this blog and in person. I don't think the challenge can be continued indefinitely - my summer clothes in particular are just about falling apart and need rethinking. I don't think the challenge has brought a major change to my purchasing patterns; I've just been a bit more restrained. I've decided to keep an informal clothes-buying tally across 2012, but not on the blog, to see whether publicly acknowledging my purchases does make a significant difference to what I buy.

I was gloating about my success with this challenge to my daughter when she suggested that I should extend it for 2012 to an area of purchasing where I'd REALLY have difficulty exercising restraint - book buying. This brought me up short. Being careful about the books I buy would be much more difficult than taking care about clothes buying. I've thought and thought about this suggestion and have decided to set myself a 12 in 12 book challenge for the year. This will be really hard but just might make me thoughtful enough to use all the sensible alternatives there are to the indiscriminate book buying I currently practice. So, in 2012 I intend to

* use libraries. My local library is the excellent City of Sydney Library with its many convenient and interlinked branches, and I also have access to the library at the university where I work. I have no excuse for not using them.

* read currently unread books that I own. There are not many of these as I'm not a great browser of book shops unless I need something to read immediately. But I suspect I might find more of these than I think I own once I go searching.

* reread books I own. I have a great affection for nineteenth century literature and could engage in more systematic rereading. In particular, I'd like to reread some turn of the nineteenth century Arnold Bennett (a past favourite) to see what I now think of it.

* borrow books from friends. This really means making a strong resolution to return books I borrow from friends. In the past I've been reluctant to borrow books as I've not always been meticulous about returning them. This needs to change.

So, my 12 in 12: Books challenge begins now. Wish me the will-power and restraint I'll need to succeed!


Brendaknits said...

Lyn, your 12 in 11 challenge sounds as if it was a great success. I enjoy those kind of challenges. And thanks for the links to the retailers. One cannot buy wool pants here in Ontario any longer. I might try to see if your retailer would ship.

Taphophile said...

You did so well. I wouldn't worry about brand snobbishness. If the brand offers the quality and style you want, I say go for it. If I could afford MaggieT I'd be camped outside her door and the Nicola Waite collections look wonderful.

Anonymous said...

What an excellent resolution. I would fail it seriously (the Kindle makes buying books way too easy!).

Have you noticed the knitting book collection at the uni library? It is seriously good...

missfee said...

I am super impressed and have really enjoyed reading your posts and seeing your choices - exquisite to say the least

the book challenge look impressive and your daughter was cheeky to suggest it! If I can help at all let me know....

jp said...

I too have enjoyed both reading about your purchases and discussing them in person.

I am in awe of limiting book purchases such an awe inspiring goal.

Rose Red said...

I sort of informally played along with 12 in 12 but failed miserably - more like 36 in 12. Although in my defence I did get rid of more than that out of my wardrobe! I think you made such great choices. Must remember to check out Nicola Waite.

Happy to loan books to you, if there are any of interest - lots of classics, some modern classics and some trashy and / or easy reads.

DrK said...

oh my goodness. i cant believe you just said that. thats much harder than clothes. and of course, consider me your own personal lending library as well!

Lynne said...

Oh my! Wow! What a challenge! I wish you all the very best! My local library not only carries books but magazines, talking books (on CD), DVDs, ebooks and audiobooks; and I'm sure yours will be even better stocked! I'm quite happy to borrow fiction and biographies but I can't resist buying craft-related books and 12 in 2012 my just be too difficult for me!

louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife said...

I somehow missed this post until now - glad I caught it eventually though!

I found the 12 in 11 challenge useful in similar ways - to have to consider things then justify them, both publicly and to myself. I ended up buying 11 things in total but amazingly, some were still impulse-ish mistakes! I too need to replenish now but I'm going to operate on a one-in, one-out policy for clothes for now, and maybe start a no new clothes challenge midway through the year.

12 in 12 books would be a helluva challenge for me - I think I've bought more than that already! (although admittedly all for work-related things) I look forward to hearing how you manage with that!

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