The West family of Elk Rapids wanted to try something new at the start of last year. The goal was for Melissa, David, Koa and Kawai to not buy anything new in the New Year.
â??I said I have this idea, Iâ??m thinking about not buying anything new," said Melissa West. "Well, like any husband, heâ??s like, â??Yes, my wifeâ??s not going to shop for a yearâ??, not really thinking about him, but thinking about me not shopping.â??
David West said he was uneasy about the family's goal at first.
â??It was hard, after a few months, I just was not happy about this whole resolution,â?? said David.
So why did they do it?
â??Because it would help Mother Earth and itâ??s because we already had a lot of Tupperware and stuff, why would we need a lot more?" said 6-year-old Koa West.
The idea came about two Christmases ago while Christmas shopping. Melissa felt like they were being wasteful by buying things they barely used.
â??The thought that you need to keep changing to keep up, and keep buying to keep up, it really feels a little bit like a trick that is being played on you to just be more wasteful and spend more money,â?? Melissa said.
David and Melissa recall the one and only time they almost slipped up and bought something new. It was when 4-year-old Kawai needed a part for his skis.
â??An Edgie Wedgie, and I was like, â??Eh itâ??s only $10, Iâ??ll go get it.â?? I grabbed it, and I brought it back to the car and she was like..." David said.
â??No, you have to take that back! We canâ??t tell people that we made it two weeks," said Melissa. "Iâ??m like Iâ??ve committed to this, weâ??re doing this, weâ??re gonna do this as a family.â??
Melissa said the only things that they bought new were food, toiletries, undergarments, craft supplies, and replacement car parts. Everything else was bought used from thrift stores, yard sales, Craigslist and eBay.
And they didn't stop there.
â??Itâ??s kind of like a chain reaction where you just start doing more and more and itâ??s exciting, itâ??s addicting,â?? said Melissa.
The West family recycles, they can food from their garden, they have a compost bin and a clothesline and they also have a chicken coop.
â??I like it because I always get to go out and get all the eggs. Today, we got about 15,â?? said Koa.
Melissa said it has been very convenient having their own chickens.
â??Itâ??s like having a pet that provides you food and we thought it would be a good lesson for the boys to learn how to be a little bit more sustainable,â?? said Melissa.
This year the West Family set a few new goals.
â??Weâ??re going to try to completely stay away from any of the big box stores and try to shop locally and shop things that are made out of recycled goods and energy-efficient things,â?? said Melissa.
David said their efforts are part of a much bigger goal.
â??I think itâ??s important because weâ??re, environmentally, weâ??re helping to lessen the impact on our community and on the earth,â?? said David.
Their efforts also extend to their gift-giving. David said the excitement of receiving material gifts is often short-lived.
â??You kind of are thrilled by it for a few hours, or maybe even a day or a week, and then eventually you set it aside and you donâ??t look at it again," said David. "Then next year itâ??s going out to your yard sale!â??
So, rather than buy material gifts, they give experiences.
â??A lot of the presents Iâ??ve given have been classes, or like for our son we gave him horse riding lessons," said David. â??Experience is something that you canâ??t give away itâ??s yours for as long as you can remember it.â??
Melissa said their resolution has been a fun-filled adventure for her.
â??I realize that I have just as much fun thrift shopping, if not more, because I feel like Iâ??m getting these really exciting deals and finding these treasures,â?? said Melissa.
To contact the West Family you can email them HERE.
For tips on how your family can buy nothing new for an entire year and to keep up with the West Family you can check out their blog HERE.