Angela Barton’s Compact: A Year Well Spent

moneyExcess was never sexy to Angela Barton, no matter how many letters the words share. So when she heard about The Compact from an article on its founder, John Perry, in Sunset Magazine, she found the buy nothing challenge irresistible. She took it on and has been sharing the journey of bare essentials on her blog, My Year Without Spending since January. I recently checked in for an in-person mid-year report.
FYI: The Compact is a commitment to buy no new stuff for twelve months. There are rules but you get to make them and you get to have exceptions (see Angela’s must-haves). You can also borrow, barter or buy anything secondhand.

It turns out that living with less really is best for this Eagle Rocker. She doesn’t feel deprived in the slightest about not visiting the mall for seven months. In fact, she’s found that what started as a commitment to give things up has helped her focus on what she already has, bringing a whole bunch of abundance into her life, so much so she may become a Compact lifer (when I asked her if she’s itching to buy anything in particular in 2010, her answer was a firm, contented “no”).

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Not only is Angela decluttering her basement and finding happy homes for stuff she’s said goodbye to, she’s planted a lemon tree and herbs, started line-drying the laundry, met a community of like-minded simple livers online, had more time to spare, signed up to get local, organic produce from Auntie Em’s and done DIY in the form of handmade cards and homemade granola and mayo!
Some of the highlights of Angela’s blog are Food Waste Fridays (her now-dwindling leftovers from the week) and Thrifty Threads (pictures from readers who scored something stylish secondhand). Another is the way she asks good questions of herself and her readers, questions like “Do I really need this?” “How do you measure wealth?” and “Can I live with my banged-up, broken-down sunglasses or should I make them an exception and buy a new pair?” But the overarching query seems to be: “Does this endeavor/activity/purchase add pleasure or meaning to my life?”

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As we all live these questions of consumerism, whether signing on with The Compact or not, Angela’s blog provides a place to go for solace in simplicity.
Other conscious consumer resources on my radar:
*The Story of Stuff
*What Would Jesus Buy?
*The Backyard Homestead
*Guy Named Dave (and his 100 thing challenge)

Read how Angela measures wealth in lemons and love in the current issue of the Simple Living Network Newsletter.

And would you, could you join The Compact? What could you simply not live without? Tell us in the comments!