New Years Resolutions – 2016

I didn’t have any explicit resolutions last year, but I love making lists and tracking things so this year I’ve picked five of my top goals to resolve to in 2016.

Buy Nothing New

I’ll declare 2015 a success for BNN. I did buy a few things new like a tea ball, a sink drain basket, and a new faucet to replace one that was leaking and in worse shape than expected, but it averaged out to much less than once per month. Last year, though, I took this as a call to buy more used stuff. I learned my lesson and will be staying away from the thrift stores this year unless there’s something I explicitly need.

To keep the household happy, my husband’s purchases are exempt from this rule. And I’ve already promised him that he can buy a new tv set after we get our house, which reminds me…

Buy a house

Many simple living people are content with renting a home, but it has long been my dream to have one of my own. I want to be able to build the soil in my yard into healthy soil. I want to be able to put in a water collection system or experiment with grey water. And I’m totally not minimalist in this sense, that I want a place to call my own (in the inclusive sense meaning belonging to my husband and myself both, of course).

I was actually hoping to find a house last year, but in Austin’s market with the limitations of budget, desired neighborhoods, and scorning any square footage over 1000, good houses don’t come on the market that often. There was one house I really wanted in late October but unfortunately was out of town and it was under contract before I could act. 😦

Getting a house may raise some new challenges, but since I already have all the furniture I’ll need and have never been too stylish, it should be limited to what’s essential only.

Eat less meat & dairy

Since reading The China Study over Thanksgiving break and a couple of other books more recently, I’ve been motivated to do this for my health. But it’s for environmental reasons too. Reducing the amount of meat and dairy I consume will reduce my water, energy, and methane footprint, and I’ll have to worry less frequently over what to do with the icky plastic bags that meat comes in covered with bacteria.

My husband’s on board with going totally meat and dairy free for the first two weeks of this year. This will give us a jumpstart in learning how to prepare and eat vegan fare that otherwise might be harder to ease into.

Try at least one new food every month

This worked really well in 2015, so it’s definitely time to try it again and see if I can expand my horizons further. You can see from the lists below that there’s way more foods that I tried and liked than tried and grimaced. Having more options at the farmers market will also help me to spend less in the future.

Foods I tried last year and really enjoyed: kale / persimmon / canary melon / watermelon radish / lentils / black bean (burgers) / chard / fennel / barley / collards / cabbage / pomegranate / grapefruit

Foods I was less taken with: parsnip / beets / dates / baby bella mushroom / sweet potato

Reupholster the couch

Last year was mostly about learning how to use discarded tshirts as a resource with tshirt yarn, but I also made a throw pillow and a pieced slipcover for my ottoman from discarded jeans. Those projects were both in preparation for this much larger project of reupholstering the couch in repurposed denim. The couch is made up of some kind of fake leather that’s been flaking all over the place, and we need some comfy and attractive seating for our new house.

I have no illusions about this being a weekend project. Before I even get started, I need to get some sewing machine oil and figure out how to get my sewing machine cleaned and in peak condition. I’m targeting February just for completing the first seat cushion. Just like the tshirt yarn projects though, it will all be done with discarded jeans salvaged from the Really, Really Free Market.


The following didn’t quite make the list, but they’re still things I’ll be working on in 2016.

  • No more soda. I quit over half a year ago but have still been drinking on special occasions. It doesn’t even taste good to me anymore, time to quit.
  • Reduce eating out to once per week. Lately I’ve been going out for lunch with some of the work crew twice a week, and it’s usually not healthy fare and sometimes even comes on a foam plate.
  • Continue striving towards zero waste. Maybe learn to make my own milk alternatives for my husband.
  • Keep a daily journal of food consumption and exercise with how my body feels each day, so I can learn what works well for me.
  • Go to the park once a month.
  • Grow more food. I already have some planted but this may be the year to try tomatoes also.

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