I've done a no spend month once a year for the past few years now. I used to do it in the middle of the year but last year I started doing it in January and that's going to stick. After all of the extra decor and spending during the holiday season I'm ready for a break from spending and ready to get some stuff done.
I always have a long to do list but often I see a shiny new project and gravitate towards that. This month is about avoiding the shiny and getting things knocked off the list. I turned 40 last year and I'm finding I have a lot less patience for unfinished projects. Seriously, they are making me itch. It bugs me that I work so hard on spaces and then I'll have baseboards that aren't finished or paint that needs touched up.
For me this means no spending on anything DIY or decor-related. No hardware store trips and certainly no HomeGoods trips, which is easy for some but when DIY and decor is your job it's a little more difficult. Target trips means grocery only. (Wail.) I also avoid shopping in general -- no clothing/makeup/etc. I'm not super strict about that though because I don't spend on those much anyway. It's really not that hard to avoid spending when I'm focused on getting things done, it's only the last few days that I really want to go buy something. This year I may not be quite as strict on the hardware store though -- I have a long list and that may require a few minor items. I've never allowed myself fresh flowers this month either and those are happening -- I need those in January. :)
I focus on using what we have, getting projects completed and purging and organizing our house. I thought I would share some of my favorite no-spend projects from years past before I kick this one off…
I've done a couple simple DIYs and this is still one of my favorites. :) I had a big candlestick from Goodwill:
And turned it into a little side table for the family room:
We still use this table -- it's the perfect size for next to a chair!
Another favorite is one I get asked about all the time. The DIY wood trough I use for decorating:
It's made from a few pieces of scrap wood and super easy to do.
So easy and free so I made another one to use in our living room:
They are great to fill up a long space, like down the middle of a dining table. Fill it with candles or flowers or whatever you can find!
I printed off some free art from the NYC Digital Gallery:
They have thousands of free images for you to use however you wish (except to sell). I have had these up for years and love them!
I added some simple trim to some art my son and I painted:wood made into a frame makes it pop and really finishes it off!
Of course there's lots of organization projects tackled as well. I used more scrap wood to build some shelving into the unused corner of our guest closet:
Such a better use of space!
My first project last year was purging and organizing our small storage room in the basement:
That's one that will happen again this year, but thankfully it's not as bad as it was in that before! Yikes!
And finally, I finish lists, which is the best part of a no spend month! A couple years ago I finished up small projects and completed our basement bathroom:
It really is awesome to be productive and really focus. I don't think about or purchase for upcoming projects, I just tackle what I have had sitting around.
Also, over the past six months I've gotten rid of more things in our house than I have in six years, no joke. I'm using the Konmari method (that I told you about here) but I put it on hold when the holidays and my kitchen renovation hit. I'll be sharing more of that process with you as well!
Have you tried a no spend month? It's refreshing and really goes to show how very little new things we need. Of course new things are fun, but after the holidays I need a break. It does my mind good. Here's a look at my first no spend month and this and this are my latest two round ups. As always, check in on Instagram and Facebook for updates in between posts! :)