Jan 4, 2007

With all of the media coverage, more regional groups are springing up or expanding. I've been getting a lot of requests via this blog to post links for those groups. That will always take me a while to get to, but you can post your own link to the yahoo group, which attracts way more people than the blog. There's a file for regional groups, and you can post a message to the list. It's great to hear from so many people from all around the world. Folks who have been living like this for years and others who are just going to give it a whirl.

On the media madness, I'm finished w/ radio interviews, unless there's a public, collective, or pirate radio request. No more Clear Channel interviews for me. There are other compacter's who will go for those I think. I can forward requests but I can't really talk in sound bites or get angry at "the corporations" while talking on a Clear Channel station. The hosts have been nice, one was even honestly questioning how his station can advertise to a progressive audience in a socially respectable way.

I've been asked some great questions lately, but there are some that never get asked. I wish someone would ask me to trace a product, like a book or cotton sweater, from extraction to retail. It gives a great opportunity to talk about the various reasons people have chosen to compact. And it could take an entire interview, leaving no time to ask me whether or not I think not shopping is un-American.


melinda said...

I just read about this project. I think many people have lived this way for years but I am glad to see it as a choice!
My grandmother was raised in the depression and I was taught "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without".

Anonymous said...

Hello Rachel,

I hope you're doing well...Just wondering if you'd be available for a radio interview today.

Please give me a call if you have a moment or email me at juliaf@cfrb.com

Producer -"The John Moore Show" &" The Peter Shurman Show"
Newstalk 1010 CFRB

Anonymous said...

Hi. I want asked and propose the following..



Anonymous said...

The chair you are sitting on, the house live in, and the job you currently have are all a direct result of consumer based capitalism. Think that you can simply not buy anything and you are improving the world? Tell that to the Chinese mother working in a coffee cup factory so she can help feed her family and as a result, develop her country so she too can sit in your chair and have your job. Think international and dont be selfish.

Anonymous said...

It's funny I've always lived this way as a result of depression era grandparents and low income parents. It's amazing when I married my husband he had to "learn" not to spend spend spend. Now as we are in a crunch ourselves it's not as bad as it could be for some. I love craigslist it's an amazing place. Don't listen to the "doubters" either keep it up!!

red hair girl said...

what a great concept! and - did you know... that a potato chip bag is made up of seven layers? i learned that in grad school. it is so true that we have so much more crap than we actually NEED. i think i'll give this a whirl!!!

Anonymous said...


I started doing this two years ago, and although I bought a couple of things brand new, 95% was used from thrift stores etc.. Most of my well- to-do friends think it is strange. It is nice to see others doing the same, I wish I had know before, so I could have been in the support network, because doing it alone was not easy.

Here is to another fiscally responsible year; more money to charity!


Anonymous said...


I started doing this two years ago, and although I bought a couple of things brand new, 95% was used from thrift stores etc.. Most of my well- to-do friends think it is strange. It is nice to see others doing the same, I wish I had know before, so I could have been in the support network, because doing it alone was not easy.

Here is to another fiscally responsible year; more money to charity!


Anonymous said...

Buying a coffee mug made in china does not advance the Chinese (or American) economy. They're nothing selfish about not buying what one doesn't need, and buying used for the rest.

If anything the specious argument that one is helping a Chinese woman by buying a brand new coffee mug is selfish. It justifies one's own impulses with a perceived (though false) good.

Anonymous said...

If you email me an address you feel safe sending out I will send you an Adult Size Bicycle Helmet that has been sitting in my garage for 3 months...unused. If you email me with a list of other things you or your friends might need, I was going to clean out my garage, so I'll give you "first dibs"- as my daughter says. I'm at "crzyldymail@yahoo.com".

Andrew said...

I would be interested in knowing if any Compact-ers are coming from a faith perspective.

I'm an editor with The United Methodist Publishing House, but I would be interested in hearing from someone who is doing this for reasons influenced by any faith or denomination. Feel free to get in touch with me at aschleicher@umpublishing.org. Thanks.

Andrew Schleicher
Development Editor

Sylvie said...

Thanks for your efforts.
I saw a recent report on TV news the other night; I think it was CBS(?). They ended the report by saying that the group will set aside one day to buy new items, including bed sheets. I was curious why bed sheets aren't something that you would buy used?
Respectfully, Sylvie

Anonymous said...

"With all of the media coverage..."

Speaking of which, this part of the comment made by John Perry in today's AP article -

"...making people miserable around the world."

is, on the face of it, ridiculous. This country, and the people of this country, are not responsible for anyones misery but our own; the people of other countries need to take the responsibilty to make changes - or stay miserable. We are not, and shouldn't be, the Welfare Agency of the world. We only need be responsible for ourselves - and so do those of rest of the world need take responsibility for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Hey glad to see some sensible people still live out there but ah we live like that in alaska in the bush so welcome to our way of life

Anonymous said...

rachel, i'm writing a story for a national magazine on this movement. could you please contact me at writegreen13@aol.com

Erica said...

I just read the story about your group on Yahoo's front page, and I just wanted to say how encouraged and excited I feel to learn about The Compact, and to take on this challenge myself for this year! The more people who participate in this sort of lifestyle change, the better.

Anonymous said...

Philosophers talk about herons and dolors. Advantages versus disadvantages. I pose this question, by making yourself feel better about not spending does this outweight the economic consequence? I work in shipping, if you don't buy things, people don't ship products, I lose my job. Do you still feel good?

TL said...

One of the earlier posters had it right, but targeted the Compacters as being selfish, which was wrong - just misguided. Obviously, our culture consumes alot of resources that aren't necessary, but the byproduct of that is that it generates employment for us all - jobs are the most important "product" of our economy. If you believe that our trade policies create social or environmental problems in other countries, you should be fighting to fix those trade policies - refraining from purchasing goods isn't going to do anybody any good.

J.T. Evans said...

I enjoyed reading about the project, it's a refreshing idea and I like the concept. It's definitely a reality that so many people truely live this way. now those who have participated can begin to understand how it feels. I have a large family and have to live on one income so that I can stay home with children. shampoo and socks become a luxury in my home most of the times. I truly appriciate the little things, what to speak of something larger. I actually got salon shampoo and conditioner for Christmas and I just charish it! I hope the project continues and grows to enlighten others

Anonymous said...

I am just learning about this and i find it wonderful and amazing...your commitment is something to be proud of....though I have a question....do plane tickets count in your Compact??

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering if anyone who is a part of "The Compact" has thought about what would happen if no one in the United States purchased any goods or services for a few years.

I don't know, but it seems to me that with everyone a part of The Compact, jobs would dry up pretty quickly. And, without jobs, of course, even those things and services that Compact participants have granted an exemption to would cease to exist, in that no one would have anything resources to purchase those things with in short order.

Even entities (e.g. libraries, hospitals, schools) that many people feel would continue to function normally, even in difficult economic times, would shortly cease to exist in the absence of folks earning money with which to pay the taxes to support those entities.

Compact members might want to re-read Melissa's recent post, and think some about her grandmother's depression era - "use it up, wear it out, or make do without" comments. If you do, you might recognize that all depressions are circular.

That is, non-consumption, which in a depression is due to a lack of resources with which to consume, also breeds worse economic times, because jobs are only created by individual or government spending... by individual or government consumption of the services and things people create, produce, and provide.

That is why the world-wide depression of th 1930's didn't lift until WWII. It took government war production, government consumption, to lift and turn the then current economic tide.

So, to offer you some more grandmotherly words to ponder, let me offer you some from another grandmother, mine. "Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it."


Liz Weston said...

I'm not exactly an economist (I only got as far as a BA in economics), but it's pretty clear that it would take an awful lot of people signing up for the compact to have any perceptible impact on the economy of this country or any other.

And taken to its extreme, the idea that we should all buy lots of new crap just to create more jobs is pretty silly.

Sure, if everyone consumed less, there would be an impact, but then perhaps our resources would be more effectively utilized, we wouldn't pay the heavy social and environmental costs for waste and new jobs might be created.

Of course, it might put some of the credit card companies and collection agencies out of business...

Anonymous said...

do you know of a group organized in Chicago? If not, I have been a closeted compacter for years and would love to organize!

Anonymous said...

I just find your movement after I read the news about your blog this morning. I strongly agree with you, especially after I read Die Kunst des stilvollen Verarmens and know the effect of mass media and consuming product corporates.

Consuming unnecessarity wastes limited resource and it will increase the price of resource and make more poor people unable affort the resource. This is a factor of widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

Say NO to the Waste!

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leslie said...

As a professional organizer in CT, I have to tell you how proud I am of all of you.If more people realized there is a library out there and we do not have to have the latest ipod when our year old, or older ipod does just fine--life would be better. But, then I would be out of a job--and that would not be cool. keep up the good work--and I am going to limit my spending this year with you!

Anonymous said...

Interesting way to live- my family does use new stuff- I had a baby 6 days ago, we were in labor about 24 hours- my husband and I counted 12 garbage bags leave our room in that time- and we have about a $10,000 bill for the two of us. We would contrast this to a home birth we had 12 years ago- two bags of trash and $4,000. But circumstances change and dictact responses, this was a high risk pregnancy with an urgent induction.
For Christmas, we had about half gently used toys under the tree- and I think our clutter in was about the same as our clutter out for the past year overall, including the holidays.
Is it easier or more difficult to be extreme? Would a compacter question the use of health care products, and also would they never buy new things for kids or gifts? For example, Christmas gifts included movie passes, chocolates, sewing done by women at the senior center- for American Girl dolls, potholders, a beautiful violet embroidered cloth for the top of a dresser for my daughter Violet- would you never buy things like this?
Just curious- Tracy

Anonymous said...


I'm glad that your group is getting more press and people are talking about it.

Some of the anon posts here are funny.

I loved one of the quotes in the Yahoo story today about walking into a mall and feeling like it was coming off a flying saucer.
No kidding!
I've been trying the last few years to do a 180 on how I view consumerism and I think it's worthwhile for others to do the same.
When I need a new pair of jeans, what the heck, I have no problem going second hand. And one of my favorite guayabera shirts cost me 8 bucks from a thrift shop.

But mainly, I think it's good to try and THINK about the impact we are having on this planet.


Anonymous said...

I applaud the efforts of all of the Compactors out there! In response to those worried about job loss, etc. - you are all taking a very short-term and ignorant view of where humankind is going over the next 20-30 years. Three points for you to consider: 1) Oil & other commodities are rapidly disappearing, which poses both serious economic and US security challenges; 2) Our global environment/ecosystems are almost irreparably damaged by human consumption - that means major health and quality of life issues for every single one of us; and 3) economies are constantly changing - where jobs are lost in some industries, new ones are created elsewhere. Human ingenuity and perseverence will create new economic opportunities, and thus, new jobs. Just compare the US job market in the 1950s vs 2006.

Rica said...

I've been doing this subconciously for the last year now simply because I was forced to. I am not making nearly as much money as I used to years ago so I don't shop as much. I love Freecycle and have rediscovered thrift stores. My father was a boy during the depression and always instilled in me not to be wasteful and to save my money. He often shopped at thrift stores. We waste too much as a society. It is possible to live with less.

Anonymous said...

What kind of computer do you have?

lunachild said...

Welcome to the world of being poor. Grow a garden, can and freeze vegables, get a hunting license and pray to God you get some venison for the winter. You may think its cute and fun and trendy, but to actually live frugally for your entire life is exhausting. It is work. You people have no clue. It is all a game to you. If and when you came into a real life crunch, you would would be lost. Sure you may have all the requisite items on some survivor list, but you don't have the hard scrabble, stoic attitude that it takes to truly survive a catastrophe. Then it isn't fun and games. The truly poor will be the survivors, because it is just another day in our life,

hustlermoneyblog said...

Great site. I like all the saving money advice and tips you give on this website. If you like, we can trade links. send me an email and let me know. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I'm writing to you from Ireland and hoping you would be interested in doing an interview on Irish Radio.

If you would be interested you can contact myself by phone on 00353-2242430 or you can email me johnpaul@103fm.ie

Many thanks

JohnPaul McNamara
Producer - Cork Today
Corks 103fm
Phone 003532242430

Serge Lescouarnec said...


A link to a post i wrote about shopping by private jet led me to the piece in 'The Telegraph'.
I just wrote my comments on it with links to your sites on 'Serge the Concierge'

Thanks for the provocative ideas.


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Anonymous said...

Just come to Poland.
And your life would become much easier when you earned 300$ per month.

Have a nice day. Darek