Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 4: Cancelling our Catalogues

The Task: Recycle all of our current catalogues (FYI: I'm not spelling it wrong, I'm Canadian and that's how we spell it...) and ask the companies to no longer send them to us. 

The Why: Nearly every company has an online catalogue you can browse, making the concept of sending paper catalogues around the world every year really wasteful and kind of silly.  (Catalogues in the US alone are reported as using 53 million trees a year!) Plus, when I need an item I should be shopping only for the item I need, not leisurely browsing through every item the company sells.

The fact is that catalogues are designed to sell us things we wouldn't otherwise buy. If they weren't, companies wouldn't send them to us every single year for free, right?

And finally, catalogues take up space.  If we don't have them, we don't have to store them anywhere!

The How:  I gathered up all of my magazines, and one by one visited the websites of each company to send an email requesting that they no longer send me catalogues.  I assured each company that we will browse their online catalogue when we are in need of something! Then I disposed of all of the catalogues in the recycle bin.

There may have been some I've forgotten about, so I'm committing to immediately cancel any catalogues that arrive in my mail in the future.

Total Time Spent: About 20 minutes.

The Verdict:  Honestly, as a geeky homeschool mom, I'm kinda mourning the loss of my Curriculum catalogues.  But I know that it's better for me to search the website for the things we really need than to go through their entire inventory with a highlighter and a cup of tea. 

The habit of always shopping and constantly browsing for things to buy does not help us to cultivate a life of radical simplicity!

We are doing one small thing every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!


  1. Absolutely need to do this, and not just this but also cancel our newspaper subscribtions that we don't read! So much wasteful paper.

  2. I love your other blog. And I love this blog too! I am in a place in my life where I cannot totally commit to doing The Year of Less, but I plan to start in the near future. Thank you so much for the wonderful idea :)

  3. What about catalogs that offer coupons and the like? I love your blogs. You are such an inspiration!

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  5. I'm going to start collecting ours and cancel!

  6. I am not sure if this website/company works for people outside the US, but this is what I use to cancel my catalogs. Just one website instead of having to go to each company.

  7. thanks for blogging! i am inspired already!

  8. i TOTALLY know what you mean ... i love curriculum catalogues (that's spelt right too as i am a new zealander) ! But as WE are following along with you, this is on my list of things to do today :) Thanks so much for all the wonderful inspiration on both your blogs!

  9. What annoys me are all the 'junk' catalogues (same in Scotland!) that come through your door without even asking for them!rrrrr! They get put straight into the recycling bin to avoid browsing. Looking forward to your line-up of tasks, for inspiration for our household.

  10. amen! browsing leads to no good things for me either.

  11. Love this new project of yours, Kelly! As soon as we're home I'm going to get on this one. (the throw pillows are just too radical for me though!). ~ Robin

  12. So excited to follow you and your family on this project. Heaven knows that myself and my family could use something like this as well. I am totally getting rid of all the extra throw pillows that I pick up 100 times a day, but I am not sure I can live without paper towels. At my house, each child only has 4 pants and 6 shirts for each season (winter/summer), so far it has cut down on laundry and I don't spend oodles of time organizing, rotating, shopping and washing/folding all those clothes. I love the rule of spending time intentionally and being present. I can't wait to see what follows each day....I'm hooked!

  13. Ok, so I am oing to play the devil's advocate here...mostly because I do think of you as being a wise and sensible woman so I need your advise. My desire and goal in living more simply is NOT being online as frequently. In fact, when we switch carriers for our phones in 2 months, we are planning to get rid of internet at the house and have a "hotspot" mobile something or other for my husband's phone so I can check email and stuff when he's home, but be less distracted by the www and such during the day when I am supposed to be focused on my lovely domain. so, I am not sure cutting out my catelogues would be practical or simplifying in that sense. BUT, could I make the compromise of only getting the ones I actually use- like a seed catelogue or two, and maybe my ikea catelogue? Also, I have sever brain freezes on how to properly and enjoyably work ikea's website. And, I should note that I have one single magazine holder (from Ikea!!) that I am faithful to keep cleaned out.

    that's my situation/so story. thoughts??

    also, my husband was on board until I mentioned that he may have to downsize his clothes. He has about 25 shirts- and I mean short sleeve only, not total. really..I am not kidding. and that is AFTER he downsized when we married 3 years ago....hwo can I motivate him and help him to feel excited about this?? thanks!!!

    1. Hi Ames! Simplifying is a very personal's different for everybody. I'm sharing our journey, but yours will surely be different!

      My advice would be not to push your husband too hard about the subject. Simplify the areas of your life that are up to you or that he is excited about and leave the areas that are important to him alone. If one spouse feels resentment over having to give up their stuff that is definitely NOT simplicity! :)

  14. Can I just say - I dig you you are so cool and on to what I often have asked myself I would live to be daring enough to do!!! I totally sympathise about the curriculum catalogues ( geek mom drool!) but you go girl. My neighbour and best friend :) share a mailbox we made a no junk mail sign but haven't figured out how to attach it yet! I can't wait to see a mailbox with only letters!
    Love what u do ( Is it ok if I actually just love YOU?!?) keep up the good work!!


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