Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver, Canada by artist Ted Dave in September of 1992.

It is celebrated on the Friday after American Thanksgiving – or the day most commonly referred to as “Black Friday”.

Buy Nothing Day is “a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.” It helps us take a hard look at what we buy, why we buy it, and what happens to it after we are finished using it. Buy Nothing Day is celebrated in over 65 nations. 

Online shopping has of course encouraged us to buy more – and it’s become a lot easier for us to do this. Shopping has never been more convenient – as we can click a button and an item will show up to our households without us ever stepping foot in a mall.

Here are some ways to celebrate Buy Nothing this year – but still feel fulfilled as if you bought something. 


1) Declutter

 There are many places in a house where “stuff” just seems to accumulate. Whether it is junk mail and papers, your kitchen drawers, your closet, or your book shelves, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to get on top of your room space. Every month, try to ensure every item in your house has a designated “home”. If it doesn’t, it might be time to recycle it or pass it onward to someone else. As a general rule, if you haven’t touched the object in 6 months, it probably means it is going to become a dust collector. It might be time to let it go. You can learn more about some of the benefits of decluttering here. 

2.) Rent something with Ruckify

There are many community swaps online. The next time you feel the need to buy something , it might be worth checking if you can rent it instead – especially if it is an item that you might use infrequently. There are many new ways to rent products – so the next time you feel the urge to buy something , check whether or not you absolutely need to own it, or if you just want to enjoy it for a short time. Sporting equiptment, video games, and entertainment systems are sometimes used for only a short amount of time. If you aren’t going to use it all the time, why not try renting it instead? On the Ruckify platform, you can rent things like a popcorn maker, an outdoor patio heater, sporting goods, a guitar, or an outdoor movie theatre. As a bonus, Ruckify will plant a tree for everything that is rented through their platform. Talk about a win-win!

3.) Make Something

When was the last time you created something that you were proud to call your own? Many times we fall into the traps of binge watching shows or movies rather than spending that time learning how to build something meaningful. Instead of always buying a piece of clothing, can you learn to make it yourself? There are many patterns you can create and a bunch of inspiration online like on this website. There are so many DIY craft ideas – even cat toys can be home made! 

4.)  Explore somewhere

Why not replace your online shopping habits with some time outside? Instead of buying a product and giving into purchasing stuff that you might not use, you can channel that energy into discovering new flora and fauna or studying a new tree species outdoors. There are tons of ways to get involved in fostering a deeper connection with nature – and many places to go. Every corner of the forest is yours to explore! You can book a guided tour with a company like Yours Outdoors or take your dog for a walk in the woods. Take the time spent buying nothing and shift it to exploring nature.

5.) Repair an Item

“I’ll fix it later.” The words so many of us have spoken, but haven’t followed up with. You can pledge this upcoming Buy Nothing Day to repairing a once broken item. Countless YouTube channels have easy-to-follow instructions on how to repair common household items – and you’ll feel like a weight was lifted off your chest once you finally complete this chore. As we approach winter, it might also be a good idea to have a look at your furnance for a tune up. 

6.) Donate items & choose carefully where they go

Have you accumulated a pile of unwanted items that you know you won’t use again? Many of us dump items at our local thrift shop, without giving it a second thought for where the items go after that.  We recommend that you take the time to carefully search where your items can be put to the best use. For example, have a look at your bookshelf. Maybe you think a friend can benefit from a book you read and you can pass it onward to them. Or perhaps you have a bunch of children’s clothing that you can donate to an ethical company that makes sure those clothes can live on with another wearer. Some companies like Mini-Cycle will even buy it outright and you can make a bit of cash!

7.) Cook or bake something new for a loved one

Have you heard of “Freezer Archaeology?” It is when we dig deep into our freezers to see what’s been forgotten – and make something with it! This is the same philosophy with our cupboards – food items that are still perfectly edible but have been tucked away toward the top shelf and forgotten about over time. Can you use this to bake a new vegetarian or vegan meal for a loved one? Perhaps you can bake a new recipe and put a smile on a loved ones face? And to think, you have the entire internet full of new recipe ideas to get you started! Here are some ideas from The Very Good Butchers to get your started. 

8.) Call a Friend 

When was the last time you picked up the phone and called a friend? Many times, we are so accustomed to texting and instant messaging them that we forget what a phone was originally used for : CALLING! It’s always nice to get an unexpected call from a friend that hasn’t heard from you in a long time. Reconnect with them and ask them how they are.  It can be a pleasant surprise to hear your voice – especially if they aren’t expecting it – and you’ll feel great that you made their day.

9.) Send a note

Remember when we made a hand-made card for our Mom or Dad for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? Sometimes a quick note to tell someone that you are thinking of them can go a long way. It can brighten their mood, raise their frequency, and put a smile on their face. You can send them a note using an e-jot or a quick message – a little goes a long way. 

10.) Do an unwanted chore

Maybe you’re not a big fan of giving the dog a bath. Perhaps you can’t stand cleaning out your car. Well folks, today is the day to take that chore and finish it off. They say “Eat the Frog” – finish off the chore you like the least first thing in the morning. This will make you feel fulfilled – but you won’t have to spend a penny! Imagine how you’ll feel once the chore is done. Cuddling with your snuggle bug pup or sitting in your car once it is squaky clean – you’ll feel better the unwanted chore finally got completed! 

11.) Write

When was the last time you sat down and organized your thoughts – on paper? Writing anything is a great way to plan, organize, or even destress. For example, journaling is a mindfulness practice that helps us empty our ideas and stressors in a meaningful way. You can also write a blog on a particular subject or type out an email to a company that you really love and express that to them. Writing is a great way to express yourself and can make you feel fulfilled once your words are out of your head and on paper!