Consumeless for a year

A journal of a year of consuming less and consuming sustainably

About us 19/12/2009

Who are we?

We are Eise and Karin. We live in Maastricht, a small city in the Netherlands. We met in 1996 when we both started studying psychology at Maastricht University. We live in an old house, which is about 10 minutes to the city centre by bike. Our house has a long but narrow garden, which is quite big for a house in the city. We have a dog, Lotte, and two cats, Babet and Haroen.


Why do we do this?

The first blog post we wrote was about our motivation for doing this experiment. This is wat we said:

As promised, in our first full post we try to explain why we conduct this experiment of consuming less and consuming sustainably in 2010. We have several reasons for doing this experiment, which we will elaborate on below.

First of all, one of our ideals in life is to contribute to a sustainable world. So far we have tried to do this by using organic products, by using energy sparingly, by eating no (or very little, in Eise’s case) meat, etc. Consuming less is another way to be more sustainable, and we would like to try to apply the principles of consuming less and consuming sustainably to our current lifestyle. Fully adopting a consumeless lifestyle would have quite a serious impact on our lives and it would probably be unrealistic to keep doing this forever. This is the main reason of doing this experiment for one year. In this year, we aim to pursue consuming less to the most extreme level as possible considering our jobs, living situation, etc. By the end of the year we hope to have found ways to comfortably apply consumeless measures to our lifestyle in the long term.

Besides our sustainability ideals, we see this experiment as a personal challenge. We would like to see whether we can really do this consuming less for a whole year. For Eise this is related to the whish to lead a simple, sober life and of not wasting anyting. Karin sometimes feels that she could be less consumption-minded.

Finally, we hope to reach some financial gain with this experiment. At the moment, we never really think twice if we buy something. As a result, we quite often buy things we really don’t need, which is not too lucrative. Consuming less seems an easy solution to this. However, consuming as sustainably as possible, as we plan to do in 2010, is not always the cheapest option. We will keep a detailed financial log during 2010 to see whether we really save money by consuming less.

Finally our motivations to keep a blog about the experiment. One of the most important reasons for keeping this blog has to do with motivation. It will not always be easy to consume less, so by publicly committing ourselves to this experiment we hope to find some external motivation. At the same time, this blog allows us discuss all decisions and dilemmas we encounter during the experiment. We hope to receive lots of feedback and tips from people reading this blog so we can make the experiment even more interesting. A third important reason for us to make a blog is to share our experiences. We hope that our experiment and stories will inspire other people to be more sustainable as well. Finally, we expect that we will use this blog a lot to explain to people what we are doing and why we are doing it. This might come in handy if we decide not to go out for dinner with friends, or if we are being a pain in the ass by suggesting to take the train once again!


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7 Responses to “About us”

  1. Ellen Says:

    Hi Eise and Karin,

    What a great idea! This blog is making me very motivated to start the same experiment, but I’ll give you a head-start, and maybe do this in the fast-period between carnaval and easter. I just had one question: what do you do about going to the hairdresser and the beautician and stuff like that? I know that you cannot NOT go to the hairdressers, so you go to one that has ecological products? I think these are very hard to come by…

    Good luck, and enjoy!!!


    • Karin Says:

      Hi Ellen, thanks for your reaction! It’s so cool to read that we have already inspired someone before we even started our experiment! But I have to be fair here, your annual fast-period inspired us as well…

      Let’s see. The beautician is a no-go next year, that’s not very essential. The hairdresser is another story. Eise’s hair is very forgiving if he doesn’t go to the hairdresser for a while as long as I do some damage control with our clipper. So he will probably only have to get a haircut about three or four times next year. I think I go to the hairdresser every 8 to 10 weeks. And I always ask the hairdresser to cut my hair a lot shorter than ‘my ideal coupe’ so I don’t have to go back too soon.

      That said, it is a good idea to search for a hairdresser that uses ecological products. I know the Aveda hairdresser does that, but I just looked up their prizes and that didn’t make me particularly happy (€ 55 for a woman’s haircut). A quick first search for ecological hair dressers in Maastricht learns that there is one hairdresser who uses organic colouring products. I never dye my hair, but they may have other organic products as well. I’ll have to dive deeper into this. You probably know more about hairdressers in Maastricht than I do, you don’t happen to know an ecological one?

      Cheers, Karin

      • Anne Says:

        Aveda didn’t make me happy either… their all sensitive moisturizer gave me a rash on my hands… 😉

  2. Greet Says:

    nice! I don’t think the not watching tv will be the hardest part. hope you can resist shoe shopping ;-), I wouldn’t be able.

  3. Kat Gawlik Says:

    I have been living on a small island of 300 people for the last 2 years so inevitably have been consuming less and living more sustainably. There is only 1 tiny shop on the island that is very overpriced so I try not to buy anything from there, and I get groceries from the mainland once every few weeks. It is easier to live with less than you think except you have the temptations that I don’t have of living in an urban environment. I think it is great you are documenting your experience and wish you the best of luck. Keep checking up on my sustainable living forum as it is only new and I will be trying to add information for living sustainably as often as possible. Also I have a Youtube channel that you might want to check out at
    I have subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading about your progress!!

    • Karin Says:

      Hey Kat,

      Thanks for your message! I guess you’re right about temptations. The good thing is that when you know you can’t shop, you tend to go to shops less often, only if you really need something. I also expect that not buying anything probably makes a few things in life easier. I will never have to decide whether I’ll buy a pair of shoes or not, simply because I won’t buy it.

      I’ll keep checking your forum!

      Cheers, Karin

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