60 Wasteful Things I Stopped Buying As A Minimalist
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Due to our lack of gratification, the comparison game, and the manner of taking everything for granted, we cultivated the mindset of never having enough and the habit of consuming more stuff than we need.
In particular, we compare our lives with others, buy what society lures us to do, end up not appreciating what we have, to then make the same mistake over and over again.
Think about it - this mentality is neither healthy nor sustainable, nor does it make any sense.
Since minimalism teaches us to find beauty in the simple things, I discovered that true happiness is not in pursuing more, but rather the opposite - in aiming for less.
It reduces clutter and stress
Decreases waste output
Keeps away toxins
Increases time, money, and energy
Allows us to live more sustainable
Enables a more meaningful and joyful life
So I thought I’d share with you a list of over 60 wasteful things I stopped buying as a minimalist.
How To Stop Wanting More and Buying Things You Don’t Need?
Wanting more makes us less present-centered, creates frustration, and often leads to meaningless over-consumption.
It happens when we define ourselves by the things we own instead of the qualities of our personality.
Sadly, that leads to the conclusion that it’s not us owning the things but our things owning us.
But let me tell you what, owning less is a choice - your choice! And choosing simplicity leads to so much more happiness!
Here are some simple tactics that I also apply to break your habit of never being satisfied and how to stop shopping mindlessly:
Differing wants from your needs
Stop comparing yourself with others
Changing your mindset about stuff
Creating a clutter-free home
Keeping it simple
Embracing the simple pleasures in life
Before buying useless stuff you should also ask yourself:
Can I afford it?
Do I need it, or does someone influence me to buy it?
Will it bring value to my life?
Does it serve any purpose?
Do I want to show off with it?
Will I like it in the future too?
In the following list, you’ll find things I no longer buy because they are:
senseless to buy
So feel free to read along, and I’m sure you’ll find things to stop buying to save money, time, and energy while simultaneously living greener.
60 Wasteful Things I Stopped Buying As A Minimalist
1. Things I can’t afford
On the road to simplifying my life, I learned numerous tips on managing money. And a great rule to keep your money from getting wasted is not buying things you can’t afford. Avoid buying anything that would trap you in consumer debt.
2. Things I can get for free, cheaper, or second hand
Another great rule to keep your wallet safe is to look for items you can get for free first. Check your online sales platforms to see if you can get that baby bed, that dum bell, or that Kindle ebook reader for free or cheaper (provided it’s in good condition) - saves money and waste.
3. Things I can borrow
Before heading to the next store, check if you can borrow items that you don’t necessarily use regularly. You don’t need to buy every tool out there to display it in your garage. Or a new tennis or squash racket, or volleyball if you don’t plan to play now and then. Even books can be borrowed from, read, and given back to friends at no additional cost and waste.
4. Luxury items
Any item that serves its purpose doesn’t need to be overpriced and luxurious. For example, a 300 dollar bike will bring you from A to B as a designer bike for 5000 dollars. Choosing the more expensive bike won't necessarily make you any happier, nor faster. So why spend your hard-earned money on a more luxurious version?
Minimalism is also about reducing duplicates - may it be pens, clothes, or any item that lies around at home and remains unused. Though you might want to keep multiple samples of your favorite pants or socks - you don’t need an additional coffee machine, numerous computers, or shoes.
6. Newest Fads
Learning how to live simply in a modern world taught me to avoid jumping to the news fads. After all, all my belongings are still in proper condition. So if you are planning to upgrade your perfect functioning iPhone just because Apple’s CEO Tim Cook wants you to, just say thank’s - but no thanks! Start appreciating what you already have, and you'll see that everything will also last longer.
7. On-Sale Products
Don’t fall into the trap of the marketing strategies and go mindlessly shopping when products are on sale - unless you need something, of course. Remember that those on-sale products are remains of the old collection and that right after, the new selections will come out and try to get your attention.
8. Disposable Plastik
Every single piece of plastic ever made still exists. And as living with less goes hand in hand with living greener, avoiding disposable plastic, like plastic bags, straws, gift wraps, and what not, has become my goal and is non-negotiable.
9. Takeaway Coffee
Years ago, I nearly spent 150 dollars a month just on that trendy looking cup of daily coffee from the coffee shop. My home-made coffee costs me not even a tenth of the price and keeps me away from wasting disposable plastic.
10. Water Bottles
Same as with coffee, I refuse to buy water bottles or soda in plastic bottles. Luckily I live in a place where tap water is of first-class quality. But also if not, I’d rather use a filtered bottle like the Lifestraw Water Bottle, or opt for a water filter system at home.
11. Nespresso Capsules
The pods are made of aluminum and can enjoy a second life when using the company’s free recycling program. Yet, I choose to live without them because they still produce waste, and I am thrifty ;)
12. Bank Fees
Why choose a checking account when you can get it for free, even if you love to stay with your house bank that charges only 5 bucks a month? There are lots of great options and don’t worry, there’s no catch!
Before committing to an insurance company that promises you to have the best offer, ask yourself if you need their product. Insurances are useful in case of an emergency that you cannot cover with your savings. Stay away from insurance stocks. Your gains will get eaten up by their fees.
14. New Car
I used to think that upgrading a car every three or four years was a good idea. But since I appreciate my belongings more, I see no sense and the need to upgrade, especially to a new car fresh from the store that loses its value the minute you drive out.
15. New Bike
Same with a new bike, as mentioned in point 4, I value my old second-hand cycle that I got for 75 dollars on eBay. But I learned the hard way. I used to have quite expensive bikes for my triathlons. One of them got stolen, and I sold the other one for half of the price after one year.
16. Cable TV
First, since I fill my days with activities that are, as the word says, more active, I stopped watching too much TV. Second, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube, and what not are cheaper or even free and offer far better content.
17. Multiple Streaming Platforms
Speaking of streaming platforms - for me, one is enough, and that is Netflix. Further, I choose to keep my time watching limited to have more meaningful tasks.
18. Fast Fashion Clothes
After watching The Story About Stuff, I instantly changed my buying mentality, and I choose quality, organic products that are made under fair conditions over fast fashion clothes from cheap providers. They are better for the environment and better for my skin.
19. Clothes For Special Occasions
Instead of buying new clothes for special occasions such as weddings, company meet-ups, or fancy parties, I try to pick items that can be worn for any occasion and fit with the rest of my collection. Optimize your closet with a capsule wardrobe that contains a concise, curated selection of timeless clothing helps.
20. Gym Membership
After realizing that I am better off doing my exercises in the park or at home, I just had to quit my gym membership - it saves me time and money that goes to education or investments.
21. Gag Gifts
Scouting for a funny gift for a friend mostly ended in buying some useless gifts from the gag shop. Better decide for minimalist gift-giving and make some time for a more thoughtful and less wasteful gift that will most likely end in the trash can.
22. Training Equipment
Training like a minimalist means exercising with little to no equipment. You don’t need any fancy machines to make your body sweat and get fit. All you need is you and maybe some of my favorite minimalist equipments like gymnastic rings, or kettlebells.
23. Training Apparel
Since I don’t go to the gym, I no longer feel the urge to buy additional training apparel. Nobody cares what you’re wearing anyway. Choose something functional and wear it till it looks shabby.
24. Public Transport Ticket
A few years ago, I decided to move to a flat that is within walking distance of my work. So no need for a ticket. When I need to go further, I choose to run or bike.
25. Electronic & Tech Gadgets
Aren’t we all in love with our little toys such as cameras, computers, and what not? And since their manufacturers release upgrades every year, we get stressed to upgrade them - otherwise, we are missing out, right? Please don’t fall into this trap! Your gear is still fine and will last for years to come. Don’t replace or upgrade unless essential.
26. Smartphone Case
No more smartphone case upgrades either. If the old one still fits and protects my phone from getting damaged, it can stay for as long as it lives.
Going digital with my books saves me space and money. I’m happy with my Kindle eBook reader that stores all the books I need and lets me customize brightness, font, and font size for the best reading comfort. Plus, listening to blinks, audiobooks, and podcasts make it so easy to avoid physical clutter.
28. Newspaper & Magazines
Isn’t our online era wonderful? Not only does it provide us with various information from anywhere and any time but it allows us to go paperless.
Since changing my mindset about stuff, I have no urge to upgrade my furniture either. We get bored with our old stuff so fast and feel the itch to replace them, just for the sake of buying. Why not use furniture until worn out?
30. Home Decoration
There's no need for additional decoration at home. They solely take space, collect dust, and can empty our wallets.
Gone are the times when I used to buy two or three cheap sunglasses for my next vacation. As I avoid keeping duplicates, I take care of my shades and replace them only when broken.
Another great way to lower your waste output is cutting back on souvenirs. Our memories are not our stuff but our experiences. The best souvenirs you can bring home are memories captured on your camera.
Oh, I also believed that I needed various bags for each activity - for sports, work, hiking, or traveling. But the truth is, one bag works perfectly fine for all adventures.
34. Kitchen Appliances
The kitchen can be the most cluttered place at home. Reducing our appliances like dishes, cutlery, pots, and pans is the way to go. Of course, we also need to prevent new items from cluttering it up again.
When browsing through my account statements, I discovered a few payments for subscriptions I started years ago and never used. So I quit most of them and use only the ones that bring me value.
I radically reduced my supplement intake to the vitamins and minerals my doctor tells me I’m lacking. Before, I blindly followed the advice of friends and family. But the most sensible way to find out what you need is consulting your doctor.
37. Protein Shake
The same goes for protein shakes and protein intake in general. You don’t need as much as trainers, gym ads, or your best friends advice you to take. Plus, you can get all the nutrients from natural food without paying for processed products.
38. Toxic Beauty Products
We used to have tons of toxic body products in our bathroom that we also used. After questioning the whole beauty industry, we decided to no longer put anything in and on our bodies that includes loads of toxins.
39. Toxic cleaning products
- Najahyia Chinchilla
40. Perfumes and Air Fresheners
For enjoyable scents at home, we used up our existing perfumes and use essential oils now instead. Our main goal is to keep as much toxicity out of our place.
Now and then, I‘d buy a hand band or a new necklace to make me feel good. But it mostly ended up in a box and created clutter. Now, I carry only my wedding ring with me, which reminds me of one of the most meaningful days of my life.
Also, my wife is content with the jewelry she has collected for decades. And we are not tempted to upgrade to more luxurious or further items that would only bring clutter and empty our pockets.
For some, a watch maybe a sentimental item that they could never give away. Others need a watch for work, because looking on a phone to check the time seems inappropriate. But for me, it is not necessary to carry a watch anymore. I’m perfectly happy with reading the time on my iPhone. And since I intentionally choose to limit my phone usage, I also find it easier to avoid getting distracted.
44. Toys and Baby Stuff
How many toys and stuff does your baby need? Do you think your child cares if it had only 5 or 50 toys or different pairs of clothes? Does your baby care if its room is full of stuff or half-empty? Better be mindful and intentional with bringing things to your toddler, starting from a young age.
45. DIY Paper Craft Supply
If you are a DIYer like us, you know how fast paper-items can create clutter. And that’s fine, as long as we use them entirely. Try to buy only as much as you need and wait until they are used up, before running to the store.
Minimalism is also about being mindful of our time. And before, we used to spend hours on board games and video games. Today we spend the time creating something like candles, photo albums, or travel videos.
Digital Minimalism taught us to declutter our smartphones to minimize distractions. Reducing unused free and paid apps helped us gain more calmness.
48. Hard Disks
As for storing our memories and backups, I used to buy another hard disk almost every year. After decluttering my old disks from duplicate content, I shuffled so much space free that stacking up digital storage became unnecessary.
49. USB Sticks
We also stopped buying USB sticks for transferring data. First, we had more than enough, and I’m sure you got some lying around somewhere, too. Second, we can move files through Wetransfer and Dropbox and store them in a cloud.
50. CDs and DVDs
I guess the older generation might have difficulties with completely dodging their CDs or DVDs. But those who are used to Spotify, iTunes, and digital storage on the phone, no longer need those types of storage. If you collections cause clutter, shifting to digital alternatives might be a good move.
After a year-long alcohol detox (no, I was not an alcoholic), I found out that I enjoy life even without it. So why buy something that harms my body and I no longer like?
I used to smoke but had to quit to prepare for a triathlon after losing a bet. And that was one of the best losses in my life. Not only because it saves me a ton of money without cigarettes, but I enjoy far better health than before.
53. Junk Food
Toxins in - toxins out! That’s what happens when you eat processed. Realizing how valuable life is, I am on a journey of keeping my body as healthful as possible and have no space for junk food.
54. Take Away & Home Delivery Meals
Cooking our very own food with healthy ingredients that nourish our bodies reduced our craving for ready meals and take away. We order from our favorite Indian maybe once a month, but only because we cannot top their cooking - yet.
55. Frozen Ready Meals
We managed to keep frozen meals that contain lots of artificial ingredients out of our shopping list. The only thing frozen food we buy are edamame beans, peas, and berries - as their nutrients are kept well after freezing them right away.
Once in a while, I would allow myself to drink some soda like coke or Redbull. But if you think about it, they bring no good to your body. Full of sugar and other toxic ingredients, they can only bring harm. The only good thing they contain is water, so why not drink water, tea, or natural juices instead? Unless you are doing some heavy duty work or intense workouts where you might need carbs and minerals to maintain your performance, water is enough to stay hydrated.
57. Material Gifts
Knowing that material gifts tend to mismatch the expectations of the gift-receiver, I try my best to find out what that person I want to surprise would appreciate. And most of the time, they are not material gifts but experiences and thoughtful minimalist gifts.
All I need to write down my thoughts, draw, or sketch, is a notebook or a journal and a pen. Anything other than that is superfluous, creates clutter, and stays out.
Before, a nice to have, but now we are happy with our iCal calendar. Here too, we intentionally choose to create as little waste as possible.
60. Expensive Hair Cuts
Being frugal and thrifty is nothing to be ashamed of - also when choosing a cheaper haircut or even cutting it at home. Again, it saves time and money.
61. Photo Album
I have become very picky about printing photos. Like books, they take up space and collect dust. We make photo books instead to avoid those plastic sleeves. Additionally, they can contain more pics and save space at the same time.
We choose plants over flowers simply because they last longer and bring more fresh oxygen to your home than a bouquet, and create less waste.
As you can see, there are tons of things I don't own as a minimalist - and I’m still content and happy.
As a result, I keep many toxins out of my range, save some money, and enjoy more space.
So I encourage you to go to work, find unnecessary stuff, and change your spending habits - your health and your bank account will thank you later!
What did you stop buying over time? Feel free to share them below!