Things I’ve Stopped Buying to Simplify My Life
It’s been over a year since I started simplifying my life, so I thought of looking back at this past year of my journey and listing down what extraneous items I’ve been able to tick off on my minimalist bible/ minimalist living checklist.
If you’ve followed this blog long, you’ve probably come across my post about the 13 things I stopped buying to save money. Please head over to that post if you are looking for ideas on what to stop buying to save money and how to save $1820 in 52 weeks when you’re broke.
For more money-saving ideas, check out:
51 Extreme Frugality Tips for the Super Frugal
How to Live Frugally On One Income in 2022
Today’s list, however, is all about the things I have stopped buying since simplifying my life.
I’ve stopped buying these things because:
- They do not align with my goals.
- These things do not fit into my new lifestyle.
- They don’t add value to my life.
- These things also tend to own me back (they demand time, organization, storage, etc.)
- They hurt my pocket and the environment.
I know, this list may not apply to everyone as each person’s priorities and values are different. So, please don’t treat this list as the ultimate list of things minimalists don’t own or buy, because I believe there is no such thing.
But I hope that this post will inspire you to evaluate everything that you consume or buy to see whether they truly add value to your life and maybe to create your own minimalist living checklist to pursue your minimalism goals.
Important: This is not to shame anyone who buys any of the things listed below. The purpose of this post is just to give you ideas on what you could stop buying to start simplifying your life.
Things I Have Stopped Buying for Myself
Tip: if you want some motivation, download this free frugal living tracker and see how much you’ll save by being less consumerist and more minimalist!
I got rid of my fashion accessories because I rarely wear them. The few jewelry pieces I own were given as gifts.
I go for classic pieces that do not easily go out of style.
I avoid buying trendy shoes for the same reason as trendy clothes: they go out of style quickly.
I am a literature major and I used to own a lot of books. I love books but they also require a lot of space. I’ve switched to buying eBooks (or borrowing), which solves the storage problems!
I used to waste a lot of money on cosmetics. I still use a couple of products but I no longer buy extras/duplicates.
Hair and nail products
I only use a shampoo and occasionally a treatment cream. I no longer buy all sorts of miracle products for hair. I’ve stopped using nail polish as well.
BOTTLED SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER
I know, this is not for everyone and you might roll your eyes at this. But, when I saw these shocking statistics about how much plastics people consume, I was inspired to find alternatives to every bottled product I consume.
I’ve stopped buying bottled water and other beverages in plastic containers. And to consume lesser plastics, I also researched alternatives to my hair products. I discovered eco-friendly shampoo bars and surprisingly, they work great for me!
Material gift to myself
I used to reward myself with useless things such as more clothes and purses. Now, if I want to give myself a gift, it would be a gift of experience and time or a gift of nothing.
I am content with my smartphone.
Any “life-changing” beauty products
Store-bought makeup remover
I no longer waste money on makeup removers. Instead, I use coconut oil to remove makeup.
Any thing that doesn’t serve any purpose other than a “collection.”
These things include travel souvenirs or extra purses.
Any upgrades on products or services
I am happy with the basic stuff.
Loans / Debts
I don’t know about you but debt is one of the top things I don’t want to worry about, and this is just a personal choice.
I understand that living debt-free is not a choice for everyone. Many people had to go into debt to finish school or solve a financial emergency. But I believe that if you really commit yourself to paying off your debt, you’ll be able to do so. There are many ways you can increase your income to help you pay off faster. Check out the following articles!
- 16 Low-Cost Business Ideas for Stay-at-Home Moms (with High Profit!)
- 25 Jobs for Pregnant Women that Pay Well
- How to Sell on Amazon for Beginners with Retail Arbitrage
- How to Start a Blog and Make Money
- How to Become a Tax Preparer from Home
- How to Become a Bookkeeper With No Experience
- 13 Easy Ways To Get Paid To Watch Netflix
- 22 Side Hustles For Single Moms
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Household Items I Have Stopped Buying
Since simplifying my life, my taste for home decor has also changed. If I buy anything, it would be something that has a timeless appeal and that I would keep for a long time.
I admit, I love Christmas decors and I used to buy new ones every year. But since simplifying my life, I’ve learned to reuse what I already have. It’s nice to have nice decors every year but I like focusing my energy and money on other things that are far more important such as the company of friends and family.
Extra kitchen stuff
I have downsized our kitchen. Read more.
Plastic scrub sponge
I’ve switched to these plant-based scour pads for cleaning dishes and surfaces. It lasts long, natural, cleans well, and helps the environment!
Cable TV Subscription
We canceled our cable a few years ago and we’ve not looked back. It saves us at least $800 a year!
Containers/Storage for stuff
With less stuff, you don’t need extra containers.
Any single-use kitchen gadget/appliance
It consumes space and generally doesn’t really make my life easier. The kitchen items I use are listed here.
They contain harmful chemicals.
I want more space.
I love cooking my own food but I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I try to stay away from making complex recipes. Every week, I also create a meal plan not only to stick to our food budget but also to avoid wasting time figuring out what to cook every day. You can read more about my simple meal planning tips in this post.
I don’t know about you but I don’t like keeping these things in the house. Besides, there’s Hulu or Netflix or the Internet to rent movies from.
Grocery Items I No Longer Buy
Wasting food is common in American households. According to this survey, 20% of the food Americans buy is wasted. If you stop wasting food, you wouldn’t only save money but also help the environment.
Drink more water. It’s healthier and costs nothing.
Single purpose cleaner
I use a multipurpose cleaner to clean our patios, floors, kitchen sink, and other surfaces. This frees up more kitchen space.
Kids Items I Have Stopped Buying
I define “extra” as extra things that don’t fit in my son’s toy box or extra clothes that don’t fit in his drawers. If I get stuff for him, I practice the 1-in-1-out rule, which simply means one has to go if I get him one thing new.
I don’t leave my son toy-less, but I don’t want toy overload either. I want to focus on giving my son experiences instead of giving him lots of material things.
I am intentional about clothes as kids easily outgrow them.
While this list isn’t set in stone and it may still change as my priorities change, for now, I am happy to have rid myself of these unnecessary items.
By ticking these things off on my list, I have found more time to pursue my passions such as this blog, save more money (by not wasting money on things that don’t align with my goals), and clear distractions so I can focus more on what’s truly important to me.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
What is your idea of minimalist living? What have you stopped buying to simplify your life and save money?
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I just stumbled on your blog and I love reading the list of things you no longer buy because these align with my list of things as well. For my toddler girls I only buy them practical clothing for them to have fun and play and drag themselves all over the place which they enjoy doing. In our home we only drink water daily and don’t buy juices or sodas unless it’s the holidays and we have guest.
I still need to work on not buying the girls too many toys. I’m so weak and I pay for it everyday when my floors are coated with toys.
Hey Tameeka! Thank you for stopping by. As a mom , I understand the feeling of wanting to give our kids every toy they want. I feel the same way too, but I also have many good reasons why I shouldn’t do it. Good luck to you and hope this little post inspired you in some way !
As an educator for 23 years I have been to many parenting and classroom management classes. You child should have as many toys as he/she can INDEPENDENTLY clean up in 10 minutes. When my kids were toddlers that meant they each had a storage tub (the size of a file box) that their toys were in and they could clean up after themselves
That is a great idea. I will try to put this into practice with my two toddlers! Thanks for sharing!
My kids are 39, 43 and 46. They all work. When they were young we made holiday decorations and the kids who they played with made stuf f, too. The kids had a few action figures/dolls some blocks, toy cars, but no huge plastic houses or toys. Cardboard boxes became houses, ships, cafes or palaces. Egg cartons made furniture or storage. Toothpaste boxes, soap boxes, and other small boxes were also used. Most toys and books were secondhand.. When I was young, we.made paper dolls, paper boats, and dolls out of pipe
cleaners. We made a lot of things out of scraps.
I hear you! Same here. And now I start to declutter and give away things to make it easier when I have to leave this world.
I love your post. I am doing the same thing. Why leave my junk to others to throw away.
I have also purchased a mini scanner. Scan important documents to thumb drive throw out the papers. Decluttering feels great!
I love your blog. I’ve been going towards that direction. Thank you
Thanks Sari! You might want to read this post if you need help: https://thismamablogs.com/how-to-start-a-blog-and-make-money/
I sympathize with your wanting good things for your children. May I make a suggestion? Toy borrowing and swapping is becoming increasingly popular. I also have a friend who rents her child’s clothing! Kids often grow out of clothes or toys before they are worn out. Perhaps you can pick a number of toys that seems reasonable for your home, and then, with your child, select the ones they wish to keep. The rest can be donated or swapped. For our family, I also made a keepsake tub for each child. We’d keep some art, school ribbons, favorite toy, even shirts… as keepsakes, but once the box was full, they had to edit. This way they have a box of their childhood history… not too much… just the right amount. Our kids loved swapping when they got older, because they could exchange books, movies, or games for credit or swap it for something new to them. You can also organize exchanges yourself with parents of other children, or often through your local library or school. Here are a couple of links to get you started, and you can also try facebook groups and Freecycle.. I don’t know about these next companies personally, so you’ll have to look into them.
I LOVE THIS! I can’t tell you how awesome this is for me and my family! My husband and I are houseparents at a children’s home and we have our own living quarters. We have minimal decor and minimal furniture (we have space for guests and things like that), but neither of us likes to clutter up the walls!! I also make my own laundry detergent. It’s cheaper and lasts SO MUCH LONGER than the stuff on the shelf at Walmart. I’ve had my DIY detergent last from October until June! This time around we just doubled the recipe and it’s about $.02-$.05 per load with just a teaspoon (or tablespoon if it’s towels or bedding). I’m a huge minimalist and wouldn’t change a thing!!
Thank you Melissa, you’ve just made my day! I’m interested in making my own detergent too. That has been in my to do list!
I’ve been making and using homemade detergent for a few years now. I’ll never go back. One of the pluses… my family has sensitive skin, and even I broke out from one “free and clear” store detergent. No more skin irritations, now.
Hi Melissa! I’m interested in making my own laundry detergent also. What is your recipe?
I usually skip these lists because the suggestions seem outlandish – this list was the exact opposite! I follow the majority of these minimalism tips so this article made me feel good about myself. 🙂 Thanks for the post!!!!
Thank you, Chelsy!
Amazing! Thhis blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much
the same layout and design. Outsanding choice of colors!
Thank you!! 🙂
I went through my closet and realized that I owned a lot of black blouses and t-shirts I chose my three favorites and got rid of the rest. I then went through the house choosing favorites and donating the rest. The purge felt really good. Getting dressed and cooking is much easier now.
Linda, that’s amazing! I felt the same when I let go of many things I didn’t use!
I felt the same!
Am even cheaper option than buying ebooks—visit your local library! Books, downloadables, magazines, movies and awesome children’s and adult programming! All for taxes you’re already paying!
When my son was little and he wanted something new or an upgrade of something, he would have to give the old toy away to someone who could not get that toy. I have one child and wanted him to learn how to give back and this is another good way for children as they are growing up the importance of giving back. My son’s toys we’re always in excellent condition.
That’s so inspiring Sharon! Thank you so much for sharing! I hope every parent who reads this article will also read your comment and be inspired to do the same
Wow I didn’t realize there was anyone as frugal as me…
I love saving money. I would add to your list
*cut your own hair, I’ve been doing this 20+ years
*no bottled water, no soda, no expensive coffee, I make my own tea from Lipton tea bags
*reuse ziplock bags , if u need them
*old socks work great to cover sponge mop, makes it last forever
* do laundry on cold when you can, never use softener
* my personal favorite – BUY THRIFT/DONATE, what I do need , want, I buy thrift… most of what I own was purchased second hand. This way you are being green, helping a charity and keeping your costs minimal
* AND don’t go to Target at least have a list and stick to it, I see so many women with a cart full of crap there, Lord knows they don’t need all that stuff!
Thanks for the tip about the shampoo bars , I never knew that existed… I am very product frugal like you.
All these bottles of stuff are polluting our planet and the products in them polluting our bodies.
Thanks for stopping by and for your frugal tips ,Georgi! I never thought of using old socks for sponge mop! Great idea! I also have another post on the 14 things I quit buying to save money : http://thismamablogs.com/2018/04/15/14-things-to-quit-buying-to-save-money/
Further to the socks on mops, I specifically use microfiber fleece socks in place of swiffer cloths. Captures dust and hair much better!
Also, I stopped buying paper towels. I purchased a package of car cleaning cloths for $5 and have been using them to clean up messes. I knit my dish cloths and they don’t clean up a toddler milk spill as well as the car wipes.
A great list! I have been minimalist living about 3 years and follow all of these. Clothing especially has become so stress-less ! I would just add substituting cloth napkins for paper, there are lots of fun cheap ones out there too!
I have also adopted this and managed to pay installments for my residential stand within 1year 6 months yet it was intially scheduled for 5 years. Am hoping to start saving for construction next year so am still a minimalist
Thanks for your list, I enjoyed reviewing it. I wanted to share a trick that we do in my family. We bought all our holiday decorations about 5 years ago on Dec 26 (75% off) with the intention of not buying any thing new for a while. In order to spruce up our tree it is our family tradition to put up all our Christmas Cards on the tree. This keeps them al in one place for all of the family to enjoy. 🙂
That’s a great tip! and a meaningful Christmas tradition
I’m not commenting to hate but when I look at your list, I realize how much of a minimalist lifestyle I already live! It could be because I’m a broke 21 year old but I always looked at life like “I will never have enough!” or “I wish had things like other people!” But seeing how you and others want to live minimalistic, it’s opened my eyes to how much I have and should appreciate! I’m writing this with the most positive vibes and this article really helped me. Thank you so much! xx
You don’t know how much this means to me! A lot of people think that minimalist living is deprivation. It is NOT. It is about focusing on what’s truly important to you and getting rid of those that don’t. I’m really glad to hear that this post helped you. That means so much to me!!!!
Kat, I’m turning 60 soon. I just had a conversation this hour with my 20 year old and my 23 year old, and I told them I remember how much I spent on things at their age, particularly silly things, and wish now that I hadn’t. Be selective, Kat! When you are tempted to get something, ask yourself how long it will be with you. Now at my age, I try not to get anything temporary, and rarely do I get anything unneeded. Things should be useful and hopefully last at least as long as my life. Even technology and appliances I buy intending to keep it working twice as long as the national average, and I look for quality, not “more.” And at my age, I have the chore of “un-shopping,” which is to say, getting rid of STUFF. If I was going to get rid of it anyway, and didn’t need it, why on earth did I get it in the first place?
Save up for your future and your security, Kat. Having savings winds up becoming your freedom to choose what you do or have what you need when a problem comes up unexpectedly.
I will say I never really have to do the one in one out rule as we are kind of breakers and last ones to use. We wear hand me downs until they have the sleeves that look like mice have started nibbling the edges or holes wear through at the seams.
I seem to break 6 or 10 pieces of dinnerware just by dropping every year, when I buy a mug I don’t need to worry about crowding. We use the last 100,000 miles on a car and limp it to the donation site.
I have seven kids, when the elastic is showing on underwear it goes in the bin.
The squirrels eat the fabric flower pots, we blow picture tubes on old tv’s, the couch gets down right collapsed in 7 or 8 years. Computers won’t update software, kitchen towels get stained and bathroom towels get so worn they tear. I don’t make wash clothes, they are plain worn out.
Am I the only one who goes through stuff?
Hi Tracy, the 1-in-1-out rule does not work for everyone. We all have different needs and priorities so what “minimalist living” means to me may not be the same for you. You have a bigger family than mine so obviously your needs are different. While getting rid of stuff is an important phase in simplifying life, I personally don’t focus on the stuff. Rather I look at the benefits of not having them. If you don’t worry about crowding and you use and need everything you have, then I believe there is no need to let go. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Sameh | Doyourblogwithme
I love saving money so this is really a very nice post
Great post! Incorporating minimalism into my life has saved me a lot of money. Not to mention that it helps me truly see value in the things I enjoy!
Just found your blog via Pinterest. I am always looking for ways to simplify. One of the best ones I use is to reuse those items that are ‘worn out’. For instance, old towels/ washrags/ dishrags become dust clothes. How do I tell the difference? I take them to the sewing machine and sew them to a good size for me. Scrubbies? I cut them in to 6 pieces. I don’t want to have to hold on to those 4 x 4 squares. I get a lot more life out of one and it fits nicely in my hand. Need some fun kids crafts? My grandsons love stringing plastic bottle caps to hang up as wind chimes or decorations. I usually burn a hole for the string prior to their arrival. Christmas tip: Buy a large hole punch. I have three – a heart, a circle and a rectangle. I never buy tags, just punch out Christmas cards or cardstock and use it. I’ve had my three large hole punches for 20+ years and they cost me 10 each.
I simply place a drop or two of lemongrass essential oil on every toilet paper role, and the bathroom smells lovely always.
I love this tip! Thanks Heather!
Just a thought. I don’t use a diffuser. I buy larger bottles of eucalyptus and lavender oil and mix with water in a spray bottle to spray into shower stream or into the air. These can also be grabbed to use as a quick cleaner, especially of the toilet and bathroom (perhaps not on painted surfaces). Eucalyptus is of course great for killing germs and clearing blocked noses during these winter months. Yes I do live in the Southern Hemisphere.
When you listed Kids as one of the things you stopped buying I was confused for a second.
LOL. It’s just a category for things I stopped buying
Thank you! You’ve changed my life and inspired me to get it together. Excited to start my new phase of life.
HI Sharry! Thank you too. Your comment means a lot to me.
I love to go shopping and when I really want to buy something that I’m not sure that I’ll need I tell myself “I just saved myself xxx amount of money!” And walk out of the store without it to sleep on it and brag to my husband how much money I’ve saved him that day . 9 times out of 10 I end up not needing it.
since i learned about eating clean and my dad gets diabetes, i try to stop buying sweet drinks (such as tea in bottle, soda, syrup, cow milk, bottled juice or drink / food made from factory ) when i visit supermarket or minimarket or local shop, i still sometimes buying mineral water. and also i dont buy in bulk for groceries. just buying a small portion.
I’ve always been a minimalist. I value people and experiences, not stuff.
In anticipation of retiring, I’m always looking for lower cost, environmentally friendly things. I switched my cat litter to equine wood pellets. A 40lb bag costs $6 and lasts much longer than regular litter. I use a 50/50 mix of OxyClean and washing soda (1Tbs/load) and cold water for laundry. It works great, gets stinky smells and (most) stains out, and is dirt cheap.
I love the horse pellets for cat litter idea!!
Love how simple you’ve made everything sound. I think for us consumers, the idea of throwing everything out seems overwhelming, but it really doesn’t have to be. Great article and it’s really changing my mind into how I used and purchase things. I love that you’ve made it a priority to only use things that add value to your life. Such a beautiful point!
I really enjoyed your list of ideas for things to start doing.. buying etc.. I’ve read other peoples versions and I like yours the best it is always good to read over things throughout time to remind yourself about while you’re doing things for the better you….
It is a three day weekend and I am going to be working on getting rid of things that don’t do anything for me i.e. I’m just storing them…. If I can sell them I will if I can’t I will donate and I enjoy having more space…There are things I want to do in my life and I have to get rid of the clutter That stops me from moving forward….
Look forward to seeing more of your posts.
I am sorry for the late response but this means a LOT to me, Megan! Good luck on your decluttering and I am sure you would enjoy the extra space 🙂
Hi there! I am currently designing my tiny space and have plotted out an extensive bookshelf, I loved all the suggestions on your list; I don’t use cosemetics either and thanks to your list I now know what bar shampoo is, but I really wanted to know, especially as a Literature major, how you were able to give up your books?
Once I year I do a financial purge! I did this last year and my friends and family thought I was crazy and wouldn’t manage. I did actually and decided to do it again this year. I asked my friends and family if they wanted to join me? It’s not easy but it’s very liberating to know you can do it. After 6/1 I don’t purchase any shoes, clothes, make up, accessories, hair products extra for my self. Basic things to keep good hygiene is all. The savings are great but also, you become more aware of things you have and don’t just buy something because it’s on sale.
I just found this blog and love the ideas. I retired two years ago budget is very tight. I try to make everything at home, I had a small garden,I even made pickles… I try to buy clothes second hand and I have only bought four items in two years, At Christmas I ask for stuff that I use so I’m stocked for soap, shampoo and deodorant for a year. I love online auctions which is my downfall,but I am determined to reduce my debt big time in 2021. Suggestions are always wanted and accepted. Ideas to get my husband in the act would be helpful.
Such a useful blog post, I really want to start a minimalist life. It’s my 2021 resolution!
Really like your blog…
For the shampoo soaps etc.,, I would never buy off Amazon.
There are many Bulk Barns and other home made product spots..
I personally believe Jeff has already got more than an elegance of sufficiency..
Hi, I just wanted to say that this kind of stuff are only bought in the US, the rest if the world (with some exception) cant afford those thing that you intensionally dont buy anymore.
But we dont call us because of that minimalists, it is just our way of life or if you prefer I can call myself minimalist too but from birth
Sorry if this is not a positive post or Im not writing that this what are you doing is amazing , but I want you to know how the majority of people is living and is not natural for one country to have so much while others dont. This is sadly the truth.
My regards to you
Hi Sara, I grew up in the Philippines, what people call a third-world country and we also didn’t buy many things people buy here in the US. I wrote this post from my own experience living here in America, so I must agree that this is for US readers and this may not be relatable to others. I believe minimalism is a way of life and it means different things to different people. I believe it’s just not quantifiable with what you have, what you buy or not. We all have different ways of life, we don’t have the same aspirations and situations. So my minimalism may be different to yours or to anyone. P.S. I never delete comments unless they are spammy. I now see why you said I deleted your comment. You commented here and on another post on “things to stop buying” thinking they are the same post and you didn’t see your comment there since you were looking at a different post But thank you for dropping by and for your comment. I love hearing what people have to say, negative or positive.
Great ideas! I also have a tiny home and been doing little things to save the planet (minimizing use/recyclying of plastis) In our country we don’t have government recyling facility, buying special kind of soap and shampoo not in plastic containers are super expensive and scarce which is why the thought of using the traditional soap shampoo.
My daughter is the youngest among cousins. She normally gets hand me downs whcih saves me tons of money. But the thing is they are not her style and couldn’t use them. We couldn’t throw them away and i have bought huge boxes for that. I was told not to donate them for the next generation ( that would mean about 2 centuries or more in my house)
If you could give me other options how to deal with these clothes i would really appreciate it a lot!
you are not their storage unit. Simply say you are planning to consign the clothing and anything they family considers a keepsake needs to be out of your house by a certain date.. then let the other people be responsible for storing the stash of out of style clothes that will yellow with proteins in a few years
100% agree. I’m throwing everything out now. Age may have something to do with it. I see my friends doing the same. I almost didn’t comment because i have to put my name and email and all that extra stuff……..
This is a great list, thank you. We started several years ago and we have changed so many aspects in our lives. This lifestyle changed how we plan vacations, holidays and other holidays as well, food supply, cosmetics and kitchen supplies. We have saves thousands of dollars a year while not having to buy but just re-use.
That’s amazing! I hate organizing stuff I don’t really use so I don’t like buying more stuff. It has saved me a lot of money and time…and space. But still working on getting rid of things. It’s a lifestyle.
Love this post! I noticed when I cut back on my spending, I had more money for things that really add value to my life. I recently decided to hire local carpet cleaners to deep clean my carpets for the first time. It made such a big difference and was totally worth it!