10 Things I No Longer Buy – my shift towards minimalism
In the last two years my approach to home has shifted from organising my space to focusing mainly on sustainability.
A big part of this is managing my buying habits. By buying less I aim to reduce the amount of resources I use, limit my waste and save myself money.
So what kinds of things have dropped off my shopping list? Read on to find out…
1. Fast fashion
In the last few years, I’ve become so comfortable with the patterns, colours and clothing styles that look good on me that walking into a mainstream fashion store brings back old emotions of feeling like I’m wearing the wrong thing.
It’s a confronting feeling, but regardless of how good the marketing is, I just need to remind myself that I know what works for me. Now I only splurge on items that I know will compliment my style, and that I’ll get good wear out of.
p.s. 90% of what my clients declutter from their wardrobes is fast fashion, and almost all of it will never be repurchased by somebody else. Textile recycling centres are filled sky high with fast fashion, and a lot of it is made with a plastic blend adding to the recycling complexity.
If I had a nickel for every piece of fast fashion I saw in a donation bin, I’d be a rich woman!
2. Giveaway incentives
If you want a free Clinique make-up bag, come to my house. In fact, open up the bathroom cabinet of any woman, and I guarantee you there will be some sort of giveaway products lurking in there!
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy opening up all the mini products that came free with my latest purchase, but truthfully, I usually only like a few of the items. I also have all the toiletries bags a girl could ever need.
So now when I see a tempting giveaway? I look the other way.
3. Holiday gifts
Every holiday, I used to spend a decent chunk of time looking for gifts for family and friends. Granted, overseas travel was once a luxury, but as travel has become more accessible, buying gifts has become less necessary.
Plus, I personally don’t want the responsibility of feeling like I have to love an item chosen for me by someone else, and I don’t expect my friends and family to necessarily want what I choose for them either.
4. Impulse buys
“It was an impulse buy” is no longer part of my vocabulary. If I find myself in a store looking at something I want, I very gently tell myself that if I still want it next week, and it is within my budget I can come back – or get it online.
And if the gentle self-talk doesn’t work? I have the sales assistant write down the product details so I can call back and order over the phone – that normally gets me safely out of the store impulse-purchase free.
5. Specialty beauty products
I used to love a hand scrub, foot scrub, sea salt hair spray, cuticle oil – you name it, I loved it. I would wander through Priceline (or if I was feeling fancy, David Jones) to check out all the new products.
Honestly though? Once I got that product home, 90% of the time I would be forcing myself to finish it, impatiently waiting for the old one to run out so I could try something new.
Not anymore. I know what works for me, I support the brands I love, and I use less.
6. Plastic-wrapped snacks
Pizza shapes, Tim-Tams, chewing gum, bubble tea, choc-tops, Zooper Doopers… in my world, these items are classified as non-essential.
And because they are wrapped in plastic, I have given them up.
Luckily there are heaps of great plastic-free alternatives. Blocks of Lindt chocolate and Messina ice cream are a couple of my favourites.
Be mindful of everything you bring into your home
7. Sale Items
A wise man (my Dad) once told me that everything is always on sale. And you know what? He’s almost right. There are so many cyber sales and flash sales these days, not to mention apps you can use to track when your favourite products are discounted.
To avoid temptation I actively stop myself from doing the “sale browse”, or sale “pop in”. This technique saves me money and lowers my consumption of products that I probably don’t really need.
8. Magazine subscriptions
I used to have VOGUE Australia delivered to my door every month, and while I often devoured them cover to cover, I occasionally found myself with a backlog of issues I couldn’t get through.
The joy turned into a chore as I struggled to find time in my weekend to sit down and soak in the pages – I couldn’t give the ritual the time it deserved.
Now, I freely allow myself to buy a magazine when I feel the urge and linger over the pages taking all the time I need.
P.S. Once you’re finished with your magazines did you know you can donate them? Especially expensive ones – second-hand stores love them. And next time you are in an op shop, check out their magazine section, they are ideal for vision boards and kids art.
I’m not sure how marketers converted small plastic packets of products we have never used before into a win for the consumer – but they did. They’re bad for the environment and add very little value to life. So I say no. Even when Mecca, Sephora or any other major retailer tries to ‘reward’ me, I say no.
Don’t reward me for spending money, I know this is positive reinforcement – I can choose what I need thank you very much!
Apart from one online purchase over lockdown, I can’t remember the last time I bought a book. Sharing and borrowing books has become somewhat of the norm for me.
I also love my trips to the library and the additional space I have in my home. The only books I would ever buy are ones I want to write notes in or treat like a friend.