Can I even be a minimalist on the internet if I don’t make a list of things I don’t buy? I’m pretty sure it’s a rite of passage in the minimalist community.
Jokes aside, I think these types of lists are really useful for others as well as myself. My list might give you some ideas about how you can minimize in your own life, or at the very least give you something to think about when it comes to your own consumer habits. For me, just having a list like this, especially one I’ve posted to the internet, helps keep me accountable on not buying these things. Because let’s be real, no one is perfect. There is no perfect minimalist. That’s mostly because minimalism looks different for everyone; my idea of the perfect amount of stuff may be way more or way less than your idea of the perfect amount of stuff.
It’s also important to understand that, minimalist or not, we live in a consumer culture. Unfortunately that means that sometimes we buy things we don’t need and that don’t make us happy. Occasionally we’ll cave and buy a dress we know we’ll never wear or a fancy baking dish we’re never going to make a pie in. It happens. It doesn’t make you, or me, any less of a minimalist.
So, rambling aside, here’s a list of things that I no longer buy.
- Kitchen Disposables. This includes things like paper towels, plastic sandwich bags, and aluminum foil. Now, I’ll be honest with you all, I don’t live alone so those things are all currently in my kitchen. Sometimes I use those paper towels even though I know it’s unnecessary waste. Like I said, I’m not perfect. The point is that I am not the one who buys those things. They take up space, are incredibly wasteful, and not how I like to spend my money.
- Knick Knacks. I’m not going to tell you I don’t have any knick knacks in my life, but I’ve massively decluttered in that area and have only kept what I love. Now that I have just a few select ones that make me happy, I don’t feel the need to bring any more into my life. I don’t want to spend the money on them and I’m not willing to give up a piece of my space for more unnecessary stuff.
- Frozen Meals. Not that I ever bought these before I was a minimalist, but it’s especially something I gave up after going vegan. There’s definitely vegan frozen meals out there, but that’s just not how I like to eat. I find them to be expensive and ultimately unsatisfying. I prefer to cook for myself and I find that I save a lot of money that way. I also have more room in my freezer.
- Fast Fashion. I’m a huge advocate of secondhand and ethical/sustainable clothes. Not only is fast fashion terrible for the environment, it’s a waste of your money. Those clothes aren’t made to last. I find a lot more value in buying secondhand or supporting ethical and sustainable companies. Stopping buying fast fashion also has helped curb my desire to clothes shop. Now I keep a relatively small and well curated wardrobe full of clothes I that fit, are comfortable, and that I love.
- CDS/DVDS/Media. Alright, I’ll be honest, I have Netflix and Spotify Premium, so it’s not like I don’t pay for any media at all. But buying individual movies and albums is going to cost you quite a lot of money in the long run as well as clutter up your space, physically and/or digitally. I just think we’ve moved past the point where we need to hoard DVDS of all our favorite movies. And if you’re really trying to save money, you don’t even have to pay for Netflix or Spotify. Spotify has a free version if you don’t mind the ads, and you can borrow tons of movies from the library.
Some other quick things I make it a point not to buy: makeup wipes, cotton rounds, q-tips, pre-cut fruit and vegetables, and bottled water.
So there you have it, my obligatory “Things I Don’t Buy” list. I hope that this was useful for you in some way. And if you do buy these things, that’s okay. I’m not here to judge you or tell you how to spend your money. Everyone is on their own journey and it’s not up to any of us to tell others how to live. Minimalism is about learning how to live in a way that is most comfortable and fulfilling for you.
Feel free to drop me a comment with things you no don’t buy or things you’re considering giving up. Or anything really, I’d love to hear from you!