10 Things I Don't Buy as a Minimalist in Order to Live Lightly

Samurai Matcha
by Samurai Matcha

Hi, I am Aki, and I live a minimal life in Japan. While traveling on my bamboo bike, I realized I wanted to live lightly and freely. So I decided to take another look at all the things I always thought that I needed, and getting rid of them felt liberating. Today, I would like to introduce 10 things I don't buy as a minimalist.

1. A trash can

I have always thought that trash cans were a necessity, but in reality, the constant cycle of putting the trash bag into the trash can and then taking it out is a hustle. That is why I stopped using trash cans and chose to hang the trash bag on the wall instead. Now I can easily put rubbish in it, and it also saves me the trouble of cleaning the trash can.

Using a tenugui instead of a bath towel

2. A bath towel

While I was traveling on a bamboo bike, I stopped using bath towels because they were bulky and heavy. Instead, I started using a tenugui, which is a small Japanese cotton towel that is simple and super lightweight.

It's lighter than a bath towel and other regular towels, and it has quick-drying properties. With this, you can both wash and dry your body.  

3. Laundry detergent

I used to think that I have to use detergent every time I do laundry. However, when you think about it, water itself is enough to remove dirt in the washing machine. My only concern was the smell, and I solved this issue by using magnesium.

Magnesium makes water alkaline, and the clothes in the water become clean. Magnesium also prevents the clothes from smelling. As I started adding magnesium to my laundry, the unpleasant odor of drying clothes disappeared.  

4. A TV 

I used to watch TV a lot when I was little, but I decided to throw get rid of it, as I felt there were better ways to spend my time. A study from the University of Michigan showed that every hour you watch TV reduces your life satisfaction by 5%.

Not owning a TV means that I now have more time for meaningful activities, like exercising and reading books. Also, without a TV, there is more free space for me to use creatively. I have been using this extra space to stretch and practice the art of making tea.  

Using a folding mattress instead of a bed

5. A bed

When I had a bed, I would struggle a lot every time I had to move: disassembling, moving, and reassembling it each time was hard. That is why I use a folding mattress now.

It's easy to move around when I am cleaning my room, and I can put it away when needed. Sleeping on the floor is normal for Japanese people, so I quickly got used to it.  

6. A blanket 

At the same time that I got rid of my bed, I stopped using a blanket because it was bulky. Now I use a Snow Peak sleeping bag instead. My sleeping bag acts as both a blanket and sheets, so I don't need a bedding set either.

On top of that, the temperature can be easily adjusted, so it's comfortable in both summer and winter.  

Using a biwako fukin instead of a sponge

7. A dishwashing sponge 

In the past, I thought both sponges and dish soap were necessary to wash my dishes. Since I started camping on my trip, I found that I don't really need either of those. Now I use something called biwako fukin instead of a sponge.

Biwako fukin is a cloth made in Japan, and it is used to wash dishes without dish soap. It has excellent fiber absorbency and can absorb dirt and oil. It is also good for the Earth.  

8. An iron

Ironing is useful for smoothing out wrinkles, but it is a lot of work. That is why I now only buy clothes made of materials that do not require ironing. UNIQLO offers great iron-free clothes, for example.

9. Shampoo

On my bamboo bike trip, I often washed my hair using only water and realized that I did not need to use shampoo anymore. Since then, I have been living without shampoo. I have to admit though that this works for me because my hair is short, but for those with longer hair this might be a bit more difficult.

Hanging clothes instead of folding them

10. A dresser

I used to fold my clothes into drawers, but it was a lot of work. After thinking about it long and hard, I started hanging all of my clothes. Not having to fold my clothes saves me a lot of time, and it is nice to be able to see all my clothes in one organized space.  

Things I don't buy as a minimalist

Did any of these items surprise you? What everyday items have you given up on your minimalist journey? Let me know in the comments. Or, read my other guide to 10 more things I no longer buy as a minimalist for more ideas.

Join the conversation
 1 comment