26 Things I Stopped Buying To Embrace Minimalism

After finally decluttering my home and getting rid of everything I didn’t need any longer, I found there were things I stopped buying because they didn’t add value to my life anymore.

Being a minimalist doesn’t mean I don’t buy anything at all. And the purpose of this post isn’t to shame those who do enjoy to shop and buy nice things.

Read more: What Minimalism Means To Me (And What It Really Doesn’t Mean)

I’m just going to show you what I stopped buying in order to embrace minimalism and how it was the best decision of my life. After years of being a slave to consumerist culture, I finally realised that spending money on things I don’t need is a waste – not just a waste of time but also of my hard-earned money.

Nowadays, when I shop for clothes or shoes online, before clicking “buy” I stop and ask myself a series of questions before I go ahead with the purchase! And if I can’t justify it to myself, then I don’t buy!

  1. Do I need it? Or do I just want it? Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting something. But I now choose not to buy things I don’t need as, even if I want it now, I more than likely won’t want it in the future.
  2. Do I already have it? You would be surprised at how many times I would buy something that already sat in the back of my closet or kitchen cabinet. All because they were too cluttered to be able to see what I already had. Because I have decluttered my home significantly, I can now see what I have at a quick glance so I’m less likely to buy a duplicate.
  3. Will it add value to my home? I ask myself this before I make a purchase to ensure that it will be used or loved. If it won’t add value to my home, then it won’t be bought.
  4. Can I afford it? This is a big one. After previously being debt and working very hard to clear it, I now don’t buy a single unnecessary item if I can’t afford it.
  5. Will I want it in the future? If this is something that I only need to use for a couple of days and then never again, I won’t buy it. For example, if I need a screwdriver to fix something but i don’t own one, I won’t go out and buy one just for those few days. Instead, I’ll borrow from a friend and return it once done. This way, I’m not adding more items to my home that I won’t use enough.

All of these questions help me make a better decision about purchases. Take them and ask yourself if each item is really necessary or just another “want.” You’ll be surprised at how you transform in a short space of time from someone who doesn’t give a second though to what they buy to a more thoughtful shopper.

Read more: My Road To Minimalism: Where It Began & Where I Am Now

Now, before we move on to the things I stopped buying during my minimalist journey, I want to reiterate: this is my list and doesn’t have to be yours. These are things that I didn’t need in my life anymore. This doesn’t mean that in order to become a minimalist, you need to stop buying all of these items. But it may give you some kind of inspiration to create a list of things that you no longer need to buy, things that you’re happy to live without, things that will help you to embrace minimalism.

Here are the 26 things I stopped buying in order to embrace minimalism

#1 Magazines

I used to get a ton of fashion magazines, which were always last minute purchases at the checkout counter. I’d be finished them within a day and then what? They would just sit there gathering dust, have to be thrown out. With everything being digital these days, and my interest in fashion and celebrity gossip has reduced, I now have no need for magazines.

#2 CDs or DVDs

I don’t buy CDs or DVDs any more as anything I want to watch or listen to is online these days. I also uploaded my old DVDs and CDs to a drive and donated the old ones to charity to reduce clutter in my home.

#3 Duplicates

I have a personal goal to make sure every item/object I own has a use or purpose. If I already have something that is still in good use, I won’t buy another. Only when something breaks or has lost its use, will I buy another.

#4 Things that are on sale

Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. ‘But I’m saving $50’, you might say. But the truth is, if you have no need for this item then you aren’t saving, you’re spending unnecessarily.

#5 Things that won’t last long

If something is not made well and therefore won’t last long, then it doesn’t make it onto my shopping list! If it’s something that I do in fact need, I would rather spend a little more on something that will last a lot longer.

#6 Clothes for specific events

If I have a specific event coming up that I don’t already have something I can wear, I’ll just borrow from a friend. Too often in the past, I would buy clothes for an event and never wear again. What a waste!

Read also: How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes: An Essential Guide

Read also: What to do when you feel like you have too many clothes

#7 Home decor

The few bits of of home decor I have are things I fell in love with on my travels. I still love them to this day and every time I look at them, I’m reminded of the particular place that item of decor came from. That said, I also used to buy random knick-knacks that I thought were cute at the time, but never really loved. These ended up being the majority of the visual clutter in my home and I’m so happy I let them go.

#7 Single use kitchen gadgets

There are many cool kitchen gadget out there, but most of them can only be used for one single purpose, and I prefer to use things that are multipurpose. For example, I don’t need a herb stripper, a garlic presser, a pizza cutter, an egg slicer, a fruit wedger or an electronic vegetable chopper, I just need a knife.

#9 Christmas decorations

There was a time I had multiple Christmas themes. One year, it would be red and gold, the next blue and white, then silver and gold. I had an entire cupboard full to brim of Christmas decorations – which would only be used for a couple of weeks of the year! Not only do I not buy any more Christmas decorations, I also culled down the decorations I already had. Win!

#10 Makeup

Admit it, you have more makeup than you even know is in your makeup bag. I know I did. I had multiple foundations, even more lipsticks and so many cosmetics I just never used. Or worse, I’d use once and not again, meaning I couldn’t even donate or re-gift it.

These days I use a BB cream on an everyday basis (on the days I need to wear makeup that is), some eye liner, mascara and a lipstick. My entire makeup bag now consists of less than 10 items and I only buy makeup if something runs out and I need to replace it.

#11 Accessories

I used to buy different accessories for each different occasion that was coming up. Halloween? I need Halloween earrings! Christmas? I need some jingle bells! When I started decluttering, I found so many accessories that still had the tags on, things that I had wasted my money on and never even worn. I now don’t buy random accessories for occasoins.

#12 Books

Don’t get me wrong, I love books. But not having space for them meant a lot of clutter. I also tend not to sit down and read a book most of the time, instead I’ll listen to the audio book while doing some work. If I’m travelling and I want to read, I’ll use my Kindle as it means not having to carry more than one book around. While I still spend money on Audible or ebooks, I feel happier that I’m not bringing more physical items into my home.

#13 Multiple subscriptions

I recently did a cull of all my subscriptions and found 8 that I was paying for each month and not even using. I was pretty ashamed to say the least. I went through all my other subscriptions and culled down a little further what I could do without and I now don’t have multiple subscriptions for things – I have Netflix for TV, Spotify for music, Audible for ebooks.

#14 Cable

At the same time as I culled my multiple subscriptions, I got rid of cable. It was hardly ever being used. I now just use Netflix for most of my TV watching and I can always find something on the internet that isn’t available on Netflix.

#15 The newest gadgets

I always had the newest; the newest phone, the newest tablet or laptop, a big TV. But I’ve since realised that I don’t need these things anymore. My phone does everything I need it to do and I also find myself using my phone less and less since not ‘needing’ to buy the newest and best.

#16 Phone cases

Just like the gadgets, i can only use one phone case at a time and I leave it on my phone until it breaks and needs to be replaced. I don’t buy these anymore until I really need to.

#17 Purses

I found a lot of purses when I went through my initial decluttering stage that were in the back of the closet and never used. I typically only used a couple of my purses everyday and swapped them around, with the rest just collecting dust. I don’t find that I miss buying new purses anymore and I’m happy with the ones I kept as they’re the ones I truly loved.

#18 Nail polish

I’ve stopped buying nail polish because even though I used to have 20 bottles, I hardly ever painted my nails! On the rare occasion I now want my nails painted, I’ll treat myself to a manicure. It’s still saving money, saving space in my home and I don’t end up having to throw out nail polish that has gotten all clumpy from sitting there for years unused.

#19 Hair gadgets

A curler, a straightener, a crimper, heat rollers, a hairdryer… the list goes on of all the hair gadgets I used to buy. And when one wasn’t a good standard, I would buy a different kind and try that out. I’ve now stopped buying these things and gotten rid of all I had, except for my hair straightener (which I’ve now learned how to curl my hair with). I don’t even use a hairdryer anymore as it’s better for my hair to leave it dry naturally.

#20 Gym membership

In the past, I would have always had a gym membership. That doesn’t mean I always went to the gym! But I thought that if I cancelled my membership, I was setting myself up for failure because I’d never exercise then. I’ve now found so many free ways of exercising that are just as effective – going for hikes or jogs, doing youtube videos of fitness coaches, even vacuuming the house (every little helps!).

#21 Bed linen and towels

Before I began my minimalist journey, I would buy new towels and bed linen just because they were pretty. Not because I needed them. All that has changed now and I now keep two sets of bed sheets per bed and three towels per person.

#22 Plastic grocery bags

In my transformation to simple living, I decided I also needed to reduce waste. I still have a way to go to zero waste altogether but making little changes is definitely the right direction. I now always have a small reusable bag with me when I go out incase I need it.

#23 Greeting cards

I have a love hate relationship with greeting cards. On the one hand, there are some really lovely and thoughtful ones out there and some people really love receiving them. On the other, I find them to be a waste of money as they are only useful for one specific day – a birthday, Christmas, graduation.

Nowadays, I will make a ‘greeting card’ up on the computer for someone I know who likes them rather than spend money. A lot of thought goes into it, you can decide exactly what you want to say and personalise it however you wish.

#24 Stationery

Who doesn’t love stationery?! At one point I had drawers upon drawers full of stationery, but I never used the majority of it. Because I’ve learned not to keep things i don’t use, I’ve also not needed to buy any more stationery. I keep a notebook and a journal, as well as a few pens and will only replace as necessary.

#25 Things I can borrow

There are certain things that you use once a year maybe and that’s it. I decided that this was not enough usage to keep an item in my home. If there’s something that i need for single use, such as a hammer or power drill or even a book that I’ll read once, I’ll borrow from a friend or ask on a local Facebook group. And of course, I’m more than happy to loan anything I have that others need!

#26 Things I can’t afford

This is a really important one. There is no unnecessary item that’s worth getting into debt for. If I can’t afford something and it’s not essential, then I don’t spend money on it. If it’s something that I really do want, has a purpose and I know that I’ll love it and use it, then I’ll save up for it until I can afford to buy it. At that stage, if I still really want the item, then I know it’s been worth saving for.

Read also: A Minimalist List Of Things To Get Rid Of


I’ve learned that when we limit the number of things we own, it helps us live more mindfully. We don’t have to spend our mental energy thinking about what to wear in the morning or cleaning up after clutter. Our time becomes freed up for the important things like creativity and spending time with loved ones.

If you are looking for a guide on how to adopt minimalism into your life, check out this post for minimalism beginner tips.

Vourneen | ThePlainSimpleLife
Want more details about this and other budgeting & minimalist living ideas? Check out more here!
Join the conversation
2 of 11 comments
  • Karole Sherlock Karole Sherlock on Aug 27, 2022

    As a long-standing minimalist and improvement professional, I applaud this list. It is simple and achievable for old hats and for newbies.

  • Bernadine Bernadine on Aug 27, 2022

    This is something you learn as you get older. Proud of you for realizing it sooner. I'm 75 and have lived simply most of my life, guess what , I never felt I missed out on anything.