47 Things We Don't Buy as a Minimalist Family

Angela | Arrow
by Angela | Arrow

I'm going to be sharing with you 47 things I don’t buy as a minimalist. Before I get started, I want to say if you see something on my list of things I no longer purchase and you still purchase this thing, don't feel any guilt at all. Remember that minimalism is a way for us to determine which items bring us value and joy, and that's going to vary from person to person.

General items

Let's get started with a few general items first. Number one, we don't buy things that we don't need or we can't afford. We don't frequent garage sales or yard sales. We also don't seek out name-brand items.

Family photos

We don't get family photos. Instead, we found a way to use our camera with a self-timer in the comfort of our home. 

We don't pay for phone upgrades unless we need them. 

We don't buy any subscription-type services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or any mailbox subscriptions. 

Using the library rather than buying books

I don't buy books, we frequent the library often.

I don't buy journals, planners, music CDs, movies, or DVDs. We also don't buy souvenirs if we go on a vacation.

Kitchen items

We no longer purchase bottled water. We don't purchase paper plates or plastic silverware. 

Things I don't buy for the kitchen

We also don't buy fancy china or any table setting that we would only use once or twice a year.

I also don't purchase any kitchen items that are single-purpose, such as a rice cooker or a juicer. 

How we stopped buying things we don't need

I do not buy bulk food items. I've found for myself and in my kitchen that if I purchase too much of the same type of thing, it will not get rotated through properly, and I'll end up having things go past their expiration date.

Kid’s items

All right, moving on to kids' items. Some things we no longer purchase for our kids include large toys. 

Kids playing with legos

We tend to gravitate toward toys such as Legos or blocks. They are things that are more open-ended and kids can get a lot more creative with them. 

We don't buy any art kit sets. We have colored crayons and colored pencils and things like that for our kids to use if they want to be creative with art. 

We don't buy specialized-themed birthday decorations. We also don't buy birthday cards. If the kids are invited to a birthday party, we encourage them to make a hand-drawn card for their friend. 

We buy things we don't need

We stay away from any extra summer sports or camps. With five kids, if each of them had even two summer activities, I feel like we would never see each other. 

I no longer buy my kids any of those little treats or trinkets from the checkout line in the store. 

We also do not buy any school photos or sports photos. I find that the action photos that I could take at the actual event are more meaningful to me. 

Kids bedrooms

For our kids' bedrooms, we don't purchase any specific theme type of items such as decor or bedding.

We no longer buy our kids Christmas presents every year. We have a year where we buy them presents and then a year where we do not buy presents for anyone in our family.


Moving into the bathroom category of items.

Toiletries we don't buy

I don't buy any facials, specialty face creams or face washes. 

I have a very basic face like soap that I like to use and a moisturizer. I don't buy any bath sprays or body sprays. I don't buy bath bombs or specialty soaps. I don't buy teeth whitening kits.

I also don't buy any anti-aging type of products like wrinkle creams or hair dye. 

Makeup we don't buy

I don't purchase bright eyeshadow, colors, or blushes. I also do not buy nail polish.


In the clothing category, I don't buy any brand-new clothes for my kids unless it's something I cannot find. I like to shop at thrift stores, and I usually can find really good deals on quality items.

We also don't buy any cutesy-themed types of socks. We just go the white sock route, and that makes laundry a lot easier. 

Things minimalists don't buy

I also don't purchase any clothing items that are fussy or fancy or need specific laundry care. 

Using wool balls instead of dryer sheets

I don't buy dryer sheets. I use wool balls now instead, and I find them to work just as well, if not better. I don't buy fabric softeners. 

I don't buy earrings or jewelry or accessories. I don't buy extra purses. I just have one purse that I use every single day for every single event. I also stay away from any seasonal or holiday-type clothing items.


I don't buy tablecloths or placemats, and I find them to be too much maintenance for me.

Seasonal decor

Except for Christmas, I don't buy any seasonal decor. Instead, I rotate through some general basic home decor and I make them look right for the season.

I don't buy any extra linens. We have one set per bed and if they get dirty or need to be washed, I wash them that day and put them right back on that same bed. 

I also don't keep extra towels. We have one per member of our family for the full body size towel, plus three extra towels for when we do have guests. We then also have just one hand towel per bathroom and a couple of washcloths.

Things we don't buy as a minimalist family

I don't buy extra throw pillows. I've gotten around this by instead purchasing fabric that I make into pillow covers. 

The last area where I no longer spend money is on hobby-type items specifically for me, crafting supplies. I just purchase the things that I need while I'm doing a craft project instead of buying things and then storing them. 

Things we don't buy as a minimalist family

Well, that is it. That is my list of 47 things I don't buy as a minimalist. I have to say it's very freeing and liberating to know that you don't have to listen to what marketing is telling you that you should buy or what society says is the normal thing to do.

Remember that minimalism is all about making those decisions for yourself and your lifestyle. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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