99 things I no longer buy since becoming a minimalist

I haven’t always been a minimalist. For the first 22 years of my life, I was drowning in stuff. I had a walk-in closet with too many pairs of high heels that were uncomfortable and unworn, as well as drawers of musty clothes that never saw the light of day. Weekends were spent either shopping for cheap clothing, shoes, jewellery or beauty products or sorting through the mounds I owned.

I was a sucker for anything on sale, especially “thinspiration” purchases that I would wear “one day”… As a taller-than-average gal, I looked like a literal giraffe in heels over four inches and barely wore them for this reason, but that didn’t stop me from buying them on sale. My drawers were filled with cheap makeup, most had been used once or twice. I had boxes filled with crappy jewellery, most of which turned dark green after the third wear. I also couldn’t save a cent.

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My wake up call came when I moved countries. Hemispheres to be exact. I left sunny suburban Sydney for the big smoke of old London town when I was 22. I could only fit a few of my favourite processions into my suitcase (ok, three suitcases and a 60L backpack). It was hard to leave so much behind, especially as I didn’t have any plans to come back for it anytime soon. 

Barely any of this stuff would join me on my adventure and I wouldn’t miss it. I mean, I hadn’t even used or worn most of it. Staring at these things made me realise I was out thousands and thousands of dollars that could have made for some amazing experiences (or at least helped me pay rent). While living in London, I was forced to live in a minimalist way due to constantly moving flats and not knowing whether I will be staying long-term. It forced me to question every purchase and get by with much less. It became wonderfully freeing. I haven’t looked back since. 

How I became a minimalist:

It’s natural for living beings to consume things and I’m not planning to move to a self-sufficient homestead anytime soon. These days, I’m trying to focus on consuming with intention, rather than as a victim of social conditioning and advertising influences. Before every spend, I ask myself the following questions:

  • Do I really need this thing?
    • Is it going to bring me joy (where my fellow Marie Kondo fans at?) or is the money better off in my bank account?
    • Exactly how will it add to my life? Will I wear it to work? Will it hold my books?
    • Where is it going to live in my home and do I need to get rid of something else to accommodate it?
  • Do I want this or am I being compelled by outside influences to buy it?
    • Where did I get the idea to buy this thing? Advertising? Instagram? Does everyone have one?
    • Will I still want and use this thing (or even remember it exists) in a month, a year or a decade?
    • Will it actually improve my life or benefit it in some way?
  • If I must buy something, does this purchase cast a positive vote for the world that I want to live in?
    • Does it come from an ethical source?
    • Is it second-hand, recycled, zero-waste, re-usable?
    • Does it have a smaller environmental impact than the same conventional purchase?

The third question is the most important. Every dollar (or pound, euro or yen etc) we spend influences the world around us. The aim of businesses is to make money, which most do be selling things to consumers or other businesses in one way or another. It’s powerful to know that whatever their customers demand, they will do – otherwise, the business won’t survive! 

Becoming a minimalist: 99 things I no longer buy - Pinterest image

Here’s the list of things I no longer buy since becoming a minimalist – and don’t miss in the slightest: 

  1. Fast fashion and cheap clothing 
  2. Swimsuits 
  3. Holiday clothing 
  4. Cheap jewellery 
  5. High heels 
  6. Cheap shoes 
  7. Purses and handbags 
  8. Hats
  9. Washing powder/liquid 
  10. Fabric softener 
  11. Notebooks
  12. Highlighters 
  13. Pens
  14. Stationary (Use this guide to make your office building more sustainable)
  15. Books
  16. Magazines 
  17. Plastic bags
  18. Cling wrap 
  19. Ziplock bags
  20. Single-use straws
  21. Sparkling and soda water 
  22. Smoothie and juices
  23. Non-refillable salt + pepper grinders 
  24. Pre-cut fruit + vegetables 
  25. Hummus 
  26. Canned chickpeas 
  27. Herbs in a tube 
  28. Oatmeal single sachets 
  29. Pre-chopped garlic 
  30. Hot chocolate mix 
  31. Microwave popcorn
  32. Microwave rice 
  33. Pre-cut chicken 
  34. Pre-cooked chicken
  35. Toasters 
  36. Plastic cooking utensils 
  37. Microwaves 
  38. Toothpicks 
  39. Seasoning blends
  40. Gravy powder 
  41. Paper towels 
  42. Plastic straws 
  43. Toilet cleaner 
  44. Toilet fresheners 
  45. Spray and wipe 
  46. Bathroom cleaner
  47. Kitchen degreaser 
  48. Window cleaner 
  49. Dishwasher rinse
  50. Dishwasher cleaning packs 
  51. Disposable cleaning wipes 
  52. Disposable mop heads 
  53. Carpet powder + cleaner
  54. Hair dye
  55. Knick knacks 
  56. Home decor 
  57. Seasonal items
  58. Holiday + birthday cards 
  59. Multi-vitamins 
  60. Whey protein 
  61. Scented candles
  62. Air fresheners 
  63. Aerosols 
  64. Perfume
  65. Mouthwash
  66. Makeup wipes 
  67. Face exfoliator
  68. Body Exfoliator
  69. Micellar water 
  70. Dental floss
  71. Travel-size product bottles 
  72. Plastic razors 
  73. Shaving cream
  74. Earbuds/cotton tips
  75. Non-natural makeup 
  76. Glitter
  77. Makeup brush cleaning solution 
  78. Acne products
  79. Toner
  80. Leave-in conditioner 
  81. Cheap nail polish 
  82. Liquid foundation
  83. Dry shampoo
  84. Hairspray
  85. Hair masks 
  86. Tampons 
  87. Hair extensions 
  88. Bottled water 
  89. Ready-made sauces
  90. Salad dressing 
  91. Spray cooking oil 
  92. Chewing gum 
  93. Matching dishes and glasses
  94. Souvenirs 
  95. Event t-shirts 
  96. Non-ethical clothing
  97. Costumes 
  98. Wrapping paper 
  99. Cheap versions of essential items 

Since becoming a minimalist, I’m no longer living paycheck to paycheck and feel MUCH more comfortable in my space now that it’s not cluttered. Come and say hi on Instagram and let me know if there’s anything on this list you can’t possibly live without!

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