11 March 2020

20 Things I Don't Buy

As an aspiring minimalist, I live with less. I definitely don’t live out of a backpack, but I am more conscious about what I buy. Here’s a guide to things that I don’t buy:

1. Cheap Jewellery
I used to buy Jewellery that was cheap, and poor quality. My jewellery box was full of pieces that I struggled to match, and I didn’t feel that they matched my outfit, either. Now I have a few pieces that work together, and I don’t waste time trying to figure out what to wear. Each piece is timeless and easy to style. 

2. Fast Fashion
I used to buy clothes as a hobby or fun activity. It seems as though ‘shopping’ is a very normalised social activity, but I ended up buying things that I didn’t need. I also bought cheaply made fast fashion that would probably end up being sold or given away within a few months. (Sorry, Earth).

3. Swimsuits
I impulse bought more bikinis than I'm willing to admit. I bought them because they were on sale and I believed that I could find a use for one in this colour, and the striped one, and the floral design.. You get where I’m going with this. I ended up feeling more comfortable in a one-piece that I bought a year later, because I didn’t have to worry about the straps coming undone and flashing people in the surf.

4. Shoes
I only buy shoes when a pair dies. I don’t need an array of shoes to choose from. I need a few pairs that each suit a  purpose. (More on this, soon).

5. Bags
I have 4 bags and a basket. I have a large (faux) leather tote, a small handbag, a corduroy tote and a backpack. The leather tote looks boujee with a stylish outfit. The small navy handbag goes with everything and is super light and easy for night’s out. The black corduroy tote is a great size for a casual day bag. I also have a backpack that fits my laptop. This is for travelling and riding my bike. I mostly use this basket that I was gifted, on a daily basis. I absolutely love my basket. It doubles as my gym bag, daily handbag and grocery bags. You can get one here.

6. Impulse buys and “on sale” items
“That’s such a good deal” I said as I handed over money to a company I knew nothing about, for an item I didn’t need. You don’t need it. If you didn’t come in with the intention of buying it, just leave it. Also, there’s a good chance that it’s some kind of marketing strategy and may not be as good a deal as you thought. 

7. Smoothies and Juices
I used to go to the local juice bar and pay $6 - $8 for a smoothie that I could have made at home for less than half the price. Not to mention, I had no idea what was really in it. That’s right, I’m telling you that you can make it at home, for a fraction of the price and customise it to suit your tastebuds. (Winning!)

8. Mugs
I don’t need a lot of mugs. I mean, I’m only ever using one at a time so it seems pointless to fill up a cupboard with them. I have a smaller one and a regular size one, they both do everything I need. Also, stop buying them for teachers. I’m sure they have enough. 

9. Subscriptions
I’m not someone who reads newspapers or magazines, often. I also don’t need razors, socks, makeup, food or any other item sent to my door, monthly. I think that most of these items are wasteful in their packaging. Do you really need a tiny 15ml sample of the latest face cream, packaged in plastic or foil, shipped to your door? In most cases, these items are so randomised that you’re not really getting value for money. A lot of the items don’t match your needs, and you’re essentially buying a grown-up lucky dip. Learn what works best for you, and buy it. 

10. Bottled water and drinks
This seems self-explanatory, right? Water, in Australia, is safe to drink, and there’s plenty of filtering machines, jugs and bottles you can buy. Skip the single use plastic and turn on the tap. I don’t drink soft-drink often. When I do, I’ll buy aluminium cans. (Did you know Aluminium can be recycled indefinitely?)

11. Fabric Softener
What is in fabric softener, anyway? Would you really know what ingredients (or science experiment of chemicals) you’re putting into your clothes? Does it really make a difference to your clothes? Use a vinegar, instead. 

12. Pre-packed fresh produce 
$7 for that tiny salad? Oh, please. You already know you could make it cheaper, yourself. Plus you can make it your own. Get creative. You’re also refusing single-use plastic. Win-Win.

13. Coffee Pods
I’ve heard that you can get reusable ones now, that’s great! I’m still on the fence about this one. I used to have a Nespresso Coffee Machine, but I found that the coffee didn’t taste nearly as good as the coffee made from freshly ground beans. I also found it to be around the same price, and the pods had a quick expiration date. I’ll stick to my old-school machine (and, compost the ground-up coffee bean waste).

14. Souvenirs and Gift Shop Crap
Be honest here. How often do you wear the shirt that you bought from that place you travelled to, or the music festival that you went to? Probably not a lot, right? Most of the gift shop items here in Australia, are cheaply made keychains and fridge magnets that take up space. Take a photo, or send a handwritten postcard. You and your family will value that, much more, in the future.

15. DVD’s and CD’s
Most of what we watch is online, so naturally we don’t really need these items any more. They take up space and can’t be great for the environment. Oh and those plastic cases? A landfill nightmare!

16. Plastic toothbrushes
Plastic toothbrushes take up to 400 years to break down, and because they’re plastic, they’ll never biodegrade, they’ll just exist forever as tiny micro-plastics. No thanks. I use a bamboo toothbrush. Even the bristles are made of plastic, which means you should break the head of the toothbrush off, for landfill, and home-compost the handle. I’m yet to find one that is made completely of plant-based fibres. If you know of one, I’d love to get in touch!

17. Hair Treatments and Creams
There is no product that will miraculously seal your split ends. And even if you’re using something that ‘works’, chances are it’s using a combination of toxic chemicals to hide the issue, until you next wash it. These companies rely on this dependency, trusting that their product will mask any real issues, while ever you continue to use it.

18. Disposable bathroom items 
Any kind of q-tip, cotton wool or makeup wipe seems to be unnecessary, a waste of money and damaging to the environment. There are so many reusable alternatives available! Or ditch them for an old shirt-turned-rag.

19. Apps
I don’t use them, so I can’t justify the money. On the same note as subscriptions, if you can truely get your money’s worth, go for it. Otherwise, review it often and figure out how you can better spend that money. 

20. Knick-Knacks
Clutter. The stuff that sits on shelves with no purpose? You won’t find any of that, at my place. I want for my space to be beautiful, minimal and easy to clean. 

In general I try to consider how much use an item will get before I purchase it. I’d rather spend the money, investing in quality items than continue to repurchase to replace items that are poorly made. It’s important to consider how much value you will get out of something. I also think about how long it will last and how I can dispose of it in the most sustainable way possible. 

If you have any comments or questions, be sure to get in touch in the comments below or connect on the socials. 

Yours in all things sustainable,

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