Minimalist Beauty, Self-Management

13 Things I No Longer Buy as a Minimalist

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Minimalism is not just about having less stuff; it’s about focusing on what truly matters—like health, relationships, and self-realization.

personal transformation workbook

However, and although I discuss this at length in another post, today we will be talking about the material things, more specifically, some of the things I no longer buy as a minimalist and how these simple changes have transformed my life for the better.

Related post: 21 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Ditch the Overwhelm

Things I no longer Buy as a minimalist

1. Books and Magazines

I used to spend so much money at the bookstore.

Thank God I went broke before trying this minimalist thing because one of the first things I chose to cut was my spending on books and magazines.

Now, I am a proud member of the public library and couldn’t be happier.

Even if I become wealthier one day, I think I will still refrain from buying books, especially new ones.

(Don’t get me wrong, I do own a few books, but just a tiny library of books I absolutely love and read often).

As a minimalist, there is something odd about holding on to a book and letting it gather dust on your shelves. It’s as if you were stopping that book from fulfilling his “book destiny”: i.e., to be read.

Now I read a book (preferably borrowed), take notes, maybe write about it (on LinkedIn), and send it back out in the Universe.

But I understand I am privileged. I live in a city where we have access to an amazing library for free, and I’m so grateful for it!

Of course, you might not be as lucky, but you certainly have a public library in your area. Or maybe try your local Salvation Army or another thrift store? Second-hand books are a great alternative to new books.

Mine (I mean, my local Salvation Army) is a goldmine for books, usually under $3!

There are also Facebook groups where people just give away their books.

2. Wrapping Paper

I almost never buy wrapping paper anymore.

Instead, I regularly shop for beautiful scraps of fabric and matching ribbons to make my own gift wrappings.

Gift wrapping with fabric is not only beautiful but also a “greener” alternative to industrial wrapping paper, plus, it’s reusable!

On the rare occasions when I did buy wrapping paper, it was this beautiful handmade paper, made from recycled materials and hand-painted or stamped by a local artist.

hand made wrapping paper
Isn’t this just beautiful? Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the French artist who made this.

Related post: How to Become Better at Giving Gifts?

3. Trendy Clothes and Fast Fashion (mostly)

I will not pretend that I no longer buy clothes, because I do. Especially in the past few years when I was actively “looking for my style.”

(Also, I am tiny, and if I have to wait to find something that fits me at the thrift store, I’ll walk around naked).

So, I spend a lot of money on clothes (at the moment), BUT I almost never buy trendy items or fast fashion.

I buy pieces that are yes, more expensive, but they are versatile, last a long time, and look good. Quality clothes not only have a longer lifespan but also often have better fits and fabrics. They are timeless.

Plus, all my clothes work together now 😊

Related post: 7 Things I Splurge On as a Minimalist

4. Home Decor

Most of my home decor is thrifted, was found on the street, or over a decade old.

minimalist home decor

Before you run away screaming, hear me out:

I live in a pretty cool city where finding old furniture has almost become an art form… or a national sport.

Every summer, in July, thousands of people move all at once and leave the furniture they don’t want anymore on the sidewalk. It’s a city full of foreign students and temporary workers… often the furniture is practically new, but people have to return to their home countries. So, they leave it on the sidewalk.

thrifted home decor
Me using an empty cheese box as decor 🙂

This leads to a treasure hunt where everyone goes out to find rare gems for free on the sidewalks. It’s like buying second-hand but for free!

Of course, my bed, mattress, and similar essentials are new.

But the only home decor I’ve bought “new” in the past five years is new curtains from Ikea, and that pink cushion, because… how cute?!

cute cushion
I bought this at Ikea 🙂

5. Brand New Phones

For the past 8 years, all my phones have been second-hand.

I use a very friendly seller not far from my home. He is professional and kind, and I’ve never regretted my purchase once!

You don’t have to buy a brand-new phone to get a new phone. Second-hand phones can be in “like new” condition. They are also cost-effective, and buying second-hand reduces electronic waste.

Furthermore, there are serious sellers out there who offer quality checks and warranties, so you’re not necessarily buying garbage. I always got top-notch phones!

6. Cosmetic Products

I have adopted a very simple, yet effective beauty routine, which became even more streamlined when I shaved my head four years ago.

Now, even my hair care products have been reduced to the minimum, which says a lot coming from a former curly, mixed woman with BIG hair.

My bathroom is now clutter-free at all times.

Say what?

Of course I buy products; I just don’t buy a ton.

minimalist bathroom

I have one shower gel, one shampoo, one hair conditioner, one soap for my face, two body scrubs, two face oils, and two body oils.

I do have 3 or 4 different body lotions (but they have different scents AND different moisture levels). I also have 5 or 6 different deodorants (because I have to order them online and pay for shipping, so when I do, I buy more than one).

Then you have your essential oils (the basics: lavender, orange, tea tree, rosemary), a comb, hairbrush, a razor, makeup, a toothbrush, and that’s about it!

I went to visit my sister in France the other day, and she has TWO large drawers for hair products ONLY. (I won’t even get into body products and skincare!).

personal transformation workbook

7. Nail Polish

As a minimalist who focuses on clean beauty and simplicity, I now prefer to focus on natural nail care without the need for polish.

I think it’s been 6 or 7 years since my last manicure.

But I might get one soon tho!

It’s not that I force myself to not get manicures or put nail polish on; it’s just that it doesn’t fit with my mentality and lifestyle anymore… most of the time.

In any case, I like the simplicity and freedom of bare nails. It also allowed me to grow strong and healthy nails AND eliminate clutter from my bathroom.

Minimalist nails

Plus, when you adopt a bare/natural beauty routine, you learn to focus and love yourself as you are, in all your glorious natural beauty.

Related post: How I Grow Strong, Healthy Nails Naturally

8. Ready-to-Eat and Take-Out Meals

I almost never eat or buy ready-to-eat or take-out food.

First, it aligns with my commitment to simplicity and conscious consumption. But more importantly, I have to follow a relatively strict anti-inflammatory diet (specifically, the Wahls protocol), and there’s no room for take-out/convenience food in that diet.

This means I have to constantly prioritize my health and cook 90% of my meals.

AIP diet - change your life

(I won’t lie, it’s a challenge).

In any case, it has the added benefit of forcing me to minimize unnecessary packaging and waste associated with convenience foods.

Related post: I Tried The Wahls Diet and Here’s What Happened

9. Specialty Kitchen Appliances

I don’t own a microwave, a toaster, a coffee maker, a waffle maker, or a panini maker.  

In my journey to simplify, I’ve found that having fewer kitchen gadgets helps keep things less cluttered and encourages me to be more creative.

Instead of buying gadgets for one job, I pick tools that can do a few things.

Also, my kitchen is tiiinyyyy so, you know… priorities.

10. Souvenirs

I rarely buy souvenirs, and when I do, it’s usually a cute magnet for my fridge.

When on a trip, I also avoid taking a gazillion photos that I will never look at again once it’s over.

Instead, I try to make memories through mindfulness, presence, activities…

You know. Just be where you are. The memories will be in your head.

Simple. Enjoyable.

Also, I don’t know about you, but looking at old photos of times that once were, makes me nostalgic and sad.

Related post: 21 Ways to Simplify Your Life And Ditch The Overwhelm

Things i no longer buy

11. Drugstore Perfume

I have 3 or 4 perfumes I absolutely love, that I picked with the utmost care, and that I wear often.

Drugstore perfumes often come with excessive packaging, synthetic scents, and lack the uniqueness that I seek in a fragrance.

By investing in fewer high-quality perfumes, I not only simplify my collection but also ensure that each scent I own truly reflects my personal style and values.

Also, the quality things I buy, I use. I don’t keep them on a shelf for “special occasions”.

It’s called living, people.

12. Trendy Gadgets

No, I don’t own Bose speakers. I also don’t have an Apple watch, an iPad, a VR headset, or a smart home hub.

I’ll be honest, I’m not even sure what (who?) Alexa is. And I don’t care to find out.

(In all transparency, I do have wireless earbuds, but they were a gift and pretty much necessary for my survival, living in a studio apartment with my boyfriend AND working from home!).

But I essentially avoid tech fads and focus on essentials and things I absolutely need (vs wants).

13. Memberships

As a minimalist, I’ve chosen to streamline the number of memberships I subscribe to.

It’s not that memberships are inherently bad; it’s the accumulation of them that can clutter your budget and your time.

By carefully selecting the memberships that truly add value to my life and letting go of those that don’t, I’m able to simplify my financial commitments and focus on what truly matters to me.

things i no longer buy

This is not a dictatorship either.

I have bought store-bought wrapping paper; I bought a book two months ago during a trip (I was sick, and bored); I got a tiny boat as a souvenir in Germany (I regretted it when came the time to pack); and I did buy a cute case for my AirPods on Temu (no regrets; but it’s also the one and only time I’ve bought something there), etc.

airpods cover
Still happy every time I look at it

And I will buy unnecessary things from time to time. I will take pictures, and I will keep souvenirs. And that’s okay.

But, as a minimalist, I am mindful of the things I buy or keep, 70-90% of the time.

And it’s still better than 0%. Even 30% of the time is still better than 0%.

personal transformation workbook

There are so many things we don’t need that clutter our lives, our minds, and our souls. What matters is that we finally experience how these things affect us for real, by actually getting rid of them and taking time to observe ourselves.

When we finally say no to stuff and even remove the excess we already had, it opens up space for so much more joy, love, experiences, and connections — more valuable than any knick-knack we could have bought.

Things I stopped buying

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About Steph

I am a personal growth/self-management enthusiast. I was able to completely transform my life using everything I share here. I hope this blog helps you transform yours as well.
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