Minimalism: 29 things I stopped buying

Imagine this:

You’re late for work and need to get dressed quickly. You open your closet, it’s bursting with clothes but yet you “have nothing to wear!”

You’re looking for an item you had in your hand just this morning but now it’s like it’s disappeared somewhere in all the junk you have lying around.

You sit down to work at your desk but cannot for the life of you focus on any one thing.

You want to splurge on a night out with friends but your wallet is empty. Where did all my money go?!

You feel like you’re emptying the trash can almost every day. How can you produce so. much. waste??

Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve found yourself in one or more of these situations lately. I know I sure have and I am sick of the overwhelm and clutter that surrounds me.

In recent months I’ve been dabbling in living a more minimal life. I took a long, hard look at the things I had been purchasing and repurchasing and decided to make some adjustments according to what was necessary and what was not.

Not only have I saved a ton of money but I cut out a lot of clutter too. Which is super exciting!

I did this for a couple of reasons.

First, I was sick and tired of all the clutter all around me. I seriously wanted to look at how I could reduce the mess and like my parents always used to tell me: (I hate that they were right) Have fewer things.

Second, the environmental impact a lot of our things and purchases have on our planet. I’m falling in love with the idea of looking at everything through a conscious or mindful lens. Being aware of the impact of my actions (or in this case purchases) has on the things and people around me.

Third, to save money of course. I didn’t realize how much money I was wasting until I stopped buying these things.

Whatever your reason is, I believe you can always find areas to cut back on so I wanted to share my list of 29 things I stopped buying to give you a little inspiration and motivation.

Related: 15 Things I still buy as a minimalist

*This post contains affiliate links meaning I may earn a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links. Read our full disclosure policy here. 

Here are 29 things I stopped buying

1. Plastic Water Bottles 

This is just a give in. Disposable water bottles are extremely toxic to the planet and they just cost so much money over time. Fun fact: water bottle companies don’t sell water. They sell plastic bottles.

Unless you’re in an area where the water isn’t clean and bottled water is necessary, purchase a reusable bottle. I love my hydro flask. It keeps liquids hot or cold for hours!

2. Artificial Fragrances 

Meaning candles, body sprays, room sprays, wall plug-ins, etc. The only products like these that I purchase are all-natural soy candles and sprays made from essential oilsBoth of these products are 100% natural and sustainably made meaning they don’t come with any of the side effects that chemically scented products come with.

Anything else is just chalked full of chemicals. And who else is guilty of a bath and body works shopping spree but never actually using all of the products in their entirety? yeah me too. Which is why I will never set foot in a bath and body works again.

3. Disposable ziplock bags 

While convenient, they aren’t good for the environment and buying them time after time is a total money sucker. I invested in these reusable stasher bags which are AH-mazing. They’re silicone, sealable and even dishwasher safe. Seriously once you try these bad boys you’ll never go back to plastic baggies again.

4. Grocery bags 

Same thing. Non- environmentally friendly and the constant need to repurchase them every shopping trip weighs on your wallet. I opted to invest in a few reusable bags from baggu instead.They fold up nice and tiny and can fit in just about any purse so you’ll never forget them again!

5. Plastic toothbrushes 

Or should I say, disposable toothbrushes? I’m really not into the whole “disposable” notion. I just think it’s such a wasteful idea.

I’d rather have a product I know will last a long time than have to replace it so often and it’s no different with toothbrushes. I’ve made the switch to bamboo brushes and it was so worth it. I think the planet will think so too. 😉

6. Plastic utensils 

Whether it’s disposable forks and knives and spoons or cooking utensils. Plastic just isn’t a great material. I find it best to stick with wood or metal utensils.

This is the travel bamboo set I use and it’s amazing. I keep it in my bag at all times so I’m never caught without them.

7. Magazine Subscriptions 

I used to be obsessed with seventeen magazine and had a subscription to it for years. But most magazine articles are online anyway for FREE. Opting out of magazine subscriptions is also more eco-friendly.

8. Drinks I can make at home 

So coffee, smoothies. This is a recent decision but a very cost-effective one. But I just know I can almost always make the exact same thing at home for a fraction of the price AND I  have control of exactly what goes into it.

Though I will admit I will indulge in the occasional seasonal drink but overall I avoid it at all costs.

9. Pre-cut fruits and veggies 

Always wasteful and always over-priced. Buying pre-cut fruits and veggies in those plastic tubs is such a waste! I would way rather just buy a whole fruit or vegetable the way nature intended it.

10. Greeting cards 

Not that there’s anything wrong with greeting cards but individual cards are overpriced and there’s always too many in a box set. So either I’m wasting money or paper when I could easily make my own for free. Plus it’s more special that way.

11. Knick-Knacks 

Oh boy, this one was a tough one to give up. I realized that I liked little things way too much and the clutter was becoming unbearable. Now when making purchases I like to make sure that it’s something actually useful and not something that will just sit and collect dust.

12. Memberships 

This one runs so deep. But most memberships I have ever had, have never gotten their full use out of them. Unless you’re an active gym person, best not to get a membership. You think you’re saving money but if you’re not using your membership, it’s an unnecessary waste.

13. Excess beauty products 

What I mean by this is I don’t need 10 blushes. I don’t need 5 different foundations. I used to always do this and my makeup table was just ridiculously cluttered. Now I like to have one, maybe 2 variations of a single product and use those up before picking up any more.

14. Jewelry 

It was so easy for me to get sucked in my jewelry. Everything was so dainty and pretty and I just HAD to have it. Even though, I don’t really wear jewelry!! Crazy right? Now, I like to invest in a few quality pieces and nothing more. I don’t let myself get sucked in anymore.                                                                             

Related: 4 ethical Jewelry brands you NEED to know about

15. Notebooks 

Sigh. Another hard one on the list. I am a writer. Stories, poems, songs, blog posts. You name it and I write it. This is another hole I found easy to fall into. Pretty notebook? Buy it. Did I ever fill in every single page? Nope. So now I do what I do with makeup. Have one or two and wait to buy a new one when the ones I have run out. Seriously money and clutter saver.

16. Processed meats 

I’m actually a vegan now! You can read that story here, so technically I don’t buy any meats.

But before I was fully vegan, I avoided processed meats at all costs. They do come with a higher environmental impact and they’re so full of chemicals, fillers, and they’re a lot harder to digest. Plus they’re just not that good for you.

If you still consume meat, no worries! Just try to get some locally farmed meat as it’s the most sustainable option.

17. Shaving cream 

An item that to me is just not a necessity. I like everything in my life to be a necessity or serve an important job and shaving cream just didn’t cut it. I’m also just very conscious of the products I use on my skin. I find that coconut oil does the job just fine and leaves my skin super soft.

18. Makeup wipes 

Another item that is not necessary and not so environmentally friendly. Coconut oil is a great alternative or using my DIY micellar water with reusable cotton pads.

19. Body products 

Like lotions upon lotions and shower gels and shimmer sprays, etc. Another money-sucking product that will most likely just sit on a shelf in my bathroom and never be completely used up.

20. Pop/Soda 

Unhealthy and honestly just unappealing to me at this point. I’m saving money and my insides with this one. Plus if it’s not around. You’re gonna be less likely to crave it.

21. Mouthwash 

Another unnecessary product that I almost view as a luxury. Something I can definitely live a happy and healthy life without. 

When I feel like I do want the luxury of mouthwash, I make my own. Find the recipe here.

22. Sale items 

This is such a broad term but I totally used to be the person who bought something because it was on sale. Maybe I could use it one day or maybe I’d never touch it again but at least it was on sale! Yikes.

I don’t even need to explain this one. But that’s not to say I don’t buy anything on sale I just don’t buy things BECAUSE they’re on sale.

23. Trendy shoes 

Or excess amounts of shoes. I really don’t need 10 pairs of heels or 10 running shoes. I like to keep to a maximum of TWO pairs for each occasion and only purchase more when those ones are broken or shot.

24. Apps 

Another thing I just refuse to do. No app (in my opinion) is worth purchasing. And this means in-app purchases too. Sure it’s only a dollar here and there but it can really add up over time.

25. Pre-made meals 

Similar to the pre-cut fruits ideas but this also includes microwaveable meals and such. I don’t like not knowing what’s in them/ Yes, I know they have the ingredients listed but still. I feel much more confident eating meals my own hands have prepared.

26. Swimsuit 

Just like with the shoes. I don’t need 12 bikinis. One or two will suit me just fine (get it??) and save me a ton of money too.

27. Clothes 

I try really hard to make a conscious decision about every. single. item I purchase. What kind of environmental impact did this article have? What about humanity? It’s also a new concept for me not to need 20 items of the same kind. I don’t need 20 sweaters or 20 pairs of jeans.

Since cutting my shopping down drastically I have saved literally HUNDREDS of dollars. 

Related: Why I’m choosing slow fashion and how you can too

Related: I bought no new clothes for a year

28. Throw blankets/pillows 

Ok, THIS was the hardest thing for me to stop purchasing but so, so worth it. I am such a comfort addict so it was really just an adjust in being content with the comfy things I already have.

29. Trendy things/ Things out of your comfort zone 

While it’s always good to try new things it can also be a waste of money. There were a few styles that popped up over the years that I so desperately wanted to rock so I bought the items and go figure, I NEVER wore them. I find I’m happiest and most confident when I’m wearing and buying what I know I feel good in.

Other posts you might like: 

15 things to start making instead of buying

Why the zero waste movement isn’t sustainable

And there you have it! My list of 29 things I have stopped buying to really improve my life! Would you add anything to this list? Let me know down below!

As always, please don’t forget to pin this post if you liked it and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste, minimalism, and ethical fashion inspiration!

29 things I stopped buying






  1. August 14, 2019 / 4:09 pm

    Great list!!! I feel like I need to print this and make notes lol I already got myself some reusable ziplocks since reading this. Thanks for the tips 🙂

    • Caity Rose
      August 15, 2019 / 10:31 am

      Thank you! Reusable ziplocks are the bomb!

  2. arianna
    August 21, 2019 / 10:41 am

    can i suggest another things to stop buyng? sanitary napkins. you can rapalce them whit mestrual cup and cotton pads for woman. 😉

  3. Dana
    November 12, 2019 / 11:38 pm

    I have been using bee wax wrap instead of plastic wrap it works great and you can reuse them and not throw all the plastic in the garbage.

    • Caity Rose
      November 13, 2019 / 5:30 pm

      That’s a great alternative as well!!

  4. January 4, 2020 / 1:35 pm

    Never knew about all the items you could buy in reusable versions. Definitely making the purchases! I really enjoyed this article and glad it actually had useful info instead of only having the typical, redundant items like paper towels.

    • Caity Rose
      January 4, 2020 / 2:58 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you found the article helpful! 🙂

  5. January 13, 2020 / 8:47 am

    this is a great list! it was really hard for me to stop buying journals as well, but I had soo many and most were only partially used and my whole system was so unorganized. now I just have journals in evernote in my ipad backed up to the cloud. no paper, and all in one place! it’s been a game changer for me.

    • Caity Rose
      January 13, 2020 / 10:11 am

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. I agree journals were one of the hardest to give up but it feels so good!

    • Josmauri
      February 27, 2020 / 1:54 am

      Look into Rocketbook! (my comment below) They make journal size one 🙂

  6. Mandy
    January 15, 2020 / 7:31 am

    I rank commercial greeting cards right up there with armed robbery as a money scam. Really? $3.98 for what cost the manufacturer three cents in material and not much more for the hokey mass produced sentiment? Not everyone wants to or can make their own, although card making software programs like the one that has saved me untold dollars are pretty easy to use. But anyone can buy a box of note cards and write personalized messages inside. If that’s too much trouble, why bother to send a card in the first place?

  7. Ysabel
    February 15, 2020 / 7:14 pm

    Reusable straws is another great invention!!

  8. Josmauri
    February 27, 2020 / 1:51 am

    Great post! I am a notebook whore too. Have you heard of Rocketbook?? I have one and always gift them and people love it! It is a notebook with special pages that can be scanned using a QR code and files straight to wherever you’d like electronically (email, dropbox, etc). You use friction pens which are erasable and then after you scan the pages you can wipe them down with water and ta’da, fresh clean pages. You can just keep reusing it forever and it comes in different sizes.

    • Caity Rose
      February 27, 2020 / 12:44 pm

      That sounds amazing! I’ll definitely check it out!

  9. sally
    April 28, 2020 / 8:30 am

    Bonjour Caity, Thank you for your tips and recommandations, but it saddened me to see that every link in this article is going to an amazon page with the product. Isn’t it a total non sense to make work this non ethical company, who is an environnemental disaster and treat with so little respect her employees ?
    For instance, for those stashed bags (who do seems amazing), you could give us the link af the shop selling it (make your local shop some publicity 😉
    have a good day, and thanks again for your articles

    • Caity Rose
      April 28, 2020 / 4:11 pm

      At the end of the day, Amazon is the most accessible to the vast majority and often more affordable. Sustainable products and living are still widely inaccessible and this blog is dedicated to teaching people how to be sustainable without going into debt and using what is at their disposal. While I’d love to promote sustainable brands directly (and a LOT of the times I do) I know that it just doesn’t work for everybody and I want to be as inclusive as I can. The stasher website doesn’t even ship to Canada (yet) where I’m from and so it seems unfair to link directly to them and is the case for a lot of sustainable brands. I have also talked about the importance of minimizing our purchases in general and also how to shop more sustainable on Amazon to help give my readers all the tools they will need to make an informed, conscious purchase. I also need to earn a living to keep this blog up and running and to continue providing educational content and a lot of smaller businesses don’t have partnerships in place for me to do so. Hope that answers your question, Thanks for reading!

  10. Shan
    May 24, 2020 / 10:33 am

    Loved this article! Ziploc bags are the worst!!! Although I hope you’re switching out your bamboo toothbrush every 3-4 months – bacterial and fungal overgrowth isn’t desirable. And mouthwash may be unnecessary for you but for many people it’s an absolute game changer discussed with their dental provider and helping them stay cavity free or managing their gum disease, not an item of excess. I would perhaps suggest leaving medical supplies off a minimalism list as everyone’s health is so different.

    • Caity Rose
      May 24, 2020 / 10:47 am

      Thanks for reading! My bamboo toothbrushes are often replaced when necessary. I make it very clear that this post is about the things I have stopped buying and as you said, It’s not a necessity for ME. I am in no way telling other people not to purchase any of the things on this list. I also don’t think mouthwash classifies as medical supplies.

  11. Nessa
    May 25, 2020 / 9:43 am

    I love this article. I become a minimalist this January 2020 and it really help me a lot financially and the stress of owning lots of stuff…

    • Caity Rose
      May 25, 2020 / 6:24 pm

      Thank you! It really does do wonders for all areas of life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Learn How to Create Less Waste without Spending a DIME!

Join our mailing list and receive your FREE guide directly to your inbox!

We use cookies on this website to help us understand how you use it, If you chose to continue using this website we will assume that you are consenting to this. privacy policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.