It’s been almost five years since I significantly reduced my consumption. I’ve stopped buying items that I used to consider necessary, but now see them as unnecessary. I buy almost nothing new, unless it’s something I can’t do without. For those who find this too radical, I have one universal piece of advice. Always ask yourself: do I really need this thing?” Following this rule will make a significantly decrease your consumption and I guarantee it will bring positive difference in your life.
I decided to limit such purchases not only to save unnecessary expenses, but also to reduce the ecological burden, to save my time that I would have to devote to taking care of these things, as well as to reduce the stress that I experience when I am looking for something and I can’t find it for the life of me.
1. Plastic Bottles
I’m sure you remember that. It used to be a trend to carry interesting bottles with different prints, which you still had to throw away after 2 weeks because they started to turn yellow. Then you bought it again and again and the environment would have liked to slap you then.
Did you know that around 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world. And most of the these plastic bottles are not recycled back. I finally found what I was looking for. A glass bottle that even lasts a little,looks good and I can carry it with me all the time.
Choose a socially responsible and environmentally beneficial alternative, such as a reusable stainless steel, glass, or safe aluminium bottle. Don’t worry if you forget to bring your water bottle with you. You can drink from a fountain, ask for a glass of water from a cafe, or buy a glass bottle of water to reuse. Goodbye plastic bottles, hello glass!
2. Too Many Clothes
Although I like to dress nicely, I don’t insist on being dressed according to the latest fashions. Many women have awful lot of clothes and yet absolutely nothing to wear. They buy clothes and at the end of the season, often throw most of the new clothes.
I’m a very comfortable person and therefore comfort is more important to me than style. Although, in my opinion, the two go hand in hand. What we feel good in, we look good in.
That’s why I try on clothes before every purchase to see if I feel really good in them. If so, I ask myself a few more questions: does this piece go with the clothes I have at home? Do I need another piece like this, don’t I already have something similar in my wardrobe? Only when I answer these questions and think about whether a new piece of clothing is really important to me, will I decide to buy it.
Take on a “capsule wardrobe” if you want to get deeper into all of this. This is a wardrobe made up of simple pieces that are all in the same color scheme. Challenges are popular in the blogger world, i.e. always looking new with a limited number of clothes. There are hundreds of suggestions that you can find on internet, especially on Pinterest.
Read also: 10 Ways to Save Money on High End Clothing
I really love to read books. But what happens to the books you read? Most of them go unnoticed on the shelf, and you know full well you won’t go back to them. Of course, I’ve kept some books because I plan to keep them in my imaginary dream home, but others I’ve donated or sold for a nominal price. Yes, I will occasionally buy a book, but I make every effort to borrow or exchange. Sometimes, I’ll visit the library if necessary.
Don’t start by cleaning your library if you’re someone who is very attached to their books. Reading books on kindle or any other platform online is a great option for those who enjoy it. You can store a lot more books in a small space, which may help you get rid of some of your physical books.
Read also: Between Decluttering and Minimalism
4. Too many cosmetics
I’ve never had a problem with cosmetics. For example, I don’t normally wear make-up at all. I only wear lipstick on special occasions, and even then I don’t go overboard. That’s why buying decorative cosmetics is very, very rare in my case. As far as other cosmetics are concerned, I think the last thing I bought was hair shampoo. That’s also because the current one was running out. Otherwise, such body lotions, shower gels, come into our household in the form of gifts rather than purchases.
5. Latest gadgets
Every year, new phones, cameras, televisions, and computer models are launched, putting pressure on us to update to the most up-to-date technology. Avoid falling for this marketing trap, even if you consider yourself an early adopter or prefer to remain on top of new trends.
It is now common practice to buy a new smartphone every year. The old one often ends up unused in a drawer or is disposed of. But other electrical devices also end up in the trash, even though they may still work. If you don’t upgrade your phone every year, you’re not missing out. Your items are still in good condition and will last for a long time.
It’s not necessary to replace it unless it’s really necessary. If having the most up-to-date devices and tech gadgets is vital to you, sell your old ones before upgrading. This could assist in defraying some of the expense of the new item.
A watch may be a sentimental item for some people who would never part with it. Others require a watch for work because checking the time on a phone seems inappropriate. However, I no longer feel the need to wear a watch. I’m totally content to use my smartphone to check the time. And, because I purposefully limit my phone usage, I find it simpler to resist being distracted.
7. Ready Meals
Ready or prepared meals are not a good choice for many different reasons. They often contain way too much fat, sugar and salt. They also often don’t necessarily shine with the rest of the nutritional information. Plus, they’re just too expensive relative to the same dish but home-cooked. And of course, they come with a lot of unnecessary packaging that you could also avoid or reduce by cooking yourself.
So if you want to do something good for your body and your wallet, and by the way, the environment, it’s a good idea to avoid ready foods.
8. Home decorating items
home decorating products are one of those items that usually end up in your shopping basket, despite the fact that you intended to buy something else. You have way too much of stuff at some point, and it has to get something new every year regardless.
I make more frequent use of what I already have. I seldom utilize everything at the same time; instead, I combine portions in different ways or store them in other places. That alone provides a fresh feeling in the apartment.
9. Cleaning products
Do you have the feeling that you can’t keep up with the cleaning? No wonder, after all we spend much more time at home and the apartment gets dirty faster. The cleaning agents also run out more quickly. But instead of always buying new cleaning products (and thus producing a lot of plastic waste), invest in more environmentally friendly alternatives.
Many cleaning products are very easy to make at home. Such homemade ones are ready to use at any time, contain less chemistry, allergens and are both more environmentally friendly and economical.
I don’t buy toys. Our kids have an incredible amount of toys. They always get some as a gift for the holidays or just during the year from a visitor, for example. We have one whole nursery cluttered with them, which, now that they’re little, we’ve turned into a playroom. And they still don’t play with them properly. So we figured it was pointless to add more to all that, which will die out in the flood of others anyway.
Oh, how I just love writing! Even as a little girl, I used to keep journals where I would cry about how some boy didn’t want me. Today, however, I see it differently. I’ve gotten myself one notebook a year where I write everything I have to do, what’s coming up, and what I’ve learned that day. The other, smaller notebook is for my thoughts or for quotes I like. Yes, there are all sorts of notebook offerings in the stores that we succumb to, but did you really write in all those lovely notebooks?
12. Greeting cards
I despise purchasing greeting cards. To begin with, they are far too pricey for their intended purpose of conveying a message. After all, who cares about the card? How many times have we seen envelopes ripped open and then turned upside down to see what cash comes out? We must confess that while greeting cards are beneficial to the card-making sector, but they are detrimental to the environment.
13. Unnecessary Foods
Another thing I’ve stopped doing is buying too much food. People have a tendency to spend a lot of money on food.
It is critical to prepare your own meals rather than eating at restaurants. At the same time, you want to make sure you’re not overspending on food.
Some people will buy eggs or too much meat, which they will either not utilize or neglect to freeze. It sits in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks before becoming bad. It wastes a lot of money, as well as the environment and sustainability in general – it’s just not a good thing to do.
I do not mean to disparage anyone’s needs, because I know that we are all different and have different priorities. We all like nice things in some form, it just means something different to everyone. For someone a nice dress or a well kept garden, for another a wild forest and a sunset.
But I believe we all have an obligation to try to meet our needs in a way that is ethical and sustainable. I stand by the fact that this does not automatically mean restriction. I have more time, less stress and money saved by reducing my consumption. A simpler life, easier and more carefree. And isn’t that what we all want?