35 Things I Don’t Buy Anymore As A Minimalist

what not to buy as a minimalist


A lot of my friends who are new to minimalism ask me what items I don’t buy anymore. The types of things that minimalists don’t buy are pretty much threefold: minimalists don’t buy items that increase waste, encourage reckless spending, or add no value to their lives.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

Living as a minimalist has changed many things about my life, especially the way that I shop. The minimalist mindset has taught me to shop for high-quality purchases that get me more bang for my buck!

ryan mitchell simple living expert

35 Things I Don’t Buy Anymore As A Minimalist

things i do not buy any more as a minimalist

I recently took some time to reflect on the things that first come to my mind when I think about what minimalists don’t buy or use in their daily lives.

Lots of these items are simple things that I cut out of my life when I started living this way. Removing them from my shopping list helped me align my mind with the minimalist philosophy and become more cost conscious and less wasteful overall.

how to start a minimalist lifestyle

Things Minimalists Don’t Buy In The Kitchen

Things Minimalists Dont Buy In The Kitchen

I wanted to start out with the kitchen, because that’s one room where you can make a lot of easy swaps to your weekly grocery list and cookware. There are tons of kitchen items that people assume are must-haves that can easily be swapped for something more minimalism friendly.

how to equip a minimalist kitchen

Paper Towels And Napkins

paper towelsWhen it comes to paper products, I tend to forgo paper towels and paper napkins. Leaving these items off my list saves me money and does some good for mother earth.

A lot of new and aspiring minimalists are initially opposed to reusable towels and napkins because they fear it’ll be a hassle to wash them, but it’s actually super simple. You can easily throw your reusable paper towels and napkins in with your weekly laundry.

Plastic Water Bottles

plastic water bottlesPlastic water bottles are another item you can leave out of your shopping cart. I have a reusable plastic water bottle that I take with me everywhere, and it takes less than a minute for me to give it a quick wash, reducing waste and clutter from plastic bottles.

Ziploc Bags

plastic ziplock bagsBuying mountains of plastic Ziploc baggies just doesn’t make sense as a minimalist or someone who tries to live sustainably. There are so may easy food storage alternatives to plastic baggies, like glass meal prep containers, compostable food storage bags, or reusable silicon bags.

One Task Kitchen Appliances

juicerOne main goal of a minimalist lifestyle is getting the most value out of every single item you buy. This allows you to reduce the number of things you have to buy overall. I try to keep gadgets that only perform one task out of my minimalist kitchen. This includes apple slicers, juicers, pasta rollers, and that sort of thing.

Disposable Plates, Cups, Utensils

disposable cupsWhen having a party, dinner, or family event, it’s natural to want to go straight to the store to grab the paper goods. However, there are other minimalist-friendly options for this kind of get together. I’m a big fan of using real plates, cups, mugs, and glassware to prevent excess waste.

I know this route will require extra mess and cleanup for the host, but for me, it’s still worth it in the long run to be more conscientious with my choices, even if I have to take a little time to wash dishes at the end of the night!

Cling Wrap

cling wrapThere are so many great, minimalist alternatives to cling wrap. I’ve found beeswax wraps to be a quality swap because it’s reusable and completely compostable, so it doesn’t leave any plastic waste after your food is gone.

Extra Tupperware

extra tupperware containersOnly buying what you actively need and use regularly is a major aspect of the minimalist life. It’s easy to keep filling a busy kitchen with stacks of Tupperware and storage containers (after all, you use them all the time), but there are plenty of other ways to store your leftovers.

Mason jars are always a decent option for food storage that saves you some shelf space. At the end of the day, a single set of food storage containers will do the trick!

Impulse Buying Groceries

Impulse Buying GroceriesOne way to keep an eye on what you buy as a minimalist is to be strict with your grocery list. When you head to the market, go in with a game plan of the exact groceries you need to buy, and stick to it!

This is the best way to keep from impulse buying your favorite snacks or candy at the checkout counter toward the end of your shopping spree.

One thing I like to do to make sure I stick to my list is to allow myself one “random treat” that I didn’t account for on my list beforehand. That way, I have the space to get something fun without going overboard.

Things Minimalists Don’t Buy In The Laundry Room

Things Minimalists Dont Buy In The Laundry Room

The laundry room isn’t a place I like to spend my time to begin with, so taking things to a minimalist level in there felt almost therapeutic for me. There are tons of items that used to be staples in my laundry routine that I don’t buy anymore.

how to organize a small laundry

Dryer Sheets

dryer sheetsDryer balls are a far less wasteful, more cost-effective alternative to dryer sheets. Using dryer balls instead of dryer sheets will help to reduce static on your clothing and make your dried duds nice and fluffy, but they can be used over and over.

There are also some dryer balls that you can infuse with essential oils to leave your laundry smelling extra fresh. All you need to do is add one to three drops of your favorite essential oil scent to each ball and give the oil time to soak in completely before adding them to your next laundry load.

Extra Linens

Extra LinensDon’t waste space on extra linens and bath towels that you don’t need. In my minimalist household, I keep one set of towels for me, one for my girlfriend, and one set for guests. Each bed has its own set of linens with a single spare set. This way, the linen closet can also serve a dual role as storage for other necessities.

Excess Hangers

extra hangersHaving too many hangers around will create excess clutter that won’t ever truly be put to good use. Keeping the exact number of hangers you need for the amount of clothes you have, with a small handful of spares, is more aligned with the minimalist way.

Fancy Detergents Or Softeners

detergent and softener bottlesThere’s no need to fill your washer with overly expensive, fancy detergents or fabric softeners. Fabric softeners don’t add a ton of value to the wash cycle; they don’t wash clothes, remove stains, or get rid of lingering odors. A basic detergent is all you really need to get your laundry done well.

Vinegar or baking soda can also serve effectively with removing odors and some stains or buildup. You can pick up these items at many local stores for a fairly low price (you may even have some in the kitchen already).

Things Minimalists Don’t Buy In The Bathroom

Things Minimalists Dont Buy In The Bathroom

Clutter and waste can stack up quickly in the bathroom. Here are several valuable swaps I’ve made to my toiletries and bathroom essentials.

how to organize a small bathroom

Cotton Balls

cotton ballsThere are much more cost-conscious, eco-friendly ways to remove makeup or nail polish than buying disposable cotton balls. My minimalist friends use homemade washable cloth cotton rounds paired with water and facial cleansers make a DIY, reusable makeup remover. You can also use a cotton polish removal cloth for your nails.

Excess Hair Styling Tools

hair styling toolsRefraining from purchasing too many hair styling gadgets and products is one way to keep your bathroom feeling like a minimalist haven. While it is true that different hair types need different tools and attention, there are ways that my long-locked minimalist friends get around buying a separate tool for every look.

A lot of minimalist hair trends involve using basic but high-quality hair care products to achieve a loose, unstructured look that doesn’t require too much prep or upkeep. Less is often more in this realm, so I often see friends opting for simple, relaxed styles and the occasional easy ponytail.

Paper Tissues

paper tissuesBuying Kleenex and other paper tissue products will spike your bill and increase your waste quickly. I recommend washable handkerchiefs as the minimalist alternative. However, for those who don’t want to mess around with a handkerchief in their pocket, or for families with kids, there are lots of compostable tissue options out there that will get the job done and get rid of the cooties all at once.

Disposable Razors

Disposable RazorsWhile the allure of a disposable razor is a clean, quick shave at a low price, they really aren’t conducive to the minimalist lifestyle. Buying disposable razors over and over increases waste and comes with a hefty price tag. Reusable razors can bring you just as clean of a shave for less money and less waste.

Just-In-Case Makeup

Just-In-Case MakeupIt’s easy to go crazy when buying makeup. I have friends who tell me about adding all of those new and shiny beauty products to their carts. My best advice for staying minimalist with makeup and beauty product purchases is to only buy the products you use every single day.

It’s also nice to think about how many beauty products today have multiple purposes or functions. For example, the same stick can be used as blush and lipstick or eyeliner and lipliner. Buying products like this is a great way to keep from going overboard in your cosmetic arsenal.

Makeup Wipes

makeup wipesMakeup wipes are another beauty staple that minimalists don’t buy anymore. Not only are they super expensive, but they’re pretty wasteful too. You can easily make your own reusable makeup wipes with a washable cloth or cotton round, water, Argan oil, and facial cleaner or astringent.

Things Minimalists Don’t Buy In An Office

Things Minimalists Dont Buy In An Office

There are tons of office supplies that I don’t by anymore as a minimalist, like mechanical pencils, disposable pens, excess paper, or notebooks that look nice but that I don’t have a plan to use . Reducing my supplies helps my office stay organized, decluttered, and gives me a minimalist friendly workspace.

how to organize a small office

Disposable Pens

Cheap Disposable PensA tip I got from one of my closest minimalist friends when it comes to buying office supplies is to stop buying disposable pens that will eventually run out of ink. Over time, it’s more expensive and wasteful to do this. Instead, consider investing in a nice fountain pen that you can refill again and again.

Charger Cords

charger cordsNothing turns an office space into a cluttered, packed mess like excess cords. I find that every time I declutter, I end up with handfuls of cords that I can’t even identify.

Instead of buying a charger cord for every device, consider alternative options like wireless chargers or multi-device charging stations.

Paper Calendar

paper calendarThere was a time before the internet age where I would buy a paper calendar or spiral planner every single year, but that’s just not necessary anymore. Tools like Google Calendar help me keep my life in order for free and without excess paper cluttering my office.

Multiple Devices With The Same Purpose

multiple devices with same purposeHustle culture has certainly increased the impulse to buy tons of devices for all of our work needs. As a minimalist, I’ve found it’s better for me to resist buying a separate computer and phone for my work and personal life.

Having multiple devices for the same purpose mixes up my files and makes it harder to keep track of everything. I have one computer that fills all of my needs and a simple dumb phone to stay in touch with the people I need to reach.

Distracting Decor

Distracting DecorMinimalism is just as much a mental game as it is about being mindful about what you buy. One thing I make an effort to keep out of my office space is any flashy, ostentatious decorations that could distract me from monotasking and making the most of my time on the clock.

Things Minimalists Don’t Buy In The Bedroom

Things Minimalists Dont Buy In The Bedroom

I truly believe that the bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the house because it is the space where you start and end the day. Here are the items I don’t buy anymore in my bedroom.

how to organize a small bedroom

Extra Throw Pillows

Extra Throw PillowsI don’t buy anything that doesn’t add value to my bedroom. This includes unnecessary throw pillows that are more decorative than useful, other than serving as the occasional cat lounger.

Lots Of Books Or Magazines

stack of old magazinesI am an avid lover of literature, but I do try to find ways of avoiding spending a ton of money and space on new books to stay true to my minimalist values. There are lots of ways to get access to books without buying them, like using an e-reader or your local library. I also try to declutter my bookshelf regularly.

Bulky Furniture

Bulky FurnitureI try to keep my bedroom furniture pretty simple. I don’t spend a ton of money on huge, bulky furniture pieces that will take up too much space. I try to keep my furniture choices simple. This goes for any room in my home.

Miscellaneous Things Minimalists Don’t Buy

Miscellaneous Things Minimalists Dont Buy

Some of the random items that I don’t buy anymore as a minimalist don’t fit into any of the categories above, just like they don’t really have a place in my space anymore. Here are some easy items to cut from your shopping list that you may not have considered.


SouvenirsThis is one that might not naturally cross your mind because it isn’t something you would need to purchase daily. But refraining from buying souvenirs from every destination you visit is a great way to save a pretty penny and reduce clutter in your home.

Items From The Dollar Section

discount store itemsThere’s an undeniable allure to sale items because buying them often makes you feel like you’re saving money and scoring a sweet bargain. However, in my minimalist journey I’ve found that this gimmick often tricks me into buying things I don’t even need, just for the satisfaction of saving money on them.

These days, I try not to be tricked by sale tags. Buying items from the dollar section or on sale is really only beneficial if they’re on your list anyway. Otherwise, you are spending more money than you initially planned for no good reason.

Excess Kids Toys

Excess Kids ToysI don’t have kids myself, but most of my minimalist friends with kids try to be sparing when it comes to buying new toys. There are lots of creative ways to keep your kids entertained without buying every single one of the latest and greatest toys that come out.

Seasonal Décor

seasonal decorI try to refrain from buying lots of excess seasonal décor. This doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of holiday fun. There are many avenues for decorating in the holiday season that don’t require you to buy seasonal décor. Some of my crafty minimalist friends make their own decorations. I also know people who add small touches like foliage, floral pieces and other seasonal treasures found in the great outdoors.

Cheap Or Low-Quality Items

Cheap Or Low Quality ItemsOne misconception about minimalism is that it means only buying cheap items, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Minimalists actually don’t tend to buy cheap, low-quality items at all. Instead, it’s best to invest in high-quality, more expensive items that will last much longer and add value to your life and home.

Similar Service Subscriptions

Similar Service SubscriptionsAnother pro minimalist tip is to stop paying for subscription services that serve the same purpose. Choose one streaming service, one meal kit service, and one music service, instead of paying for multiple. This will save you money and help you think through which subscription services give you the most bang for your buck.

Subscription Boxes

Subscription BoxesMinimalists don’t tend to buy subscription boxes either — you know, the ones where you pay monthly to receive bins of new clothing, makeup, food products, or other items.

Typically, with these services, you don’t choose what comes in your box, so you don’t have control over whether you will actually enjoy and use the items. Plus, the chances are high that you don’t need them at all. It’s best to only buy what you need of your own accord!

Items Outside Of Your Budget

Items Outside Of Your BudgetWhile minimalism isn’t about being cheap, minimalists do keep frugality in mind. Budgeting is important for any minimalist trying to spend within their means. Try to refrain from buying items that you can’t afford. If it’s not in the cards right now, work to save and buy it later on!

Items That Can Be Handmade

handmade itemsMinimalists think like DIYers. If you can make it yourself, maybe it’s not worth buying. This goes for things like furniture, clothing, meals, and more. I even built my own tiny house when I realized how do-able it was. If people all over the world can do that, you can probably build some simple shelves that will be packed full of more personality than you’ll find in a store.

things you can live without as a minimalist

How To Stop Buying Things Like A Minimalist

How To Stop Buying Things Like A Minimalist

In a nutshell, making your shopping list more minimalism friendly is all about thinking through what you buy and refraining from reckless spending.

Minimalism isn’t about deprivation; it’s actually about increasing the quality of what you buy and being more intentional about the way you use and reuse things, thereby helping you save money while you prevent waste and clutter so you can enjoy the space you live in.

Your Turn!

  • What items will you cut from your shopping list as a minimalist?
  • How can you make your spending habits align with minimalism?
  1. Hi Ryan, 🙂

    Thank You Very Much
    For the Great list
    We all can use !!

  2. I am going to try this method. I will keep you all posted as to how it goes.

  3. DIY dishwashersoap, household cleaning: borax, baking soda, white. vinega,citric acid,salt,

  4. I transitioned to sustainable minimalism at the beginning of Covid lockdown, and it has completely changed mine and my daughters lives! I replaced our toilet paper with a bidet and cotton dry cloths. No more paper towels, foil, saran wrap, paper napkins, or any single use items. We even replaced our disposable pads with reusable pads with Saalt cups. i replaced the plastic shower liner with a washable organic liner. Replaced all household chemical cleaners with 3 ingredients: filtered water, isopropyl alcohol, and distilled vinegar —which successfully clean everything in our home! I got rid of all the plastic Tupperware, cups and pitchers and replaced them with glass containers, carboys and dispensers. Replaced our pots and pans with green forever chemical free ones. Replaced q tips with silicone swabs, disposable razors with a reusable one. We don’t use plastic or paper bags anymore, we just use own own cotton ones at the grocery store. We even shop at a Zero Waste refill station where we take our empty containers to refill our shampoo, conditioner, lotions, soaps and laundry, and dishwasher detergents with! No more throwing away wasteful plastic packaging. I reuse all the honey and pickle jars as cups—so when one of them breaks, I already have a backup!
    As a result of this transition, I’ve saved so much money. No more weekly shopping trips to stock up on household cleaners and hygiene products. My health has substantially improved. I’ve inspired my parents to switch to reusable items. Plus, not only has my 14 yo daughter embraced sustainable minimalism, she’s even decided to pursue a career in marine biology, and is working her butt off for a full ride scholarship!! Honestly, this has been the MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE EVER!!

  5. I remember handerchifs my used mom had to wash in boiling water to remove the snot it and germs made me sick to see them thank God for Kleenex and don’t use u eye products any place but eyes or u will get eye infection 1800 not for me

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