10 Things I No Longer Buy
Once I started living with less in my day to day life, I noticed that I stopped buying things that no longer lined up with what I used to buy regularly. I also took a bit more time to look at who I was buying from and if my money was being spent wisely. Doing so not only eliminated a lot of clutter in my space, but also led to less stress due to fewer options, with most of them being eco-friendlier in the end. Many of these alternatives will also save you money (through reusable options) and help you create a healthier home like they did for me as well.
1. Dryer Sheets
The first main item I no longer buy are dryer sheets. Did you know that what goes into your dryer sheets are virtually unregulated and full of chemicals that are known carcinogens? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to put clothes on my skin that have been tainted with chemical-laden commercial products. For me, the difference starts with all-natural detergent and using reusable wool dryer balls.
According to CBS News, a recent study about dryer sheets and scented laundry detergent determined some scary news. “Researchers enlisted two homeowners to volunteer their washers and dryers, which the team scrubbed clean beforehand. The researchers ran a regular laundry cycle for three scenarios in each home: once without any detergent, once with a scented liquid laundry detergent, and the last with both scented detergent and a leading brand of scented dryer sheets.
Their analysis found more than 25 "volatile" air pollutants - including the carcinogens acetaldehyde and benzene. Benzene causes leukemia and other blood cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. Acetaldehyde has been shown to cause nasal and throat cancer in animal studies.” That’s more than enough information for me to make the switch. Simply because your laundry may “smell fresh” does not mean it is good for your skin or your lungs to breath in.
To make my dryer balls scented I put a couple drops of lavender or lemon essential oil which is more than enough to be pleasant but not overwhelming. You can purchase dryer balls for around $5 pretty much everywhere nowadays including Walmart and Target. There are loads of handmade wool options on Etsy as well. (Huge thanks to one of my best friend’s mom Deb, for making mine!)
2. Cheap Jewelry
Throughout my journey to living with less, I’ve realized that I’ve pretty much stopped buying jewelry altogether. I have a few main pieces that I absolutely love, and that’s all I need! I used to buy cheap jewelry all the time whenever I had an event to go to or simply when I saw an item on sale that I vaguely liked. Then it would hang on my wall or sit on my shelf until I wore it “someday”.
Now if I ever do buy a piece of jewelry, I make sure it’s of quality and won’t tarnish after a month. It must be something worth justifying by use and simple enough that I’ll wear it with everything! This also has led to much more appealing jewelry options and a lot less space needed to store them.
Hi, my name’s Hannah and I used to be a bag hoarder. In high school I had somewhere in the realm of 30 bags and purses, minimum. I’m not quite sure why I felt the need to have so many bags but I enjoyed having options at the time, although I always used the same ones anyway.
When I finally went through my bag collection (which took me years to pare down) I realized I only needed one in each category. Now I have a backpack I use all the time, one main large purse and one small purse. That’s it! By not buying new bags all the time it makes me appreciate the ones I do have. When I look for replacements I make sure they will last me awhile and that they’re functional for my life.
4. Artificially Fragranced Items
This includes chemical-infused candles, body sprays, perfumes, air fresheners, deodorant, the list can go on and on. After learning about the toxic ingredients in products I was using every day, I chose to spend my money more consciously. Although a product may appear to be “natural” by stating there’s a “fresh floral” scent, what you’re reading is only the manipulative marketing.
An article in Scientific American on toxic perfumes and colognes makes it clear that there truly isn’t anyone regulating what’s labeled “fragrance” on these types of products. The Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 requires companies to list all the ingredients in their products…except fragrance! The term “fragrance” alone can contain over 100 different chemicals that can build up in your body and still be listed as one ingredient because of the Labeling Act.
“The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that, while many popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays contain trace amounts of natural essences, they also typically contain a dozen or more potentially hazardous synthetic chemicals, some of which are derived from petroleum. To protect trade secrets, makers can withhold fragrance ingredients, so consumers can’t rely on labels to know what hazards may lurk inside that new bottle of perfume.”
I no longer buy the Bath and Body Works sprays, fancy perfumes or candles. Instead, I try to stick to natural companies that are transparent about what’s in their products. I also use diffusers with essential oils throughout my apartment, natural brands of perfume (like organic Rose perfume) and aluminum-free deodorant.
5. Chemical Filled Cleaning Products
The American Lung Association says, “Household and cleaning products—including soaps, polishes and grooming supplies—often include harmful chemicals. Even products advertised as "green" or "natural" may contain ingredients that can cause health problems.”
This somewhat goes alongside the previous items, but I highly suggest watching the documentary Stink! on Netflix to learn more. Rather than using chemicals to clean, I prefer using vinegar, water, and essential oils like lemon or lavender for a light scent.
6. Cheap Shoes
On this one, I wish I had listened to my mom years ago. I only recently started swapping out my cheap shoes with better quality (and fitting) options. Flimsy or cheap flip-flops, flats, and tennis shoes were not only horrible for my feet, but being a server, I need shoes that offer support and shoes that will last. No longer will I just buy shoes because they’re ridiculously cheap, but I choose to research what pairs I need and go from there. I’d say I’ve gone from having 40 pairs of shoes to now around 8 higher quality pairs of shoes for the various seasons.
Instead of collecting little décor pieces from Target, I make my knick-knacks and decorations from things I already have bought in the past, or save items from my trips to decorate my place with. For example, I take home sand and shells from various beaches, save tickets from special museums and try to take lots of pictures. From there I create collages, mason jar assortments filled with shells or memory boxes with pictures and foreign currency from the trip. I find that doing this around our apartment has filled it with personal items that have a story behind them of creativity and travel.
8. Magazine/Subscription Services
I used to have a few magazine subscriptions when I was younger and I also had several large stacks of them spread across my room. Did I ever re-read them later? Nope. Hence why I canceled the subscriptions and recycled my magazines. If I really need a magazine, I’ll go to the library to look at an updated issue of whatever it may be. (But, realistically I’ve never had to.)
This includes other subscription services I’ve come to re-evaluate and ask, do I really need it, and more importantly, am I getting the best bang for my buck? With many of the trendy monthly boxed service subscriptions for food, fitness or beauty products, it’s not that great of a deal. They want to make money too, which they’re accomplishing (especially the subscription services that are upwards of $40/month). I encourage you to rethink the subscriptions you have in your life and evaluate if you’re truly getting the value from them, instead of mindlessly continuing to renew them each month/year.
9. The Latest Tech
I have a laptop, a phone and some other basic tech (none of which are new by any means) and that’s pretty much all I need. If I ever do need a new phone or laptop, I will most likely downgrade to cheaper (but still nice) option. Honestly, I think technology surpassed me a long time ago, and that’s perfectly fine. I don’t feel the need to buy virtual reality systems or Google home’s, etc. If you do and you get use out of it, that’s great! I just don’t find myself buying technology anymore.
10. Mouthwash + Body Wash
I figured I might as well combine these together since they’re both bathroom products that I no longer buy. I make my own mouthwash from peppermint essential oil, baking soda and filtered water. I also use an all-natural bar of soap for my body. I’ve noticed that a bar of natural soap is significantly cheaper than a bottle of body wash, creates less waste from the packaging and lasts even longer!
Are there any items you can think of that you longer buy or want to trade out for a different option?