Minimalism is a value system that focuses on what is truly important in your life. Learning to control your consumption habits is a key factor in a minimalist journey. That means there are certain things you should never buy as a minimalist.
I’m always quick to point out that there are a multitude of ways to practice minimalism, but there are some core values that tie us all together. Almost everyone who adopts the minimalist lifestyle begins with getting a handle on their possessions.
Learning to declutter and make rational choices about objects that occupy our space is a great first step. Brand new minimalists also become more mindful about items they bring into their home.
In 2023 – Things You Should Never Buy as a Minimalist
Single Use Plastic
Minimalists juggle a lot of priorities when it comes to making conscious choices about stuff. Sustainability is right near the top of priorities for most minimalists. It’s preferable to bring your own grocery bag to the store, have your own drinking straw (nobody likes the paper ones), and utilize a reusable water bottle.
A minimalist is highly unlikely to purchase something purely for the cuteness factor. Purely ornamental or decorative items are typically avoided. That’s not to say that a minimalist home must be bare, but tchotchkes cluttering flats surfaces or trite trinkets are not in keeping with the values of minimalism. Stuff for stuffs sake is something you should never buy as a minimalist.
Space Filling Furniture
Critics of minimalism like to play dumb and accuse minimalists of sleeping on the floor and eating on the floor as if none of us have furniture. Functional and attractive furniture are absolutely “allowed.” Of course it’s allowed, we all make our own rules on this journey. What becomes un-minimalist is putting furniture in a corner just because it’s empty or using items to fill space because bare areas make people uncomfortable.
Books You’ll Never Read
If you’ve ever moved residences you probably know that packing and moving books is by far the heaviest aspect of moving. Libraries and e-readers make it possible to be a voracious reader without weighing down your physical space. Having books just for the sake of it doesn’t prove your intelligence. I thought it was interesting, the most hate I got for my video above was about the fact that I don’t own any physical books.
Speciality Kitchen Appliances
Creating a functional kitchen setup requires lots of thought and planning. One of the easiest ways to make a kitchen function less efficiently is to fill it with appliances that are used rarely and for hyper specific purposes. A minimalist has to really consider if they need that panini press when a skillet can grill one side at a time. The fresh pasta maker you got from your wedding or the fondue set you got with the best of intentions don’t deserve to take up space for the rest of time.
What’s a story item? Minimalists should never buy items that are part of a wishful thinking scenario. Buying items in preparation for an improbable situation that you’ve spun a story about in your mind. For example, buying hundreds of dollars of scrapbooking supplies because you’ve convinced yourself that next summer you’re going to have free time to do that project you’ve never even spent one minute doing.
Being on trend is not a value of any minimalists I am aware of. Rejecting consumerist whims is usually a core value of minimalists. The latest iPhone won’t likely find it’s way into our pocket unless our current phone is kaput. When the air fryer trend or instaPot trend took off, minimalists were likely slower to adopt those items into their life if at all.
Viral videos of people walking into Target intending to purchase one item and instead accidentally spending hundreds of dollars sounds like a minimalists nightmare. We carefully consider the long term consequences of adding items into our world. If we go to buy something we hope to only come home with that item and nothing more.
Obviously, minimalists don’t want to spend more money than necessary on the items they are purchasing and getting a discount would be great. However, a minimalist would never buy an item just because it’s on sale. Spending any amount of money on an item you don’t need or want is more than avoiding it all together. Recognize that simply being on sale is not a reason to purchase something.
You have a perfectly functional lamp but you see another one you like and decide to buy it as a back up. Sound familiar? Anticipating future needs too generously can end up filling garages and extra rooms very quickly. I see this happen a lot with linens or kitchen items as well. If the item is necessary and broken, by all means replace it. But, if you just think next year or a few years from now it will need to be swapped out, hold off on that purchase. Circumstances change and you may not need that item so far in the future.
Change Your Buying Habits
It always seems to shock people when I tell them they have to change how they bring items into their lives. People seem to think of minimalism as a single event. The act of purging is not minimalism.
Getting clear on what value minimalism will bring into your life definitely helps the change feel worth it. But, to be really clear, you will need to behave differently in the future in order to prevent the cycle from repeating.
Be sure to join my March Minimalism Challenge to kickstart your journey. You’ll get 30 days of guidance towards your new minimalist life.