Episode #8: Things to Buy Less of

Welcome to another episode of Sustainable Existing. In last week’s episode, I talked about greenwashing and how companies may portray things as sustainable when in reality its a marketing scheme to get you to buy their products. In reality, these products are ultimately unsustainable and the companies are lying. Staying on the theme of buying and purchasing items, I wanted to make today's episodes on things you can stop buying to live a more intentional life.

Somewhat separate from sustainability is minimalism. Some of you may have heard of it, some of you may not, but the main idea of living a minimalistic lifestyle is about living with less. This includes less financial burdens such as unnecessary expenses. Having this mindset you tend to live your life based on experience rather than worldly possessions. It’s all about decluttering your life, and to only have things that have a purpose.

Having a minimalist mindset is beneficial when going to lead a sustainable lifestyle because only having purposeful things in your life will limit the number of things you are buying, therefore limiting the items that need to be produced. In this episode, I want to give a list of things you can stop buying that you may not even think about, to help lead you to a more minimalist and sustainable lifestyle. If you have listened to my podcast thus far, you know every two weeks I will update everyone on my sustainable journey. Since I’ve just been at home all of this time, there is not much to update on, so I wanted to incorporate it into this week’s episode and give my insight on the things I will share today.

A lot of these items might be something you might need to eventually buy, but they are probably already things you own in your house. Obviously if these items are some that you are passionate about, don’t upset yourself by not buying it. These are just ideas for anyone trying to cut down on the things they purchase. I already do some of these myself and wanted to share my first-hand experience. A lot of these fit in with how I want to take these next few steps to be sustainable, so I thought I would share them. These are tips to making the most of what you already have and things you may be able to stop buying or create an increase of period in between purchases.

The first thing is stationary items. Everywhere you seem to go you end up getting a free pencil or pen. Instead of buying new pens each year for school, try to use up the pens and pencils you already have and carry over these supplies from year to year. It is very easy for small things like these to clutter our desks and just getting new sets adds to this mess. Another stationary item that half the time is unnecessary to purchase is notebooks. From the ages of 8 to 12, I was always gifted notebooks for whatever reason so I have a million cute notebooks with no purpose as of now, so I will probably never again have to buy notebooks in my life. For school notebooks, I usually get looseleaf paper since most teachers collect work, but I double-side all of my notes and homework and use up as much of the paper as possible. Any notebooks for school usually have only the first few pages written in them. I’ll usually tear out and recycle the first few pages and either reuse the notebook for myself or possibly give it to my sister if she needs it. For instance, I had gotten a five subject notebook for a class, but didn’t end up needing it. I ended up using it for keeping records as a class officer in freshman year, as my notebook for drivers ed class and now for all things Sustainable Existing.

The second category of items is jewelry and accessories. For jewelry, almost all of the jewelry pieces I own have been gifted to me. I have a jewelry box to organize it all, but I don’t need more than what I already have. Most people have the staple pieces that they wear daily and the same goes for me. I have two or three necklaces I rotate with five or six rings, as well as a set of jewelry for nicer occasions. As long as you have a decent range of jewelry pieces, to me, its not worth buying more just to spend that extra money and have the extra clutter. For accessories, I have also been gifted with most of my accessories. Having the average winter hat, gloves, and scarf, and maybe a few belts are the most purposeful accessories, but again beyond having that basic range of accessories to me is unnecessary. In my opinion most accessories pieces are trendy and will go out of style in months, so it is not worth it for me to buy.

The third type of item is the hair styling products. I have pin-straight hair and a lot of it. For me to use hair styling products effectively is to completely cover my head in it, which I’m not a huge fan of. The only occasion I would use hair styling products like hairspray, mousse, or gel is maybe for a dance at school if I curl my hair, but in that case I just use the hairspray my mom has. Beyond the shampoo and conditioner I use to wash my hair every other day, or every few days and the leave-in conditioner I will use once or twice a week, I don’t use or buy these hair styling products. To me, it makes me feel like my hair is cleaner in a sense not using them, but again this is my opinion and I don’t want to make anyone feel bad.

Staying in the beauty realm, another range of products to try to stop buying is excessive makeup. Personally the only occasion where I wear more makeup is fancy family events like baptisms and weddings, and also school dances. I’m not trying to shame anyone that wears makeup, but I’m not good at it at all, and living 45 minutes from school, I rarely even put mascara on in the mornings. Pretty much all of my makeup products have been gifts or things my mom will get in a set and not want. To me, buying excessive makeup is something I’ve never done or will probably never do.

Only recently have I acknowledged this, but I want to stop unnecessarily having duplicates of an item. The only item that I find necessary for me to have duplicates of is leggings because I have them for work and in the winter to wear under my skirt for school. Other than this, I want to stop buying or having so many similar items that take up so much room in my closet and my drawers. I am a sucker for having a range of items that I am comfortable with and finding something similar and immediately buying it. I think its something I will wear when in reality it’s something that will always be second best to the favorite item. Only owning and purchasing things that I will use will be very beneficial to declutter my life. Shopping with the mindset of does this have a place in my home and will I use it, is something I need to practice.

This is also something I want to start doing, but I need to stop purchasing unnecessary knick-knacks. I used to have an obsession with collecting trinkets and other things, that now just clutter my room. From snowglobes to little figurines, they flood my room. This also goes for souvenirs. The only things I will tend to purchase on vacations are shirts and sweatshirts and only if they fit my style and I know I will wear them afterward.

This is all I have for today's episode. I would love to hear any of the things you are going to stop buying. To contact me, follow my Instagram @sustainableexisting and you can find my twitter account just by searching Sustainable Existing. You can find the podcast on my website as well as on Spotify. Thank you all for listening. Have a great week and remember to keep existing sustainably.

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