Things We Stopped Buying On Our Journey Towards A Simpler Life

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These Are Some Of The Things We Stopped Buying – And We Don’t Miss Them!

Are you looking for things that you could stop buying? You are not alone. There are loads of reasons that people stop buying things. Often, it’s for financial reasons to save money. Other times, it’s for those heading towards minimalism and/or creating less waste. For us, it was a mix of all of these to simplifying our life.

Admittedly, all of those reasons are inevitably somewhat intertwined but doing one doesn’t mean you tick the other boxes, too. Ultimately, you need to do what’s right for you. For us, we’re on a journey to live a more simple life – so there are things we stopped buying because we deemed them unnecessary.

So what did we stop buying and how has it affected our daily life? Below is a list of some of the things we no longer spend our money on. This is because we have either changed the way we do something, found a sustainable/less complicated alternative, make it ourselves, or have outgrown something.

If you’re just at the beginning of your journey – or even just thinking about starting – hopefully you can get some inspiration from this article. Stopping to buy things you usually buy is certainly a process and the change can be very gradual (that’s what we want to demonstrate as well) but starting is a very important step towards making changes at all!

Non-Versatile Clothing

white bin of folded clothing on wooden surface things we stopped buying
Lisa’s clothes are often just one color and relatively functional/versatile.

To be honest, we were both never very big on buying trendy articles of clothing that we would wear for one season and then they’d sit at the back of the closet. However, we have certainly bought clothing items before that were not very versatile. Either it was a specific color or pattern that wouldn’t go with many different pieces or it was a fancy coat/dress/pants that was not practical at all for everyday life.

Over the last few years, the way we shop for clothing has changed noticeably. And ever since we are actively trying to move towards a simpler lifestyle, we have become more and more aware of what is important to us when it comes to clothing pieces. We also didn’t buy any new clothes for a year which was certainly an eye-opener.

Now we only go shopping when we know that we need a specific item. And we actively look for pieces that are either very versatile or never really go out of style (such as a little black dress etc.). This allows us to keep our wardrobe small – and we spend less money on clothing items that we don’t get enough wear out of. Over time we have (kind of accidentally) developed something like a capsule wardrobe – and we’ll talk about that in more detail in a future article.

Fancy Hair Care Products

In the past, I (Lisa) used to buy a lot of hair care products because I was never really happy with the way my hair looked. Unsurprisingly, most of these prodcuts didn’t help all that much – and over time the bottles accumulated in my bathroom.

This behavior really changed after we decided to travel around Europe for a few months. Since we were only traveling with carry-on backpacks, there was not a lot of room for extra stuff. As a result, I only brought one bottle of shampoo – and my hair didn’t really look worse than when I used many different products.

Towards the end of the trip, I actually decided to try the “no poo method” – something that Eric had been doing for quite a few years. At the time of writing, I have been washing my hair without shampoo for about 1.5 years – and to be honest, I’m really happy with it. It has gotten slightly wavy (big surprise!) and is the longest it has ever been.

The point here is: Sometimes less is better! It might take a while until you notice a positive difference after reducing the amount of hair care products you use, but for me, the few weeks of oily hair I had at the beginning were worth it to simplify my hair care routine!

Take-Away Coffee

coffee mugs and pot with flowers on white table things we stopped buying
We use our french press once or twice a day – every day. No joke.

This is a change that we have consciously made on our journey towards a simpler life – both for environmental and financial reasons. In the past, we used to get a takeaway coffee quite frequently when we were out and about in the city running errands, working, etc. We’re not saying that we’re absolutely against it – some people just don’t have time to sit down to have a coffee.

However, for us, we have made the decision to stop getting takeaway coffee. For once, because we don’t want to create the extra waste and we also want to save the money since having coffee out can really add up over time. That’s not to say that we don’t go to coffee shops at all anymore. But when we do, we usually make it a point to sit down and enjoy it without rushing. It makes having a coffee out feel more special than when we used to get takeaway coffee.

Many Single-Use Items

Another change we have made on our journey towards a simpler lifestyle is cutting out a lot of single-use items that we don’t really need. We’re not super strict here because there are some items that are more difficult to swap out, but we have made quite a few changes. Over time, we’ll probably make more. Don’t think you have to go all-in when you start – change can be gradual!

For example, we always use reusable bags when we go grocery shopping. We even have small mesh bags for produce so we don’t have to use any of these plastic bags from the produce section. That’s a change we are really happy with since it allows us to save at least a little bit of plastic. If you’re also trying to do that, have a look at our detailed article on easy ways to reduce your plastic waste at home.

Other single-use items we don’t buy anymore include paper towels (instead we use small kitchen towels and wash them as needed), ziploc bags (we use food containers with a lid) and coffee machine capsules (instead we use a French Press which we love!), among others.


Another thing we have stopped buying on our journey towards a simpler – and less cluttered – life are souvenirs from our travels. Since we travel quite frequently (it’s part of our job), this decision actually makes a noticeable difference in the number of knick-knacks we have at home.

In the past, Eric used to collect a shot glass and a flag from every country he visited. And while these are only small items, after a while the number of glasses can really add up. We are not against buying a souvenir on our travels when the item is very important and meaningful to us – but we have decided to stay away from the typical touristy souvenirs since we just don’t enjoy/value them that much to keep collecting them.

Make-Up Beyond “The Basics”

I (Lisa) was never huge into make-up, but in the past, I was not opposed to buying a new make-up product that I came across in a store – even if I didn’t really need it. Sometimes it was fun to experiment. Over the last few years, this has changed. I still like wearing make-up – but there are also many days where I don’t and that’s fine.

The difference is that I’m now a lot more careful about the products I choose. I don’t like having make-up that I don’t even use. It’s more important to have a few good quality items that I use frequently. At the same time, I’ve gotten more conscious about the ingredients – and I’m trying to choose more natural beauty products.

If you feel like you are in a similar situation and have too many make-up products that you don’t use regularly, try de-cluttering your make-up bag/drawer. Only having the products that you actually like can be a very positive feeling!


In a day and age where almost everything is online and consumable with just a few clicks, one thing we have stopped buying/signing up for is subscriptions. This goes for online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Crave, Amazon Prime, and others like it.

This isn’t to demonize streaming services – but our point is to really think about which one you actually use and watch. We basically only watch Netflix so we only subscribe to that one. If you have others on automatic payment and you only really have them as back-up options when you can’t find anything on – then you are likely wasting quite a bit of money per month!

In short, pair down the subscriptions you don’t need because they are costly and wasteful – especially if you have a mailed product that you don’t utilize. Eric used to get a face cream mailed to the house (for acne) when he was younger but it was too much to even use up so they accumulated and eventually spoiled and got tossed away. Pretty wasteful, looking back.


A big collection item for some people is magazines. Magazines are easy to buy because you see topics on the shelf and impulsively buy something that looks interesting to read. Whether we read the whole thing is another question. That said, we used to buy magazines – not too often but often enough that they accumulated. Eventually, we had to consciously recycle the magazines and could notice the extra paper we probably didn’t need.

Linking to the section above, if you have a subscription, then magazines just get mailed to you and they can really accumulate. We’re not bashing magazines – because their creation is important – but they are only really useful if you also read them. If you don’t read them, follow the guideline above and cancel that subscription!

A good alternative to a magazine is a book. Books can be purchased in the physical copy (which we like but takes up lots of space over time) or often also as an eBook. E-readers make things pretty simple, reduce the physical mess, and still get you the enjoyment and knowledge from the book you’re diving into!


Lastly, some of the things we have stopped buying fall under the broad category of accessories. What qualify as accessories? These would be items like scarves – which I liked a lot, bought frequently, and no longer buy because I have a few I like/use.

Another item for me is cheaper earrings. They seemed great at the time of buying but then they usually turned out to look bad/worn after just a few months and I either threw them out or never used them again. Eric used to buy more shoes than he needed. That was done with good intentions and function in mind – but some shoes still barely got worn.

Now, we have definitely realized that it is far more important for us to have a few items that are high quality and that we use all the time/when we need them. This is in contrast to owning lots of the same item – none of which we absolutely love – that do not get used regularly.

And there you have it – a rundown of some of the things we have stopped buying. This list will grow and change as our journey towards simple living continues. The important part is to constantly be re-evaluating what you need, use, and spend – and see if there are ways you can make changes/shifts that work for you!

As always, Keep It Simple,


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