Simplify Your Life: What Not To Buy

Simplify Your Life What Not To Buy

So far in this series, we’ve found ways to:

Today, let’s consider how to simplify your stuff – at least new stuff that comes into your life – by streamlining the things you buy.

Simplify Your Stuff: What Not To Buy

Having a ‘What Not To Buy’ list is a great way to save:

  1. Time – you avoid the time it takes to look, evaluate, buy, store, and eventually throw out these items
  2. Money – you have more to save, give, or spend on something you use and love
  3. Physical and mental clutter – stuff you don’t need or love just takes up precious space, makes it harder to organize and find things, and causes stress.

So let’s simplify life by creating a don’t-buy list.

My ‘What Not To Buy’ List

To get you thinking about your list, here are some of the things on mine:

  • Books I can borrow from the library – unless I think I’ll want to keep, share, or highlight them
  • DVDs I can borrow from the video store or library – it saves money and clutter
  • Plants – they look so beautiful and tempting, but I’m a botanical serial killer and have learned better by now
  • Notebooks – I love buying them and already have too many
  • Pens – Various styles beguile me, but after much pen promiscuity I know my favorites and try to stay faithful
  • Anything on sale that I wouldn’t buy at full price – it’s amazing how much clutter you can avoid with this on your don’t-buy list
  • Anything that qualifies for a free gift if I wouldn’t buy it otherwise – often both the item and the gift end up as clutter
  • Organizing paraphernalia  like boxes, canisters, etc – they often mask clutter
  • Clothes that won’t work with what’s already in my closet – these purchases invariably still have the tags on them months later
  • Greeting cards to go with gifts –  I save the time I’d spend browsing for the right card, and have more money to spend on the gift (I Sharpie a message on the gift wrap)
  • Ornaments or tchotchkes – I like visual clarity.

Your ‘What Not To Buy’ List

Okay, so what about you? Consider:

  • Items of which you already have doubles or triples – eg sunglasses, phones, oil burners
  • Things you only need short-term and can borrow from friends or libraries – eg books, DVDs, high chairs
  • Sale or special-offer purchases that you don’t really want or need
  • Clothes that are on your What Not To Wear list
  • Things you’ve bought in the past and regretted buying
  • Things you think you should have, but don’t really want – eg fancy cooking appliances, a flat-screen TV, décor items.

With a don’t-buy list, you’ll be less tempted to purchase stuff that will end up as clutter. You’ll save time and money too, which is pretty cool.

Making blanket decisions in advance with a ‘What Not To Buy’ list can really feel liberating – and it will simplify your life.

[Image by Thristian]

15 thoughts on “Simplify Your Life: What Not To Buy

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  4. Camden says:

    I definitely have a problem with the sale items, and the get a free gift items – they always seem to sucker me in! That’s a great tip to think about whether I would pay full price for these items – I’ll keep that in mind while I’m shopping.

    I also have to be careful not to buy something just because I have a coupon.

  5. Michele Connolly says:

    @Nonnahs Driskill:
    ‘Leave the store and go back if you can’t stop thinking about it’ – great advice!

    Ask them to hold it for you for 24 hours. As you say, if you can’t stop thinking about it, you can go back for it. If not – you’ve saved time, money and closet clutter!

    M 🙂

  6. Nonnahs Driskill says:

    Do you need it?
    Do you love it?

    Make a list before you leave the house. Make sure you don’t have it already. These are the only things you need to buy. It’s harsh, but it’s true.

    If you see something fabulous while you are out and you really want it, put it on a list. Leave the store and go back if you can’t stop thinking about it.

    Better yet, ask Santa. It is the holiday season after all.

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