Can I get a hallelujah that 2020 is over? It was a rough, but we’ve come out the other side with refreshed goals and far more enthusiasm. One of our goals is to save as much money as we can this year. The next goal is to have a more minimalist lifestyle and be less of a consumer. By inviting more minimalism into our lives, we buy fewer and fewer things. That’s why we’ve created this list of 21 things we won’t buy in 2021.
This is list isn’t meant to shame you if you do buy these items. Everyone’s life is different and I respect that. The items that made it onto this no-buy list are there for any one of these good reasons:
- They don’t align with our lifestyle
- The item takes away from things we already own (as in, what we already owned wasn’t good enough) and we need to be content with what we have
- They hinder our progress towards our goals (saving money, minimalist living)
- The item takes time away from my daily life and things that are more important and should be focused on
This isn’t an end-all-be-all list of things a minimalist shouldn’t buy. Like I’ve said before, our lives are different and the journey into minimalism is deeply personal.
I challenge you to come up with a list of your own. What can you go without this year in order to help you achieve your goals? What purchases are holding you back from living the life you truly want?
21 Things We Won’t Buy in 2021
For this list of 21 things we won’t buy in 2021, there will be a few exceptions to the rule. These are worth noting because it’s rare that I can completely cast out an entire category of consumer goods. Instead, I am very selective in what I do buy. I’ll note the exceptions as needed.
1. Cleaning Supplies
My home is pretty clean and smells relatively good all the time. And I do it without many store bought cleaning chemicals! However, I’ve been buying toilet bowl cleaner for forever and I think it’s finally time that I cut it from my shopping list. Instead, I’ll be making toilet cleaning tabs that you let dissolve and then scrub like normal.
Exceptions: laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and probably a refill of my Shabby Chick all natural (and all purpose) cleaner!
2. Home Decor
You should be proud of me… I didn’t buy a single piece of home décor in 2020! I plan to do the same for 2021. Instead of buying a new piece of décor when I feel our home needs it, I will make it using fabric that I already have.
3. Hobby Items
Surprisingly, hobby items have made the list of 21 things we won’t buy in 2021. This is exclusively just for me – not my husband. My hobbies include sewing and working out. I’ve inherited a full room of sewing notions and fabric, so no need to buy anything for sewing. Plus, I own a spin bike and several weights, kettle bell, and resistance bands. There is no need to buy anything for working out either.
Exceptions: sewing pattern for clothes (see # 4)
My friends, I have a thrifting problem. I love buying clothing secondhand – I truly do! And that’s my problem. I have more than enough clothes (under-things included) to get me through 2021. My closet and dresser are pretty full to my standards and nothing new is needed. My goal is if I do want new clothing and it isn’t an exception listed below, I will make the item myself with my sewing machine, a pattern, and quality fabric.
Exceptions: Replacing a favorite piece when the original wears out (but even then, do I really need it?), replacing clothes due to weight loss.
Freshly washed sheets are one of my favorite things. Fluffy towels are also nice. However, we have just the right amount of both sheets and towels. We try to keep two sets of sheets for our bed, 6 sheets and two mattress protectors for our son, three towels for our son, and four sets of regular towels.
Exceptions: If we upgrade our son to a twin size bed from a toddler bed, we would need new sheets and protectors for that.
Because we have a toddler, we have sturdy (mostly soft) furniture. It’s also because we have a toddler that we won’t be buying new furniture any time soon. The only thing that I need to do to make our furniture perfect is reupholster our ottoman. We purchased it secondhand at an estate sale and it held up well for about a year. Funny thing about super-fake leather is that it peels apart like crazy after a little wear and tear!
7. Excess Body Care Items
Once upon a time, I worked at Bath and Body Works. I hardly got a paycheck because I bought so much product. After a few years of using it up, my skin started suffering. It became dry, itchy, and my acne was terrible. So I switched to more natural products. We buy locally made soap once a year and it lasts us the entire year.
I have also given up specialized moisturizers and fancy lip balms. Not buying extra face washes, scrubs, and shower gels this year will definitely keep our shower clutter free.
Not wearing makeup everyday has made me appreciate how great my skin looks without it. The only time I wear it is if we are seeing people outside of our family… which isn’t a whole lot these days. I still have makeup that is unopened that I plan on using this year so there is no need to buy more.
9. Hair Products
My hair isn’t fancy. I use shampoo and conditioner. To style, I use my flat iron that I love. There is a bottle of dry shampoo still waiting to be used that I’ll break out this year. I’ve found that the more products I use to style it or condition it leave my hair in worse shape than it started. This is one of my favorite realizations of my minimalist journey – the things that I’ve been told most of my adult life that I need to have to look pretty and feel good about myself, just aren’t for me. I’m awesome without the excess product!
10. Kitchen Gadgets
We love cooking in our home. Especially since we don’t go out like we used to. However, kitchen gadgets have made it onto the list of things we won’t buy in 2021. Because if we didn’t need it in 2020, we don’t need it in 2021. We have plenty of fancy things to help us prepare meals.
I bought one book in 2020. After I read it, I gave it away. By using the library more (even if it is just curbside service) I get more satisfaction by not owning many books.
Earlier in 2020, my husband and I decided to keep our Disney+ subscription. Why have another expensive subscription if we already have Amazon Prime? The movies! And because we have this additional streaming service, we won’t buy any movies this year (digital or physical).
13. Board Games
We are huge board game people. So why did board games make it onto the list of things we won’t buy in 2021? Because of this: Kingdom Rush.
The saga of the Kingdom Rush board game started in 2019 when my husband backed it on Kickstarted. A year later (December 2020) we received this colossal game and an expansion for it. You guys. This game is great and the re-playability is amazing. So no new games for us in 2021.
14. Trash Bags
You know that we’re trying to reduce waste around our home. I purchase trash bags in bulk about once a year and it lasts for a full 12 months. My trash bag purchase landed in November so I’m hoping to make them stretch until the end of 2021. We’ll have to get creative, but I’m up for the challenge!
15. Holiday Cards
Sending yuletide cheer to friends and family brings me great joy. BUT we already have so. many. cards. that we don’t need to purchase new for 2021. This includes non-Christmas holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, birthdays, etc. And if we don’t have one, we’ll make it!
Recently, I became a vendor at a local farmer’s market store. It’s a pretty neat concept. I’m very excited to be a part of small business that supports eco-friendly creators. Even with this new found space for me to sell my sewing crafts at, I will not be purchasing anything new for this venture. I am up to my knees in fabric and thread that I won’t need to buy any for a long, long time.
Funky jewelry used to be my go-to when getting dressed in the morning. Now days, I prefer a more minimal style. The majority of my jewelry is simple silver and goes perfectly with anything I own. It took several years to get to the point of owning mostly high quality jewelry, but it is worth having pieces I will wear for years to come. This is the reason that I won’t buy any jewelry in 2021.
18. Baby Gear
Ya’ll. Toddlerhood is wearing me out! I can’t imagine having a newborn baby in 2021. So while we aren’t planning for a baby to born in the next year (maybe sometime in 2022…) we don’t need to purchase any baby gear for a future baby. We have paired down quite significantly and have found what we will truly need for the next little babe.
I love my son so much that I would definitely spoil him more with toys and physical objects if the thought of having to clean it all up didn’t give me anxiety. I’ve been very strategic with Christmas gift shopping for him in 2020. Scoring multiple sets of Little People toys at a garage sale was a big part of this! We not only have Christmas gifts for him, but birthday presents too!
20. Expensive Packaged Food
Trader Joe’s is my kryptonite. All the packaged goodies make me want to buy them all! But I know that packaged food that is already prepared is far more expensive that preparing it myself. And those snack items? Do I really need an indulgent snack or will some raw almonds cure my snacking needs?
Cooking from scratch is becoming more and more important to me as I get older. If I buy packaged food all the time, would I ever learn to make things myself?
21. Travel Size Items and Travel Accessories
I sincerely hope that we are able to travel internationally this year (safely of course). Because I have high hopes, I decluttered our travel bags and toiletries recently. Do you know how many tiny toothpastes I have? Or bottles of carry-on size sunscreen? Maybe lanyards for cruise ship room keys? We don’t need anymore!!! Even if we don’t travel this year, I still would like to use our travel sized products up so that they don’t go to waste before buying new for the next time we travel.
So here we are – the end of the list of things we won’t buy in 2021. Some of these items will be easy for us to forego for a year. Others will be harder. But with the goal to live a more minimal lifestyle, save money, and just be intentional about how we spend our money and time, I believe that we will have great success.
Is there anything you won’t buy this year that you might have in previous years? Do you have goals of being more intentional with money and time? Let me know in the comments!