Simple living requires us to be more intentional about what we buy and bring into our home. What we choose to consume is a personal decision dependent on many different factors, so I’m not suggesting you stop buying the things on our list. Contemplating what we routinely purchase can lead to saving money, reducing clutter, caring for the environment and being more mindful.
Here are ten things we no longer buy for our home. I’d love to know what you’ve decided to no longer purchase.
- Flowering Annuals – Mike and I got tired of spending time and money on planting annuals every spring. Last year we decided to stop buying flowers that only last a season and landscape our yard with perennials that return year after year. Now our yard magically blooms with a wide variety of flowers, grasses and shrubs through all the seasons.
- Most Cleaning Products – I used to buy dozens of different products to clean windows, mirrors, furniture, toilets, tile floors, wood floors, showers and sinks. These days my house gets just as clean with one concentrated cleaning product, water and a little elbow grease.
- Plug-in Fragrances – I’m a sucker for good smells, but I no longer buy those plastic plug-in things with silly names like Cashmere Woods and Hawaiian Breeze. The artificial scents tend to be overpowering for few days and then disappear. Now I just make sure my house is fresh and clean and rely on a clean-burning candle for subtle fragrance. (I don’t see myself scratching good candles off my list any time soon.)
- Seasonal Decor – I enjoy celebrating the holidays, but I’m done decorating our home with pumpkins, turkeys, hearts, leprechauns, bunnies and Uncle Sam. Passing up these seasonal knick-knacks saves money, reduces clutter and makes our house feel less like a kitschy gift shop and more like our own home.
- Wall Decor – This one is pretty extreme, but we stopped buying things to hang on our walls. We find bare walls enhance the view of nature through our picture windows. This blank space helps create the serene ambiance we enjoy in our home. (I’ll be writing more about negative space in an upcoming column.)
- Decorative Window Treatments – We prefer to leave our windows as unadorned as possible. Where needed for privacy, we have simple curtains that are opened first thing every morning. We even removed those square grids (called muntins) and screens from our windows making them look larger, more modern and so much easier to clean.
- Photo Frames – A couple of years ago we got a quality 8 X 10 digital picture frame and got rid of all the small picture frames placed around our house. The digital frame sits in our living room and constantly rotates through hundreds of photos that can easily be added through an app on our phones. I can even take pictures of old photos and pop them into the mix. Our digital frame has become one of our favorite possessions.
- Kitchen Gadgets – Mike and I are simple people who eat simple food. Somehow we’ve made it to 61 without needing an avocado slicer, an egg separator, a corn peeler, a pineapple corer, a crumb sweeper, a waffle-maker or an air fryer. We are pretty sure we can make do with the simple basics our kitchen has always had.
- Indoor Plants – One summer in my youth, I sublet an apartment where I was working and going to school. I lined my extensive collection of 70s record albums on the floor under the stereo system, never once having time to listen to them. For three months, my roommate overwatered a corner plant soaking the hideous brown shag carpet and destroying all of my precious albums. Ever since, I’ve been skeptical of indoor plants.
- Fresh Flowers – I love fresh flowers and used to purchase bouquets for our home a couple of times a month. Unfortunately, my cat loves flowers, too. He loves to eat them, play with them, hide them and knock them over. I’m happy to trade fresh flowers for free snuggles and purrs that really make our house feel like a home. §