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After you’ve on this sustainability kick for a while, you’ll find that there are things that just don’t fit into your life anymore. My tolerance for purchasing items that cost too much for the little purpose they serve is pretty low. So, here’s my current list of “15 Things I Refuse to Buy Anymore”, although my real life list is much longer.
1. The Latest Technology
I have a shallow relationship with techy things..
Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy my laptop and cell phone. I enjoy learning new things about programming and coding, it keeps my mind sharp as well as relevant with my teenagers.
However, you will never find me in line (all night) at the Apple store, or any other store for that matter, to buy a new phone (or anything else technical).
First of all, I do not like to pay full price….for anything. New phones are always full-price. Let someone else pay it. This is another thing I refuse to buy.
Second, I have yet to be “wowed” by the new features of any new phone. Further, the new features serve very little purpose for my every day life, that it unless I want to have my face in the phone all day.
Third, there are always bugs with new technology, and it takes time to work them out. I don’t want to spend time dealing with all of that. I would much rather wait for the price to come down and for all the bugs to be worked out before I buy a new (to me) phone.
Fourth, and probably most important, I just don’t care. I’m not looking to impress anyone, I just want a phone that can take a picture, call and text. Internet is nice, but I can seriously wait until I get home. I figure I’m 5 generations behind with my current cell phone, but it works fine. I take care of my phone, clear out needless files and photos and always keep it in it’s case. It’s amazingly fast for it’s age.
2. Cheap Tools
Life in the country has definitely taught me a few lessons about cheap tools. Cheap tools are another item I refuse to buy.
You know the ones. They seem good enough to get the job done. But for a few more dollars, you could get the more industrial grade tool that would last many years to come.
I don’t know about you, but when I have a broken, irreparable tool, I feel responsible to re-purpose it somehow. Throwing it away feels wrong, so I drive myself crazy trying to figure out a way to use it. Time, money and brain cells wasted.
Go ahead and spend the money on good quality tools and build a strong collection that will serve you when you need them!
Deodorant and antiperspirant contain some of the most toxic ingredients out there!
Why buy when it’s so simple and easy to make your own DIY natural deodorant that really works??
4. Cleaning Products
Once again, commercial cleaning products contain many toxins that are endocrine disputers. Why expose yourself and your family to these toxins when it’s so simple to make safe cleaning products at home?!
In a spray bottle combine:
1 tsp. dish soap
12-15 drops of essential oils like tea tree, lavender or lemon.
I use this cleaner for general cleaning of counters, kitchen appliance handles and stair rails, but I also use it for sinks and for the toilet seat and around the toilet.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
In a shaker bottle like an empty parmesan cheese container, put:
15-20 drops of essential oils like tea tree or lavender
Sprinkle in your toilet bowl and use toilet brush to clean.
5. Conventional Toilet Paper
Ok, I’ve got to be honest here.
However, I don’t feel right imposing my views on others who visit our home, so I DO buy disposable toilet paper for that reason. When buying toilet paper, I try to make an environmentally sound decision.
Here’s the damage that toilet paper does to the earth:
- 78.2 million trees
- 1.35 million tons of air pollution
- 32 trillion gallons of water
- 2.1 trillion gallons of oil
- 18.75 trillion Kilowatt hours of energy
6. Air Fresheners
Growing up, we always had air fresheners. That was a time when we didn’t really understand that many artificial fragrances are hormone disrupters!
I’m of the thinking that when things are clean, they don’t smell. If something smells, clean it.
With the internet, print newspapers have become virtually obsolete. By the time you read one, the news is old.
As far as magazines go, they are so expensive these days! Some of them cost what a normal book used to cost! Further, studies show that people who read magazines spend far more due to the advertising!
8. Jams and Jellies
Once I learned how to make jelly and jam, I was shocked at how simple it was! Why would anyone pay for chemical-laced, sugar-filled, store-bought jam if they could make their own? Another thing I refuse to buy!
I make a ton of jam every summer, far more than my family needs. Why?
There’s a good reason for this. It allows me to put my fruit into a preserved and packaged form, that I can trade with or sell, if I choose. There are many times during the year when I can barter for things I need or want with my jams (and my honey!). I can use it for gifts or I can sell it.
9. Christmas Cards
You may not be familiar with the history of Christmas cards, but they were created to be an alternative to gift-giving during the Great Depression.
Today, they are clearly used as a compliment to gift-giving. However, I find them to be pretty obsolete..and expensive! Don’t forget that Christmas cards require postage!
I long for a simple Christmas and holiday season.
10. Bottled Water
Oh my goodness, this one makes me crazy. Americans purchase about 50 billion water bottles per year (source) averaging about 13 bottles per month, for every person in the US! This means that by using a refillable water bottle, you could save 156 bottles a year!
It’s not difficult to carry a personal water bottle or two and fill them up as needed. I carry one for hot drinks and another for just water. Recently, on a trip to see my daughter, I noticed that the airports I went through had water bottle filling stations! People are catching on!
11. Paper Napkins
Paper napkins are just another single-use item that do not belong in a sustainable home!
I get it, they’re a habit. I grew up with them, but switching to cloth napkins is just so easy! Buy some or make some, but get some! I would suggest 2 per family member to start, just throw them in with your regular wash and then place them back in a little basket on your dining room table!
12. New Books
People who know me well would tell you that whenever I am not working around the farm, I have a book on my lap and a cup of coffee in my hand.
I love to read, and have multiple books going at the same time (this drives my husband crazy!) Over the years, I have built a library of books about health and healing, homesteading, raising children, gardening, etc. that I reference often.
However, I rarely buy new books. Actually, I try very hard not to buy books that I don’t see a long-term use for. Books have to earn a spot on my shelf!
Everything on the planet (pretty much) is available through inter-library loan these days, or on-line. Once I’ve looked through and read a book, I can decide if I want to own it or not.
When I speak of “cheap fashion“, I’m not only talking about the price, but the quality as well. I wrote here about the “fast fashion” industry and how it not only taxes the environment, but has human-rights violations tied to it.
On a more personal note, I am not interested in making a fashion statement. That said, I do want to look nice and presentable when I’m out. I also want to look nice for my husband. For me, buying good quality, used clothing works best in terms of longevity and style.
Classic pieces never go out of style. I love to hit the area thrift stores and find better quality brands for next to nothing! However, be careful about buying things just because they’re a “good deal”. Do you really need that piece of clothing? Should you even be shopping??
Learning to shop only when there is a need is key. If you don’t need anything, avoid shopping as a means of entertainment or because you’re bored.
14. Frozen Fruit
Have you looked at the prices of bagged frozen fruit lately? Oh my goodness! One more thing I refuse to buy!
We are big smoothie-junkies in this home, and use a good amount of frozen fruit. This is one reason that I pick and forage fruit like a crazy woman all summer long.
I have multiple patches of red raspberries, black raspberries, strawberries and blackberries on our property, that have taken me years to develop. All of this fruit is used for jams and jellies, frozen for smoothies and pies, eaten raw and what isn’t fresh enough to preserve properly will go to the chickens.
I cannot recommend strongly enough to any homesteader that you need to grow your own fruit! Orchards of trees are wonderful too, and I have those, but trees take years to bear fruit. Cane fruit will give you fruit the next year!
You can also take advantage of loss-leader fruit during the summer! Grocery stores and farmer’s markets often have great deals on fruit that you can bring home and freeze! Check out how I scored a boatload of cantaloupe last summer and put it all in the freezer!
15. Fabric Softener
The fabric softener market has suffered greatly in recent years, as millennials aren’t interested in the chemical-laced product. Frankly, neither am I, it’s another thing that I refuse to buy.
You can add vinegar to your rinse water to soften your clothes (I do this for towels that I plan to hang on the line) or use a wool dryer balls instead.
16. Multi-Level Marketing Products
I’m going to step on some toes here, so I’ll apologize in advance.
I will not buy from multi-level sales people, even if they are my friends. For me, MLM puts a strain on the relationship as well as my billfold.
I want to be friends with my friends, period. All of my friends know this about me and respect it.
Now, that said, if I truly like a product and feel as though I need it in my life, I’ll sign up myself with the company, tell no one and get the wholesale price.
17. New Appliances
New appliances are another one of those things I refuse to buy.
Good used appliances are so easy to come by! There are plenty of consumer-minded folks out there who replace appliances needlessly, creating a nice inventory of good appliances to be had for cheap!
I rarely pay more than $100 for a used appliance. Used appliances are all over Facebook marketplace and Craigslist!
18. Kitchen Gadgets and Appliances
There isn’t a kitchen in the world big enough to hold all of what the market offers for our kitchens! And unless you are a professional cook, none of us needs all of what is currently on the market.
I am a true minimalist in my kitchen. I use every single thing I have! Every pan, pot, bowl, casserole dish and appliance gets used most every week. This is because I cook from scratch as much as possible, plus can and dehydrate food regularly.
I own two kitchen counter appliances, a toaster oven and a blender, and they are used frequently.
Everything in my gadget drawer gets used frequently as well!
What would YOU add to the list? What do YOU refuse to buy?