My feed

to access all these features

Join the discussion and meet other Mumsnetters on our free online chat forum.


Has anyone drastically reduced the amount of stuff you buy?

90 replies

gotmychocolateimgood · 18/07/2019 19:58

Stuff as in, clothes, shoes, books, toys, household items, decorative things?

Why and how? Thinking from an environmental perspective as well as reducing clutter.

OP posts:
clearsommespace · 18/07/2019 20:04

There's lots of inspiration on minimalist web sites, documentaries about "Stuff" and in decluttering books ( from the library or charity shop).

NoSquirrels · 18/07/2019 20:05

How much 'stuff' do you regularly buy?

For us, in those categories:

Clothes & shoes - shoes on an as-needed basis for everyone i.e. when worn out stuff needs replacing for adults, and when outgrown for DC. Clothes - I hardly shop, so pretty infrequent, my DH buys intermittently but maybe more than me, DC lucky enough to get most things handed down from older relatives' children.

Books - we get through a lot of books! But we also do a lot of listening on audio (Audible subscription) and borrow from the library.

Toys - buy very few. Only at birthdays and Christmas. Or the DC buy tat with pocket money from fetes or souvenir shops on outings. Can't remember the last 'toy' I bought just because.

Household items and decorative things - almost never.

We spend a lot on experiences though - memberships to days out places, theatre tickets or other live stuff, cinema trips. And we like eating out. So the money goes in different places!

Flyingquestion · 18/07/2019 20:05

I am trying to (not so you’d really notice as yet Blush) - though books (that I never read) are my downfall.

As I get older, buying stuff just for the sake of it seems more and more meaningless. I can be an addiction though I think.

Flyingquestion · 18/07/2019 20:05

It not I

Ninkaninus · 18/07/2019 20:07

Yes (although it’s still a work in progress).

It’s not easy. There are usually multiple layers to shopping/consumer habits.

Im not sure if I can give any advice, really, but wanting to cut down is half the problem sorted, I think.

clearsommespace · 18/07/2019 20:07

Personally it started with a house move from inexpensive to expensive area so we had less room.
Decluttering is hard work so to avoid having to do it again we try to only replace not accumulate.
And from an environmental perspective we try to buy second hand when we can.

gotmychocolateimgood · 18/07/2019 20:08

I already buy mostly second hand. I have stopped buying shoes and clothes for myself as I have so many.

Experiences are more valuable, yes! We are very much of this mindset.

OP posts:
woodhill · 18/07/2019 20:09

I am trying too but it's still difficult.

gotmychocolateimgood · 18/07/2019 20:09

I have to admit I enjoy acquiring new things. Especially as I have health issues and can't do a lot of things I used to enjoy. But it's not necessary.

OP posts:
woodhill · 18/07/2019 20:09

I agree about experiences. We go to the theatre more

YouJustDoYou · 18/07/2019 20:10

Yes. When we had to go into a very tiny flat almost all our several decades worth of accumilated crap had to go to the charity shops etc. Literally, everything. But it's so much more freeing now. It's harder with the kids though as they get bought sooo much stuff from grandparents, but dh and I don't and haven;t bought knicknacks, decorations etc for about 15 years now, which has helped.

Aqueo517 · 18/07/2019 20:10

Yes. We’ve done it because we’re saving for a big holiday next year so we’ve gone ‘no spend’. We’re saving £100 per week! It’s unbelievable how much we used to buy that we didn’t really need. Everything I pick up now I think ‘do I really need this?’ and 9/10 it gets put back down.

We’re saving on fuel too. Same ‘do I need to travel there? Can I walk? Can I combine the journey to kill 2/3/4 birds with 1 stone?’.

YouJustDoYou · 18/07/2019 20:10

And yes to second hand.

NoSquirrels · 18/07/2019 20:11

But actually, in answer to your question, we haven't "reduced drastically" we just never really consumed much of that "stuff" to begin with - partly through finances, partly through natural inclination, I guess. And even so, there's always more "stuff" to be got rid of - we are constantly thinning out toys and books and outgrown clothes even though as mentioned I cannot remember the last time I bought a toy outside of birthdays and Christmas.

When I do buy "stuff" now I try to be intentional about it e.g. a beautiful reusable coffee cup that I will be happy to carry about, glass Pyrex dishes with lids to replace the crap plastic cheapo food storage boxes, and so on. Throwing things away or trying to recycle them/get rid of them is such a pain in the arse I like to try to make my "stuff" have long lives.

Chottie · 18/07/2019 20:13

I try to follow the maxim 'buy well, buy once'. So we buy/have things that last. I have a set of stainless steel mixing bowls that I've been using for over 40 years. We have a tarpaulin, we use in the garden every summer that my dad bought as army surplus (it's original use was as a hammock) just after the war. These are just a few examples. Things we no longer need, we pass on or recycle or freecycle.

gotmychocolateimgood · 18/07/2019 20:14

That makes sense Nosquirrels.

Decluttering is exhausting and my condition massively limits my energy levels. So I'd rather not keep bringing stuff into the house

I guess I get a buzz from buying stuff though. It looks really lame written down!

OP posts:
clearsommespace · 18/07/2019 20:16

@Aqueo517 Impressive

With DCs I found it helpful to take a picture of stuff which is attractive in the shop. It helps validate their interest in the article.
Then ask them later, close to birthdays, if they remember that item. Most of the time it is just a whim.

miaCara · 18/07/2019 20:19

Ive reduced what buy because there isnt anything to attract me at the moment.
I love buying clothes -supermarket, charity shops, Primark .Im not fussed where and will happily browse rails any time Im in a shop. But invariably I will leave without buying.
I just dont like the colours styles or fabric in a lot of clothes just now. And anything I do like Ive already got similar in my wardrobe .

abitoflight · 18/07/2019 20:22

I've started consciously buying less
It started with a house move - didn't want more stuff to pack
In new house - Got a dog so out shopping less
I got into the 'do I need it' mentality
Then extended to other stuff - so reduce and reuse.
Food waste reduced dramatically over last 3 years. I just make soups or eat odd combinations. Eat leftovers for lunch much more. Keep plastic bags e.g bread bags to reuse etc
With environmental concerns, I said to DH the other day, the only thing I don't feel guilty buying are drinks in pubs and bottles of wine

limesoda · 18/07/2019 20:27

I Marie Kondo-ed a year ago, and it has made me very, very fussy about what I allow back into my home.

I know it won't work for everyone, but it was genuinely life changing for me.

Times10 · 18/07/2019 20:36

We also konmari’d a lot (not everything yet) and that has stopped the worst offenders, but we still have far too much stuff, and the DCs have far too many toys and clothes they keep outgrowing. We rarely go shopping these days and end up not buying a lot of things that I would have previously (I’m looking at you, stationery that I never actually use!)

AndromedaPerseus · 18/07/2019 20:38

We had a massive decluttering when we had a loft extension done and it bought home to me how much stuff we had collected which we had put away and didn’t need. I think having less stuff is freeing mentally and physically. We now have enough furniture, clothes,books, utensils,decorations to be comfortable I follow the William Morris maxim: only have in your home what is useful or beautiful


Don’t want to miss threads like this?


Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

NoSquirrels · 18/07/2019 20:40

I guess I get a buzz from buying stuff though

I think 'window shopping' can be really powerful, though - creating wishlists of 'stuff' e.g. on Amazon, or filling up a basket online but then not actually buying it.

Or when you do buy, researching lots for something you want and making sure it's the best it can be e.g. I got a lot of pleasure out of choosing my reusable coffee cup, and I looked at loads of them to decide.

Or you could divert your consumption urge into 'stuff' that is sustainable/consumable e.g. seeds for the garden, or the best coffee beans, or whatever?

gotmychocolateimgood · 18/07/2019 20:41

My DCs only really play with lego. They haven't had any other toys since Christmas. I need to get them on board with playing with what they already have rather than wanting more lego sets though... They were given pocket money by grandparents recently and I convinced them to save it towards zoo membership. They could understand that the fun days out would be worth more than the toy they'd play with for a few hours.

OP posts:
gotmychocolateimgood · 18/07/2019 20:42

I have bought reusable items and plastic free stuff recently and it was genuinely needed. Pleased with those items but I don't need any more!

OP posts:
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.