Use it Up For Minimalist Living

Minimalism teaches us to only acquire the things we will actually use. But what about the excess we already own?

The things we toss will eventually end up in a landfill. If one of our goals is to reduce our ecological footprint, then we are defeating the purpose by adding more trash to the problem we are trying to solve. Plus, the things we choose to keep will eventually wear out, forcing us to replace them.

Why spend money replacing items when they wear out if we already own an excess?

It’s stupid, folks. It’s stupid to throw things away that you know you will use up in time just to follow the advice of an influencer.

Because you know what? Keeping those items and using them up costs you very little, if anything. Tossing that excess and buying more costs you a fortune over time.

Remember: it’s not what you spend, it’s what you keep that counts.

For instance, right now I own 10 pairs of jeans. I don’t need 10 pairs of jeans. I only use three pairs a week at the most. If I followed the advice of minimalist influencers, I would toss or donate seven pairs of those jeans.

But here’s the thing. Most of them were given to me as handmedowns. They cost me nothing to acquire and nothing to store, since I have plenty of room in my closet. Since jeans don’t last forever, they will wear out in time, so it would be stupid for me to toss that excess.

I will wring every last drop of wear out of them instead.

I will wear them on weekends. When my current batch of work pants develop too many holes for my job, I will replace them with the worst of those ten pairs of jeans. Then, when I run out of jeans that I can wear on the weekends, I will head to the thrift shop or a discount store and replenish the three pairs of jeans that I need.

I do the same thing with my shirts and other items. I wear them until they cannot be worn any longer and throw them away. I’ll buy more when I get low.

When my old washer decided to develop a glitch, I replaced it. I didn’t throw the old one away. It still works a bit. The timer is just dead, so I fixed it so that it runs nonstop while it’s plugged in and I use it for my nasty items. I’ll toss it when it completely dies.

This is how you not only survive poverty, this is how you build wealth for the future. You don’t just toss something because you have an excess. You use it up.

If you are tired of being broke, stop tossing perfectly good stuff away and replacing it with new! Because it doesn’t matter if the color is last season or it’s not part of a trend. What matters is that the item does the job.

So ignore the corporate shills telling you to buy their new stuff and throw your old stuff away and the minimalists who agree with them.

Their goal isn’t to help you. Their goal is to line their own pockets with your cash.

For more quick money saving tips, check out my book 400 Ways to Save A Fortune. Your wallet will thank you.

6 thoughts on “Use it Up For Minimalist Living”

  1. I feel that that this new shiny type of minimalists are usually people with money. People who, if they only keep 4 T-shirts, or pants (or whatever) can go out right away and replace them with no worries about cost when one wears out or gets stained. I like to have 3 sets of sheets, I like to have several pairs of jeans and I have lots of T-shirts. Like you, they were either hand me downs or bought super cheap at thrift shops. I keep what I like/what serves me. If an item doesn’t serve me now, then it never will. For example I just gifted a set of drinking glasses. They were free to me, but I didn’t really need them, and they were too heavy so I passed them on. I have enough already anyway.

    I am tired of these overly tidy homes that people show on the videos and in pictures/articles where everything is perfect and all the baskets match exactly and it all looks like it belongs in Better Homes. That is not my life. I”m a single mom, working to do the best I can, to pay my mortgage, pay down debt that I had to accrue for house repairs and car repairs and I don’t want to waste money. My house doesn’t look perfect. My couch is comfortable but has holes in it so we keep it covered with a couch cover, my furniture doesn’t all “match” most of it was free/cheap. I’m OK with that.

    I’m not buying into this new form of minimalism either.

    1. I feel you! I keep a sheet on my couch instead of a couch cover after I discovered that they are cheaper in my area and last just as long. I don’t even care if it matches; I grab fitted sheets from the thrift shop and toss them when they die.

  2. YES! I have been saying for years that the best way to declutter is through everyday wear and tear, as the fact that you have too much good stuff is because the rate of new things coming into your life is faster than what you have is wearing out. Thus getting rid of good stuff because you have too much only to need to later rebuy it when what you have wears out wastes both money and resources.

    I agree with how corporations have in a way hijacked minimalism for their profit and the best example was the talk of viewing location-independent single-bag minimalism being viewed as an ideal a number of years ago. I remember at the time thinking it was crazy and a more accurate name for this insane ultra minimalism would be calling it how to be homeless with style guide for the rich.

    1. While extreme minimalism is useful for those who travel and move a lot, for most of us it really isn’t practical. I must confess that it does make moving a breeze, though.

      I’ve tried it both ways and the “official” way simply isn’t practical or good for the environment.

  3. Oh I do the same! I can’t stand to get rid of clothing before it’s trash. I only wish we had a fiber recycle program here and that fiber insulation for building was a HUGE thing in this country instead of an isolated niche thing.

    I have enough t-shirts (at least half free) for decades. I buy only 2pr jeans at a time and they generally last me 2 years. I always check thrift stores first but haven’t found jeans now for about 6years. I don’t go often and my size either doesn’t hit or is highly popular?

    I belong to our local Facebook Buy-Nothing group. When someone posts a need and I have that item, I consider how much it gets used and/or do I have something else to do a similar function. I’ve gifted away many items in the last year and have not missed them!

    If your readers haven’t, I encourage everyone to do a Buy-Nothing year. Unless it is critical do not buy.

    It certainly helps that I was not born with the “shopping gene”. And I learned mindfulness in the 90s when I read “Your Money or Your Life”. It fully changed my life for the good. The basic tenets apply very much in 2022 even if the investment ideas are outdated.

    Happy Tuesday everyone 🙂

    1. My minimalist years really changed my outlook on owning things. Unfortunately, I went a bit too far and had a bit of a bounce backwards. It’s not too bad here (I flat out refuse to pay for a storage building so that put a cap on my acquisitions), but I’m starting to see that societal programming is ridiculous. Why own what you’ll not use just in case company comes?

      As for tee shirts, I usually recycle them into rags around the house. I’ve heard that some places like goodwill bundle up the worst tee shirts and recycle them but I’ve not done any research on the subject.

      I believe that a “buy nothing” year is a bit extreme for our current society. Maybe a “buy nothing” month challenge?

      The sad part is how normal “retail therapy” has become in our society. My own family urges me to buy new clothes and such EVERY single week as a “treat.” I don’t NEED that many clothes! I have uniforms to wear during the week, so I only need a few outfits to get me through the weekend. It boggles me how normal and acceptable it is to buy clothes when you already possess a ton you don’t wear.

      I shake my head at some of this, while other parts sneak up and bite me on the butt when my back is turned.

      With the economic downturn that’s coming, maybe people will start to pay attention? Because if people saved a bit instead of buying uselessness crap all of the time, they would be better able to weather times like these.

      What do you think?

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