In the mail today we received our monthly donation bag from one of the local thrift shops. Before I became a minimalist, I used to let these bags pile up! Now, even after almost three years of being a minimalist, I don’t have enough bags. We’re always downsizing and finding new stuff that we can do without. Nowadays it’s mostly clothes that are donated, or a random piece of home decor that is no longer wanted.
Looking back, if anyone would have told me that one day I would be living peacefully without a microwave, I would have told them they were crazy. But a microwave isn’t the only common item that I no longer utilize. Here is a list of 6 common things that have left our lives since minimalism entered.
1. Dresser/Chest of Drawers
OK so this is really like two items but I’m lumping them together as one. Since we’ve downsized our clothing so much, we’ve realized that all of our clothes can fit in the closet. Yes, even underwear. Most items are on hangers but for things such as intimates, socks, and shorts we use a closet organizer. The organizer is made from cloth so it conveniently folds up if needed.
Being able to get rid of two huge pieces of furniture in the bedroom has really opened the place up. It feels brighter during the day and more peaceful during the night. Aspiring to live the life of a digital nomad, these are two less things we’d have to worry about getting rid of or moving!
As mentioned before, we have no microwave. The one we had was given to me by my oldest brother when I moved out years ago. He had received it from our late grandparents when he moved out, years before that. It didn’t look that old and it works great. So why did we get rid of it?
Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of the microwave. Food cooked within it never tasted that great to me and on the rare occasion that we reheated leftovers, we always did so over the stove or in the oven. As it turns out, the microwave in my office at work was on the fritz! It would sometimes “cook” when the door was open… So I donated it to my office since it was still in good working condition. Now, ten other people can utilize it.
I recently found out that I was lactose intolerant. I was mortified. Things like cheese, cow milk, sour cream, butter, and so much more were suddenly off my list. I soon discovered that even the smallest amount of dairy could set my stomach off. It seemed to happen almost overnight. Luckily, there are many alternatives to most dairy foods. However, I noticed within a week of ditching dairy that I lost 2 inches from my waist. Now, I’m already pretty tiny but my intestines must’ve been inflamed.
Some people at work gave me grief over it because I never officially went to a doctor but it doesn’t take a PhD to discover that when I eat dairy I have stomach pains and indigestion. Dropping the dairy also caused my lifelong battle with acne to clear up. Who knew? I sure didn’t! Occasionally I do deal with the pain and have pizza or lasagna. In the early days of experimentation, I learned to gauge just how much I could eat before pimples showed up the next day. Oh and most vitamin D in milk is added in later along with loads of sugar! Ugh! Ditch it!
4. Memberships and Emails
Minimalism isn’t only about clearing the physical clutter from your space, it’s also about clearing the digital and mental clutter. Personally, my email inbox is overflowing with all sorts of promotional offers, advertisements telling me what to spend my money on, notifications, etc. All of these things I signed up for at one time or another. I’ve been slowly going through and “unsubscribing” from mailing lists and canceling memberships to things that I don’t use.
One of the most recent ones was SiriusXM radio. Many memberships will require you to call and talk to a person to cancel. That person will probably argue with you, try to convince you to stay by offering you a better deal, etc. Stick to your guns. If you don’t use it – ditch it!
5. Sets of Drinking Glasses
Do we still have drinking glasses? Yes! Of course. However, we don’t have any that belong to a set. Most of our glasses consist of the ones they let you keep from wineries and breweries. Or sometimes when you go out to dinner, your cocktail comes in a special glass which the restaurant allows you to keep. No need to buy a set of 16 drinking glasses for 2 people. Instead, use the ones you got from a date night.
6. A Radio
Are radios still considered common items? I mean besides the one in your car? We no longer have any kind of stereo system in our home. Instead, we have a BOSE wireless speaker that connects to our smartphones if we want to listen to something loudly.
It may seem a bit strange to have links to products in a post about minimalism but keep in mind – many minimalists still spend money. We just don’t spend compulsively. We still consume just not to the level that advertising would like us to. Every purchase is thought out – Do I really need this? Where will I put this? What will I use this for? Many of us are also willing to spend extra money on something of quality and made to last as opposed to something cheap that will break. But that’s a topic for another post at another time!
PS- The televisions might be next!
Thank you for reading and if you have any common items that you live without, please share them in the comments below!
Regina Bethory is a fiction author. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor’s in Directing and Play Writing and from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School as a Test Electrician. She also has a degree in Funeral Services. As an avid minimalist and traveler, she enjoys spending her time learning new things, seeking new experiences and de-cluttering. When she is not writing, she can often be found in comic book stores and early morning matinees.