Minimalism. The true cost of your unwanted things

On your way to minimalism? You can read the previous posts about our journey at the links below:

In this post, I talk about the less obvious costs of the items that occupy your home and constantly need your attention; or, even worse, that you forgot about in your garage and you spend time organizing once in a while.

Minimalism Series. The true cost of your unwanted things.

Five costs that you might not consider when purchasing a new item

1. Money

Yeah, of course, you paid for them. But that’s not what I had in my mind. After deciding what stays and what goes, we’ve put everything in one room. I was going through the items and realized that some of them are in perfect condition and some of them are new. So I installed a sale app on my phone and posted some of my stuff. I did the math, and if I sell everything I posted, I will make 370£. I don’t know if you think that’s a lot, but for me it is. A few weeks of groceries or some utility bills or a full month of cleaning. 370£ that were just sitting there. And that’s only by selling small things; we didn’t even think about the old tablet or XBOX yet.

On a less positive note, it also costs money to get rid of stuff. If you can’t sell, you have to donate or recycle. Delivering things to charity shops or recycling centres requires money (taxi/tube). Sending items through the post for someone else to have them costs money.

2. Space

We filled an entire room with items that we don’t want anymore. So once we get rid of the stuff, we’ll have an empty room, am I right? So we could downsize and pay a smaller rent. I’m not saying that we’re gonna do it, I’m saying that we could. If you live in London you might know that house prices are weird – living in a 1-bed house is not necessarily cheaper than living in a 2-bed house. But it isn’t like that everywhere in the world…

This was delivered during my first charity shop trip. The taxi was full of things.

3. Time

I spent way too much time sorting things when I could have enjoyed my days doing something else. I spent time going through things to decide if I keep them or not. Then I spent time trying to get rid of them – contacting charities, companies that recycle different things, looking for recycling bins that accept electrical appliances, etc. I had a few moments when I wanted to give up, but then I realized that’s the most significant sign that I need to continue. But I don’t want to do this ever again. Did you ever spend weekends or bank holidays organizing? Then maybe you have too many things. Think about it.



4. The environment

During our decluttering phase, I paid more attention to what’s going on around me. When I’m in the supermarket, I look into other people’s trolleys (I know, I know, I shouldn’t) and there’s so much plastic, I rarely see unpackaged vegetables or people who bring their bags. On the streets, there’s litter everywhere and to be honest, that’s partly because the bins are overflowing.

One fact that really shocked me was that baby nappies take around 30 years to decompose. They became popular in the 90s, so every nappy that’s ever been used is still out there. Could we care less about this planet?

Did you know that photo paper is not recyclable? And that you have to find particular locations to recycle CDs and DVDs?

With every single thing that I wanted to dispose of, I struggled between the desire to get rid of it and the desire to throw as less as possible in the bin. We produce too much stuff. We buy too much stuff. And then we throw it away. Click To Tweet

5. Ethics

Whenever you buy something ask yourself how much did the person who made it get paid. If you get two t-shirts for 5£, it couldn’t be too much, could it? But unfortunately the unfair pay doesn’t only happen for cheap products, so it’s our job to research the brand before buying something. On topic, always choose fairtrade bananas, coffee, sugar and chocolate. Although we’re in 2017, slavery still exists.

Let me know your opinions in the comments box. Did I make you rethink your shopping habits?

Liked this post? Then you’ll love my e-book, “The Smart Girl’s Journey to Financial Bliss”, check it out!

Save

16 Comments

  1. A truly wonderful yet sad thought- provoking article. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    1. Author

      Thank you for taking the time to read and leave me a comment, always appreciated. Even though we read tons of articles all the time, sometime a little piece we read sticks with us and this is what I’m trying here.

      1. This is so true iam in the process of de cluttering it has made me rethink who iam and what I purchase thank you

  2. There is so much pressure in London specially if you see something you must get it fm the shelve, because 30 min later you will NOT find the color, size, or style, so it is “vini, vidi and bought it” game.
    With a slower turn around people would think twice and succumb the “must get it fast before it goes” sindrome. Plus because you cannot get it whenn the one your are buying is gone, you tend to buy a 2nd one, specially shoes and clothes than fit like a glove!

    I have started decluttering and putting some sort order in our home, mainly because I do not like the idea of leaving a full house to my daughter and grandchildren before I go, full of memories and old things, it will make them sad, overwhelmed the or give the extra burden of thinking they must keep it because I am gone and is a memory .. That situation I have gone a couple of time and drains your energies for months! I want all that done and dusted …. I am not sure if I will be able to do, but I have the full intention….. Thanks for your inspiration!

    1. Author

      I so agree with leaving things easy for the children. I’ve gone through clearings of homes full of stuff and I kept some bits, but a lot went to the bin because they were old and deteriorated :(. I’ve had a minimalist home for a year now and it makes everything easy. I don’t worry when I leave on vacation, it’s easy to clean and I can breathe…

  3. Minimalism is ongoing journey. With anything acquired comes responsibility as any item will have to be dealt with eventually. The only money I ever spent getting rid of anything was the big baggage such as real estate. Whereas one makes money on it it’s often not worth the aggravation. For anything else, it costs nothing to give it away or drop at a thrift store.

    1. Author

      I can’t really agree with the last part. Unless you walk to the thrift store, you will still spend some money on transportation. For me it was a taxi since I don’t own a car. And to be able to recycle CDs and DVDs I had to travel across the city. It’s been more than a year since and for me that thing alone makes me think twice before purchasing something. There are objects that are hard to get rid of.

  4. All true. I live in France now (rural France) and my solution to many of these problems is to find something used in the first place when I need it. For clothing, there is a very cool website called videdressing.com where you can get designer items that people are selling from their closets. You can search by size, brand. Same for kid’s clothes. I also get most kid’s toys and furniture used as well. When I don’t need it anymore (think baby stuff! and anything kid related!) I can give it away without feeling like I’m loosing money. I almost view items as a loan when I buy them this way. I sell big things, sure, but I can afford to give other stuff away instead of selling it and, therefore, save my valuable time for doing other things…

    1. Author

      Ever since writing this post my shopping habits changed a lot! Now I buy used too. When we moved house, we only bought used furniture and only the super necessary things. And last week I bought my first item of clothing from a charity shop. I couldn’t believe I spent only 4 pounds for a pair of perfectly good pants.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and leave a comment! xx

  5. Finding your post is so timely… my sister is relocating and I’m helping her with the move. She wants to purge unwanted items rather than move them. Using one room for donate or reseal items is a great idea and will be a wonderful visual. Thank you.

    1. Author

      Best of luck with the move! My last one was very easy because I didn’t have to go through things anymore, I just packed them. It was such a relief!

  6. Great article…….I have been decluttering for months…..slowly slowly it’s coming together . I have noticed how my thoughts and beliefs have been shifting along the way and how I want to change more and more aspects of how I live. We even have a a office amnesty at work and I went to town getting rid of everything except what I had to keep for tax purposes. It was amazing, I feel actually excited about doing paperwork because everything is so clean and organised. So decluttering is a crazy beautiful thing. I believe it’s natural to follow onto minimalism.

    1. Author

      It takes time, but you’ll love the results so much, you’ll be much more careful when buying stuff, printing paper, etc. Sending all my positive thoughts to keep it going as I know sometimes you can feel overwhelmed. One of the cool shifts in my life was that I learned to say No to stuff – invitations to events that I wasn’t interested in, meetings that don’t add any value to my work or my life. Both my calendar and my mind were very happy about that.

  7. I too couldn’t feel by konmari method . This reverse method works for me. Thank you.

Leave a Reply