The Joy of Using Things Up

In January 2018, I decided that I was going to go at least 3 months without buying any new clothes (the exceptions: underwear, shoes, leggings, and anything needed for bridesmaid duties). I ended up going until October and found it shockingly easy. I fell in love with thrifting, Poshmark, and shopping my own closet. This January, I decided to re-start my “no new clothes” challenge. We’re in the middle of April and, so far, so good. The challenge got me thinking — what else could I stand to stop buying this year? Like clothes, other personal and household items can accumulate. Think… candles, skincare, makeup, even food items … generally smaller, consumable items that are OH SO EASY to impulse purchase (especially when traveling!).

Anyone else feel a sense of joy (or even accomplishment) when you get through an entire skincare product or hit pan in a makeup palette or burn through a candle in it’s entirety? I want to feel more of that. So here are some items I am adding to my “do not buy” list until there are no “backups” left.

  • Candles. Yeah, I’m one of those people. I make candles in old candle jars. I also buy candles because I’m a total sucker. I am given candles because everyone knows how much I love candles. A candle is lit daily so they do get used up… but, right now, I have an overwhelming amount to go through.
  • Bath Bombs. I was given a lot of bath bombs over Christmas which piled up on top of my impulse bath bomb purchases at Lush. I am making a habit of taking more baths and making sure to use a bath bomb each time.
  • Bar Soaps. I blame my husband. He’s a soap fiend. At Whole Foods? Buy soap. Traveling and see a small business owner selling soap? Buy it. Obviously, these get used up. But, right now, I have a small shoe box full of soap.
  • Body Moisturizers. Don’t know how this happened but between gifts and half empty lotion bottles — I probably have 2 years worth of the stuff.
  • Face Masks. Not the sheet ones but jars and tubes of them. They come as part of skincare kits, as gifts, etc. I also find that I take forever to get through them as I’m not super consistent about masking. Goal: Mask twice a week and get through all these jars! In the future, maybe DIY masks to save self from collecting (somewhat unused) masks.
  • Lipstick and lip balms. I have too many, plain and simple. I also have every color and forumation I could possibly need so I just need to stop picking these up.
  • OTC Medications. Somehow we end up with multiple bottles of Ibuprofen, allergy medications, and Pepto. Usually while traveling or out and about, someone ends up with a headache or sniffles and we end up buying meds that come home with us. Goal: Make sure to pack medications in travel bag to prevent purchases. Thoroughly check medicine cabinet before buying any medications.
  • Tea. Another impulse travel purchase. Wherever I am in the world, I end up buying local tea. Yeah, the loose leaf stuff is great and compostable but how much tea do I really need?! So. No more until I’m through the majority of my stash.

What items could you stand to stop buying for the next few months?

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9 Comments

  1. […] Take a bath (and use up all my bath bombs!) […]

  2. […] you may know by now, I find great joy in using things up. I also find that it’s one of the most eco-friendly things that you can do — buy a […]

  3. This is exactly what I´ve started to experience just days ago – I´ve stopped shopping for things that I already have at home, or similar things. I´ve always loved what you call “using things up” – what a great term! It literally brings serotonin to my veins when I can use let´s say cosmetics, mostly cosmetics, up and can throw away the bottle..or when I see just two bottles on my bath.

    1. So much satisfaction using up cosmetics — it can take forever!

  4. I received so many shower gels as part of combo pack gifts over the years while not even having a shower, just a bath. After finally moving to a place with a shower I got to use it all. Felt so good. Also made a good dent in the crazy amount of body lotion bottles I have.

    1. Good for you for actually using the products (instead of tossing it)! As they say… the most eco-friendly thing you can do is use what you have!

  5. Oh my gosh! I’m so glad I found your blog. I feel like I have finally found someone who gets me! LOL! I love using stuff up! The only thing that bothers me is usually the container that’s left that isn’t recyclable (usually with makeup). I have tons of candles, too!

    1. I finally got into the Terracycle personal care recycling program so now I can send all my makeup empties for recycling!

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