If you look at frugality sites, many have these “things I gave up to be frugal” lists. The same is true if you look at many minimalism sites. Since I am working at becoming more minimalist and frugal at the same time and I RARELY agree with the lists I find.
(Also please see the note at the end.)
Alcohol – We know people who drink daily. Others who drink with every celebration. Us? We use a bottle of table wine about every 2-3 years, and most of the time it’s cooked into food. Exceptions? Port: it’s drunk from tiny glasses. So is the Grand Marnier I got as a treat Christmas. So, no wine cellar here. We have a problem using up beer too. It’s just not our thing.
Basketry Supplies – I bought someone’s stash, years ago, at a thrift shop. I have NEVER used any of it, so why keep it? It’s bagged up to go to the flea market next month.
Beads – A friend is starting an online bead shop. I’ve been slowly sending what I don’t think I’ll use in the next 5 years. Third box is ready to go. The boxes are tiny. I figure I may do as many as 10 before I’m done?
Boot tray – We use a piece of lino on the wood floor instead. If things are really wet? We use a towel.
Canning Jars – I decided that except for the small jelly jars I use to hold the last of shelf-stable foods that I’m not keeping small-mouthed canning jars. I’m also not keeping those with shoulders. The straight sided ones work for everything I need. The other types are being culled as I free them up.
Celebrations – The two of us decided we just weren’t going to fuss any more. We may buy a card, or give each other something when a birthday or anniversary or Christmas rolls around, but in general? I try to thank my husband for his work, which pays for everything, at least once a week. I tell him he’s loved daily. So, we do NOT go out for anniversary or birthday dinners most of the time. In fact, we hardly ever eat out fancy. It’s nice, but it’s an “experience.” Been there, done that. I’d rather use $100 to pay down debt than have a swanky dinner! This doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate at all, it just means we usually do it at home, we stopped buying into the idea that you had to spend a lot of money and get dressed up for it to count. Why?
Cookie sheets – I use pizza pans. Figured the pizza pans being round was a necessity. Cookie sheets can be any flat surface, so years ago I got rid of the cookie sheets. We have 2 pizza pans and use them for everything: roasting veggies, making pizza, baking, etc.
Dish sponges – I got tired of buying them. My grandmother used flannel rags. When my last sponge disintegrated, rather than buying a new one? I tore up an old nightgown. That was about a year ago. We have a sponge for washing the car and a sponge mop for the floor, but I don’t really miss my dish sponges! Yes, I have to wash rags more often.
Drawers – I had several sets of old retail storage drawers, originally from a card shop. I used them for years to store craft supplies. I’ve removed and gotten rid of one. The others are slated to go when my office gets cleared, hopefully this summer! As craft supplies are culled, other drawers will be emptied too.
Duplicate Books – When I know they’re dupes? I keep the best one and donate or sell the others.
Extra Plastic Food Storage – I haven’t done this yet, but it will be soon. We have one spot to store these and it’s getting full again as food comes out of the freezer. DH needed some last fall and we bought a different type. Most of those will be pulled from the kitchen and either go into the workshop or be filled with flea market merchandise. I also need to do another match it with the lid session. I don’t keep either extra lids or containers which don’t have them!
Extra Set of Towels – These days I have one set of bathroom towels, 4 black ones. There’s 3 hooks in the bathroom. I take one out about every 3 days and wash it and add the unused one. Works fine. The towels are cleaned on average about 3-4 times a month and it’s much less of a PITA than pulling them all out, replacing them with the other towels, washing/drying them and then swapping all the towels again. If I don’t get it done? There’s still 3 towels in the bathroom. Less stress, less stuff, works!
Filing – Everything was removed from the fling cabinet. When it gets refilled, there will be a lot less stored there! This is in process.
Floor wax – These days what I do is wash the floor with Murphy’s soap and water (using up the end of the Murphy’s, when it’s gone I’ll just use dish soap, if I have to use soap). I rinse with plain water and lemon essential oil. I don’t think the oil does anything for the wood, but it makes it smell wonderful and I like it waaay better than the smell of Murphy’s!
If I’m in a real hurry or the floor doesn’t need soaping, I’ll sweep or vac the floor, then run the string mop over it with hot water. Then empty/rinse the bucket and use the sponge mop, more hot water, and the oil.
When I had lino floors to clean, I used “Once and Done” from Armstrong, it’s a no rinse floor cleaner with wax.
Glasses – I got tired of replacing them. We do use wine glasses, but everyday liquids are drunk from coffee mugs.
Hair conditioner – Well I didn’t give it up. Why? I use about 1 bottle every 2 years or so. I use a thick conditioner and comb it through my clean wet hair, using about a dime sized portion at a time and a wide toothed comb. I use it as a detangler. My hair goes about 2/3rds of the way down my back btw, I do NOT have short hair!
Instant Potatoes, etc. – I don’t mind them, but DH says “Ick!” about instant potatoes. However, I used to use jarred marinara, instant gravies, etc. These days I make sauces & gravies from scratch. It’s cheaper for one thing. I control what goes into it for another. Finally? It can be made to suit our tastes and the commercial stuff is usually “okay” but not “great” (acc. to no one but us).
Junk Drawer – I think one reason the house gets so untidy is that I “let” it. So, why allow myself to have a messy drawer in the kitchen? If I change the junk drawer into something actually useful rather than a catchall for misc. clutter, can I cut down the clutter? This is an experiment We’ll see how it works!
Linens – Much like the towels above, I used to have 4 sets of winter sheets and 4 sets of summer sheets. These days, I have 1/2 that. I have 2 sets of flannel for winter and 2 sets of cotton for summer. The only place I have more than that is pillow cases. I take the top sheet off midweek and throw it in the wash. I take the bottom sheet and pillow cases off over the weekend. I’ve gotten past the idea that this has to happen all at once. The scope of that job would make me put it off. Removing one sheet, replacing it with the other similar sheet and then washing the old one doesn’t seem as onerous. Works for me, YMMV.
Magazine Subscriptions – I used to subscribe to at least 2. The only magazine I get now is the one where I’m on the staff, and I’ve been giving them away to interested people as I can.
Make up Remover – When I was in college, for a bit I was a theater make up major. The actresses used shortening to remove their theater make up. No perfumes, cheap, easy to find, etc. I haven’t bought fancy make up remover since!
Muffin Tins – I didn’t make muffins regularly enough to justify keeping a muffin tin. I also don’t have silicon or paper liners.
Office Supplies – With some exceptions, we have enough of almost everything: pens, erasers, stickies, thumbtacks, etc. We run out of ink and paper because I hate proofreading anything large on screen. Most of the book projects I work on I end up printing at lease twice….
Ornament (and Stocking) Hangers – I decided a few years back that string or wire or ribbon would work for these. Why buy and store something else?
Pencil Cups – I had 5: both offices, the living room, the kitchen, and workshop. I’ve eliminated 3 of them. Two should be enough!
Retail Supplies – Because I worked in retail, I have lots of retail supplies I likely won’t ever use: extra receipt books, stickers, tags, etc. either too old to be used or I know will still be unused in a few years. In some cases, this stuff has gone to the dump. I’ve given some away. I have a small cigar box of supplies, but most of it is removed when I run across it, ASAP.
Ribbon – I used to have a lot of it. Well, to be honest, it came home from the bookstore. I offered free wrapping and had supplies for it when asked. As a private individual, I sure didn’t need the 5 rolls of curly ribbon, etc. I’ve been culling it for a long time now. When I make up our Christmas bread, I frequently try and use as much ribbon as I reasonably can. Still I cull it and keep culling it. . . .
Shredder – We had one, but don’t now. Many times the shreds wound up in the wood stove to start fires. When the old shredder died, I decided to use the shredder I was born with, my hands, and continue that practice. If it’s not wood-burning season or the wood stove’s paper bins are full, I put it in a used manila envelope and take it to Stapes. A pound of shredding (about 2-3 envelopes) costs around $2. For about $8 a year I don’t have to have a special use tool, storage for same, or figure out where to put it!
Suits – I haven’t worked in an office for some time. It is nice to not need to worry about having a suit for work anymore!
Soda Crates – Earlier I had stored my beads in plastic boxes in soda crates. These are the beads I’m culling. At some point, at least some of the crates will be empty and will be used elsewhere or culled.
(Of what’s shown? The big round containers are gone. The white plastic container in the upper left is gone. Most of the monofilament is gone. Some of the small round containers are gone too….)
Scrubbing Bubbles – and other “specialty” cleaners. These days I use bleach, cleanser, dish soap, laundry soap, bar soap, ammonia, salt, and such. Except for leather cleaners, which I still have a lot of and lemon oil furniture polish, I don’t buy them.
The leather cleaner gets used on the leather furniture and car seats and shoes. The lemon oil get used on furniture, wood floors, and occasionally on appliances!
Snack foods – I know people who always have snacks around and soda. We don’t. The only cracker we buy regularly are whole wheat saltines and I have a recipe and may try and make them sometime soon. They aren’t all that expensive, but I just don’t see the point in buying all that packaging for something that is basically flour, water, salt and soda, when I have all those things in stock all the time?
I can’t drink soda and DH isn’t fond of it, so no sodas for us.
Spoon holder – The one you put next to your stove; I don’t. A while ago, I had a ceramic pot. The pot got broken and tossed, but the lid was fine. I kept it for I know not what reason? Then one day I had an Aha! moment and I turned the lid upside own and pushed the handle into one corner of the grid over my gas burners. It stayed. It works great, is fairly small, cost me nothing and keeps me from gooping up the burners, the space around them, or the counters!
Sponges – I gave up dish sponges last year. (See above.) The only sponge, except for the sponge mop, is in the carwash bucket.
Swifters or other fancy cleaning tools – What’s in my broom closet? A small vac, a broom, a wool dust mop and a sponge wet mop. That’s it. I also have buckets, dust pans, brushes, etc. but no swifter or carpet sweeper. I had both and didn’t use them.
Television – It had been turned on once in about 10 years. It took the space that an entire bookcase would occupy. Hm…We needed more bookshelving, right? It was an easy cull.
Tinsel – I gave it up a few years back. We have beaded icicles and some glass ones.
Umbrella stand – We keep one umbrella indoors and one in each car. Don’t need more. When they come in wet? They are put on the piece of lino which is our “boot tray.”
Vacations – We hardly ever take them. Every once in a while, we’ll take a “get the hell outta here” break and spend the night in a local motel just to get away from the place where we eat, sleep, live, and work 24/7. Part of adjusting to working at home was finding the relief valve in everyday living.
We take day trips. Go to a museum or bookstore or event. But we don’t need to experience every ride, national park, country, festival, etc. Some things I just want to see. The internet works for that and it’s a lot cheaper than air fare and hotels!
A question I found years ago made a lot of sense:
Why work so hard year ’round to pay for/decorate,
and make “ours” some place…
and when we get a break from work we leave that place?
Made me really reconsider vacations. If I’m not going to “experience” something or a place and not going “as a break” why don’t I use vacation time to enjoy the home I’ve spent all the time, effort and money to create?
Vases – I culled my collection, it was 2 shelves worth! I now have 5, 3 were inherited and will be passed on.
Wood burning supplies – Since we’re not primarily heating with wood, I won’t restock fire starters, junk paper, matches, twig bins, etc. like I did. We still have enough for emergencies, but it’s just that, and the beginning of the season we were fully stocked, so I won’t need to restock much of it for some time!
X – Various Products I make myself – brown sugar, cinnamon sugar, garlic salt, window cleaner
Yarn – I decided when I quit knitting all the time that I’d get rid of any excess polyester yarn and use wool instead. I have given away the excess and the yarn I’m keeping is stored in a tin. There’s still too much of it, probably, but I have culled the collection quite a lot!
It may appear from this that we live a grim existence — not so! We like each other’s company, sense of humor, etc. We use the events in our daily lives for comic relief; we laugh a lot, hug and smile — daily.