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Sustainable Living: 10 Things I No Longer Buy

Have you ever looked around your room and gotten frustrated by the clutter caused by your impulsive buying? If this does not apply to you, then congratulations - you have achieved what most people cannot:  living sustainably. For most of us, we are susceptible to consumerism and often fall into the trap of making unnecessary purchases. Over time, these items become difficult to manage and start to take control of your life without you even realizing; your money, time and energy have all been wasted. 

The good news is that it’s never too late to begin re-evaluating the things you already have and discovering items you could live without. Less is more, and buying less is the first step to sustainable living. Here is a list of 10 things I no longer buy, and hopefully, this can inspire you to make changes in your life:


1. Phone cases

We only have one phone, so why do we need 10 different cases when some of us get a new phone in a few years? Instead of choosing patterned phone cases that you would get bored easily, try to stick to the classic clear or solid colour that would never go wrong.

2. Multiple bags

I used to have an obsession with buying different kinds of bags, ranging from useful backpacks to stylish fanny packs. Over time, I noticed that I only gravitated towards my Herschel backpack for school and a canvas tote for occasional outings with friends.

3. Stationery

Ever since I started university, the demand for notebooks and writing utensils has decreased tremendously because it is more convenient to take notes on my laptop or iPad. I no longer need the pretty highlighters and coloured pens to satisfy my interest in stationery, and the journal I got two years ago for the intended purpose of bullet journaling has yet to be filled.

4. On-sale items

Everyone likes deals, and so do I. It is difficult to resist the urge to purchase an on-sale item because you will find twenty different reasons to convince yourself that it serves a purpose. For most of these items, you probably would only wear or use them once before tucking them away in your closet and drawers.

5. Plastic water bottles

We all know how unsustainable plastic water bottles are for the environment. Having a reusable bottle is way more eco-friendly, and a nice water bottle personalized with your favourite stickers can motivate you to meet your daily water intake.

6. Clothing duplicates

Please do not tell me that I am the only one who owns multiple pairs of jeans with the same fit, colour of wash, and style. Again, I only have one favourite out of all, and I would rather wear that one pair with a hole somewhere than all the other ones that still have a tag on.

7. Dryer sheets

I bought a box of dryer sheets seven years ago when I was in middle school, and I still have more than half of the box unused. Dryer sheets do not really fit into my lifestyle as I like to have my clothes hanged and air dry. Not everyone can make this switch in their life, so instead of getting the costly boxed dryer sheets, opt for the reusable wool dryer ball to achieve the same effect.

8. Scented body lotions

Personally, I am not a huge fan of body lotions, especially the scented ones, because I am fragrance sensitive, and I hate the sticky feeling they leave on your skin after application. I have yet to find one that works for me, so Aloe vera gel does the job for now.

9. Gift wrapping supplies

There are so many alternatives to wrapping paper, such as old newspapers, magazines, sheet music, and calendar pages, which are equally eye-catching. You could also recycle tissue paper and gift bags that you received from others instead of just throwing them away.

10. Travel-sized items

I never seem to finish my travel-sized products during my vacation, and I always have to purchase new ones the next time I travel because they seem to disappear into the corners of my house. A few years ago, I discovered some reusable travel-size toiletry bottles, and they work wonders as I can bring products that I actually use on a daily basis.


So, what does your list look like?


Catherine Yu

McMaster '23

Catherine is a second-year McMaster student majoring in Kinesiology, and hopes to minor in Economics. Outside of school, she loves to sing, dance, and go on hikes with friends and family! You will often catch her at the candy aisle in the grocery store.
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