Live a Well-Designed Life Quality of Life

The Joy of Using Things Up

The joy of using things up is important in our journey of minimalism. Using items until they have nothing left to give allows us the opportunity to fully experience each item. Because if we tire of an item quickly or buy new things frequently, would we still be able to experience the benefits of each item and fully use them? Probably not. While this mostly applies to consumable products (think lotion, toothpaste, food, etc.), the same can be said for clothing, kitchen wares, electronics, cars, and other consumer goods.

There comes a certain satisfaction when I use something up. Like a tube of toothpaste. I squeeze out every smidgen of paste that I can before I throw it away. Do I have to roll up the end and press down the tube to get it out? Yep. But eeking out that last little bit brings me great joy and contentment. But why? When I use a product to it’s fullest – personal care items, food, clothing, other consumer goods – I know that something useful isn’t going to the landfill. I also save money because I use things up rather than tossing them when I tire of them or when it’s tough to get the product out. And if there are three things I love the most, it’s saving money, reducing my waste, and having a clutter-free home.

Why bother using things up?

When you use something up, you use it until it has nothing left to give. Squeezing every last bit of life out of something like lotion, toothpaste, and other body care products can satisfy you knowing that you “completed” something. Other benefits of using things up include:

  • Saving money
  • Reducing waste
  • Less clutter

I save money by using a product completely rather than tossing it when it’s almost gone or hard to get out of the container. Waste reduction happens because you aren’t throwing away perfectly good products. And less clutter comes into your home because you use something up before you buy anything new.

Using things up can curb impulse purchases

Have you ever found yourself wondering through the aisles of a big store looking for something to purchase? Maybe it is to try it out, maybe it’s because you aren’t happy with what you already have, or perhaps shopping makes you feel better. Whatever your reason for casually shopping, you can curb your impulse purchases by asking a simple question:

Have I used up what I already own?

If the answer is no, then move along.

If yes, then dig a little deeper.

  • Did you like the product that you used and would you re-buy it?
  • Are you ready to try something new?
  • Do you need to replace what you used up?
Things I Stopped Buying
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Think about your next purchase

It’s important to curb impulse shopping. When you are at the end of your product’s life, you have the opportunity to think about your next purchase. Are you going to replace that item with the same thing? Or are you going to find something better?

Thinking about and planning your next purchase allows you to find the best deal if your goal is to save money. It also allows you the opportunity to find the item locally or a locally made option if you like the idea of using something more sustainable. When you plan out future purchases, you are more likely to buy something that you will love rather than something “just to try out”.

RELATED: Living within Your Means

Get to know what you actually like

If you only half-use things, do you know if you like them?

Once you become accustomed to using things up, you find what you truly like. When you find what you like, you won’t waste your time, money, or space on things you don’t need or want.

Indulge in the sense of accomplishment

When I finally get to throw away the empty tube of toothpaste, a bottle of lotion, or whatever it may be, I feel very accomplished and content. I believe that this sense of accomplishment comes from getting my money’s worth out of a product, but also sticking with the same thing until the end.

Using up everything

Writing this post, I immediately began to think of all the consumable products (lotion, soap, etc.) that we use daily. But what I didn’t think of at first was everything else in our house.

Everything you own has a lifespan – whether it gets used to its fullest is up to you.

Clothing, luggage, food items, appliances, furniture, lights, décor, phones, computers, electrical cables, cars, outdoor equipment, and the list could go on. All the things that you buy, intentionally or not, have a lifespan. It is up to you to take care of it and use it during this time.

Decluttering 101
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Having (and being happy with) enough

I am very privileged to say that I have had enough of everything in my life. Food, clothing, shelter, and other consumer goods. However, I can vividly remember a time when that wasn’t enough, but I was over-consuming.

RELATED: How to Upgrade Your Life without Buying New Stuff

When we experience the joy of using things up, we don’t fall victim to always wanting more. The intentionality behind using something to its fullest brings a certain joy and tells our brain “I have enough”. Not giving in to our consumer-driven world allows us to find joy in simpler things, connect with family and friends better, and find hobbies and activities that bring us happiness.


I am Kiran and I'm a Lifestyle Coach, Podcast Host, Vegetarian Nutritionist, NLP Master Practitioner, Author and an Interior Designer.

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