Organisation and Productivity Sustainable Living

8 Commonly Accumulated Things To Use Up Before Buying More

Are there certain things that you just can’t stop buying, even though you already have lots that you haven’t used? Maybe you have dozens of unused make-up palettes but you still ‘need’ to have that new one. Or are you a stationery addict with 50 unused notebooks in your drawer, yet you keep buying more?

It’s nice to collect things you like, but if they are sat there unused and not serving their purpose then it is wasteful to keep buying more. Your unused items will take up space and cause unnecessary clutter. Are you up for the challenge of using up your existing items before you allow yourself to get any more? In this post, I will share 8 commonly accumulated things to use up before you buy more.

8 Things You Need To Stop Buying More Of

8 Commonly Accumulated Things To Use Up Before You Buy More


When you see a book you’d like to read, do you immediately buy it? Many book lovers do, but then they don’t actually get through reading all their books at the rate they are buying them.

I had a phase a few years ago where I would buy a lot of books from charity shops every time I went shopping. I acquired so many books and they wouldn’t fit on my bookshelves so they were piled up on the floor. Lately, I have been working my way through these books, and not allowing myself to buy any more until I have read the ones I have.

If you own a lot of books that you haven’t read, I’d recommend doing the same. Try to read all the books you currently own before you buy more. When you see a book you’d like to read, add it to a ‘to read’ list instead of immediately buying it. The good thing about books is that they will still be available to buy in the future, unlike clothes, cosmetics or home decor which go through trends and the available products rapidly change.

When I finish reading a book, I usually give it away to a friend or to a charity shop. I only keep books that I genuinely think I will read again. I recommend having a similar system, so your bookshelves don’t get too cluttered with books you’ll never read again.

Related post: Do I Keep Something or Give It Away?


If you are a stationery lover, it can be difficult to walk into a shop like Paperchase and not come out with a few pretty pens, notebooks or rolls of washi tape. However, unless you use them very regularly, it actually takes a long time to fill up a notebook or empty a pen. If you have drawers full of stationery, it might be worth banning yourself from buying any more until you have used up what you already have.

A selection of colourful stationery including notebooks, highlighter pens, washi tape, colouring pencils and pens.


Under cosmetics, I am including all kinds of toiletries, bath and shower products, skincare and make-up. Cosmetics are some of the most common items that people tend to accumulate faster than they use. I have a whole box full of skincare and body care products and another full of makeup. I have acquired these over the years with the intention to use them all, but these types of products often take a long time to use up. It’s easy to get tempted by new products but I really don’t need to buy any more!

Cosmetic products also have a use-by date, especially once they are opened. Therefore it’s wasteful to keep buying new products because you simply won’t get through all your older ones before they go bad. I challenge you to stop buying new cosmetics for a while and try to use up the ones you already own.

If some of your cosmetics are out of date, or you don’t want to use them any more, I have a post where I share some alternative uses for cosmetic products you are not going to use. I also have a post showing how to use up leftover soap scraps instead of throwing them away.

Candles and wax melts

It’s wise to have a supply of candles in your home in case you have a power cut. However, it’s possible to build up an excessive collection of candles and wax melts if you receive them as gifts or get tempted by the nice scents in store. Could you do with a candle clear-out? Get into the habit of using a scented candle or wax melt regularly and don’t buy any more until your collection has thinned a little.

Three decorative candles.


Have you checked the back of your kitchen cupboards lately? Sometimes, tins and packets of food can get forgotten about, especially if you bought them for a particular recipe but you don’t normally use them. I recommend going through and using up any forgotten food before it goes out of date. You can even use food that is past its ‘best before’ date because it will usually still be perfectly edible – but obviously, use your discernment.

Check out my recipes section if you need some inspiration of how to use your forgotten ingredients.

Teabags and loose-leaf tea

Similarly to the food, do you have lots of open packets of flavoured tea at the back of a kitchen cupboard? I know people who still have teabags that expired over 10 years ago. If you are a fan of fruit and herbal teas or buy them for guests, it’s easy to build up quite a collection. Certain less popular flavours get forgotten at the back of the cupboard. This is especially true for loose-leaf teas because they take more effort to make, so you are more likely to reach for a teabag instead.

A while back, I challenged myself to use up all my open packets of tea before buying any new ones. This created more space in my cupboard, and I rediscovered a few gems. Is this something you could do too?

A selection of herbal teas including Hey Girl and Pukka brands.


Are you subscribed to any magazines, or sometimes pick them up in-store? Do you truthfully read them within a few days or a week of getting them? I don’t get many magazines, but I admit that I rarely find the time to read them, so they tend to build up in a pile. If this is true for you too, I recommend having a serious think about whether you still want to receive these magazines, or if you could unsubscribe from some. Then, commit to reading the magazines you already own before you buy or subscribe to any more. I recommend assigning a particular time of day to read magazines, such as while you are eating breakfast.

Puzzle books

When I go on a long journey, I sometimes pick up a puzzle book to do on the train/plane/boat. I quickly get through my favourite puzzles but leave the ones that I don’t like so much or I get stuck on. Then, I don’t like to throw away the puzzle book because it is incomplete, but on my next trip, it’s more appealing to buy a new one. I end up with lots of unfinished puzzle books!

A while back, I committed to finishing as many puzzles as I could in these books and throwing them away (recycling them of course) before I bought any more. I succeeded in finishing and clearing out all my unfinished puzzle books. Could you do the same?

Related post: Everything You Need To Pack for Your Trip or Holiday

What could you use up before buying more?

I hope this post has shown that there are so many advantages to using up what you’ve got before buying more. You will reduce waste, save resources, create space in your home and save money. It is also an exercise in appreciating what you have, instead of always ‘needing’ more.

Can you relate to this post? Do you have a growing collection of any of the things I mentioned, that you could use up before you buy any more? Let me know in the comments!

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8 Commonly Accumulated Things To Use Up Before You Buy More


  1. It’s “possible to build up an excessive collection of candles” – guilty as charged, I have a candle weakness. Also a lipstick and nail polish obsession, which is weird as I rarely wear either! Love these tips though, and yes, I will start using my candles in the evening, that’s a great tip 🙂 x

    1. Sophie says:

      Haha! I hope you enjoy using your candles more regularly and manage to get through some of your collection! I also have a huge collection of nail polish but I rarely wear it! x

  2. Great post, really on my wavelength.
    I have been on a beauty spending ban since Christmas and it’s forced me to use the make up I’ve shoved to the back of my beauty room. I’ve found some real gems!


    1. Sophie says:

      I’m so glad to hear that you have rediscovered some gems by banning your beauty spending! Just shows it’s a worthwhile thing to do x

  3. I am so bad for hoarding more stationary than I need to. We’ve been talking about taking at least 6 months at some point and driving across Canada and the US, living out of an RV. If we’re going to do that, however, I need to start getting rid of ‘stuff’ in our house before we make that transition. The RV will be a lot smaller than our house lol

    1. Sophie says:

      That sounds like such a fun adventure! I can definitely understand why you’d want to clear out a lot of stuff before doing that!

  4. I’m so bad at a lot of these! I always collect more tea, and stationery is one of my favourite things to buy. I know I’m not alone- and it’s great to avoid waste. Thank you for sharing these ideas x

    1. Sophie says:

      You’re definitely not alone. Tea and stationery are some of mine too! And stationery takes so long to use up! Thanks for reading x

  5. bethany jones says:

    I definitely needed to read this post, I’ve been buying so many books lately and although I’m slowly getting through them all my bookshelf is almost full. I think I’ll be taking your advice about adding new books that I want to a ‘read list’ and giving away some of my older books so I can make more room.

    1. Sophie says:

      I definitely recommend doing that! I was the same, I used to have books piled up on the floor but now they finally fit into my bookcase! I still have a lot to get through before I will let myself buy more! x

  6. Great post – I feel like before I began the great declutter of 2021 this was me to T with Tea, Candles and Beauty/Hair products! I’ve really thinned out recently, and like you said found a couple hidden gems not to mentioned saved $$. Thanks for this post – it’s so easy to build these products up so this is so helpful!

    1. Sophie says:

      I’m glad you’ve managed to thin out your collection lately, and I love how you call it the great declutter of 2021! It’s such a great way to discover hidden gems. I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

  7. OMG I’m so guilty of stationary and food! I love trying lots of different sauces so I end up with so many in my fridge! and gen pels!! I can never get enough. I got to sort out through my things soon haha Thanks for the reminder! xx

    Lynn |

    1. Sophie says:

      Oh yes, it’s so easy to do that with sauces! Try them once and then forget about the open jar in the fridge! I used to collect gel pens too when I was younger! Good luck with your clear out! xx

  8. This post is very apt for me! I keep buying cosmetics and jewelry without taking stock of what I have, and I’m always afraid to run out so I never end up using them. Really gotta break the habit!

    1. Sophie says:

      I can relate to that a lot! I also avoid using things because I’m afraid to run out – even though I have loads! Good luck with breaking the habit! x

  9. After realizing I had stacks upon stacks of magazines that I didn’t even read more than once, I decided not to get magazines again ever. Content is cross-published online too, so no junk accumulated even if you wanna check anything out!

    1. Sophie says:

      That’s such a good point, it makes so much more sense to read magazine content online instead so you can just find the bits that are interesting to you! x

  10. These are all great examples of things we have laying around and waste or buy more off before we use them all. Love your posts. They really inspire me to declutter.

    1. Sophie says:

      Thank you, I’m so glad I have inspired you to declutter! x

  11. I definitely buy less makeup than I used to although it’s still something that I like to have options for, I’m far more mindful of my consumption these days. I’ve been trying to read more ebooks rather than collecting more paper, I’m not sure if my eyes are thanking me for that though. I could 100% buy fewer candles though, very guilty of that one x

    1. Sophie says:

      That’s great that you are being more mindful of your consumption nowadays. I’m also planning to switch to e-books once I’ve read all the physical books I already own – but I know what you mean that they are not so easy on the eyes! x

  12. Stationary and candles are my weakness! I read a lot, so my books never go to waste, but always struggle with the others haha. Great post, love the tips! 🙂

    1. Sophie says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post! That’s great that you manage to get through all your books. I have a weakness for stationery and candles too! x

  13. Great reminder. I must read all the books I have accumulated over the years before buying new ones. Essential oils and face care oils are my weak points. I must use them up before buying more.

    1. Sophie says:

      Oh yes, I’ve got a few of those that need using up too! Thanks for reading x

  14. Charity says:

    Oh my goodness I am so guilty of this. Especially candles. I have a whole stockpile of them lol

    1. Sophie says:

      I have loads of candles too! It takes ages to actually use them up! Thanks for reading x

  15. I can totally relate to this post. Guilty of keeping so many skincare products. My make-up collection is growing too. So, I’m trying not to buy anything yet until I used up a few products.

    1. Sophie says:

      I’m the same! It’s amazing how fast skincare and make-up products build up. I’m trying to use some up before buying more too.

  16. I used to be very guilty of hoarding cosmetics and I’m getting a lot better at it these days! I still like to have options but I consider how much use I’m going to get out of something a lot more before I buy it now and try not to have too many things on the go at once. I still need to work on the candles though!! That collection still builds far too easily x

    1. Sophie says:

      I’m the same! It’s great that you are thinking more now about how much you will use a product before you buy it. I’m trying to be more mindful of my purchases too. Some things like candles just take so long to use up though! x

  17. Irene says:

    These are some good tips. I’ve been trying really hard not to buy more things before I use up what I have because it can be such a waste of money and space. My biggest problem is fabric, because I sew, and sometimes the fabric I have stashed just isn’t right for certain projects.

    1. Sophie says:

      I’m glad you liked these tips. Oh yes, I can imagine how fabric could build up quickly, especially if you have leftover fabric from finished projects too!

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