So you're finally moving into your new place. As tempting as it is to lavish your home with Instagram-worthy decor and furnishings, you're also trying to control your consumption habits and cut down on spending.
As a first-time homeowner, I followed dozens of home influencers on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube for style inspiration. Ten unnecessary throw pillows and an unused ceramic dinner set later, I've vowed to stop letting aesthetics trick me into buying things I won't actually use.
There's nothing wrong with wanting an aesthetically-pleasing home or with wanting to splurge on a couple of nice items, but there's a lot to be said for contentment too, with learning to admire other people's beautiful homes without wanting every single thing that they have for yourself.
While wants and needs are subjective and dependent on your financial situation, I'd encourage you to ask yourself the following questions before clicking "add to cart":
Is this item compatible with my lifestyle habits?
Since I dislike cooking, tonnes of well-meaning friends encouraged me to buy an 11-in-1 multicooker. At the time, their suggestion made sense: learning to steam, grill, and pressure cook via one machine sounded less intimidating than learning to do those things on separate gadgets. Perhaps a multicooker could bring out my latent culinary skills.
But again: As someone who doesn't cook, mastering a new frying pan or a new oven already feels like a major achievement. Using the sous vide and slow cooking functions on my 11-in-1 machine isn't fun for me. It's a chore! Lesson learnt: buy items according to who you are now, not according to who you envision you will be after buying that thing.
Would I bring this to my new place if we suddenly had to move?
Nothing brings out one's inner Marie Kondo like having to move. If you're trying to cut down on spending, try to imagine packing that thing in a few years, and see if the impulse to buy it doesn't fade a bit.
How many of these do I already own?
Yes, I know I said that wants and needs are subjective, but c'mon: you don't need a new lineup of Christmas tree ornaments every year. You don't need a TikTok-famous curvy mirror or a set of bubble handle chunky mugs when you already have a functional full-length mirror and a set of drinkware in your cupboard.
With those three questions in mind, from one homeowner to another, here are the little luxuries you don't actually need:
1. Aesthetic fridge organisers and spice containers
Most of the food you'll buy will already come in containers, so don't let Instagram and The Home Edit fool you into thinking you need clear acrylic storage units for every corner of your fridge, especially since cleaning and reorganising said fridge becomes way more tedious when you have to wipe down these items as well.
Speaking of containers for items that already come in containers, what's the point of rebottling spices when they already come in bottles? That's just bad for the earth. Save the environment, save your money!
2. Stylish or gimmicky cookware
Yeah, I know that Le Creuset cookware can last generations, but a heart-shaped 16cm skillet will set you back more than $400! Skip the limited editions where possible and stick to the basics.
Or maybe you're tempted to drop almost $300 on a mint-coloured SMEG toaster. Go ahead, treat yourself, but oh, how to resist the matching milk frother and kettle! My advice: a one-time indulgence is okay if you can afford it, but save the money you'd spend on matching items until you're sure you have the means to buy them.
3. A bevy of throw pillows
I know: these make your couch look ten times cuter, especially if they're filled with goose down, come in fun shapes, or are adorned with tassels. But if you're reading this, I take it you're not ready to drop $100 on a velvet throw pillow. Stick to two to four basic couch pillows and trust that no one cares that you're using the same Ikea cushion covers as everyone else.
4. Luxury hand soap
Oh, you know which brand I'm talking about. Yes, it smells heavenly, but it's a hand soap! If, like me, you want to save money yet are loathe to use "aunty" hand soap bottles in your guest bathroom, you can find some relatively affordable, yet cute alternatives on iHerb, Marks & Spencer, Muji or even Shopee.
5. More drinkware
Is it just me, or is there a new drinkware trend every other month? One month, it was fluted glass cups. Then it became amber glassware. Now vintage embossed glass cups are everywhere! There are only so many mugs and cups you can fit into your cupboard, and anyway, trends come and go, so learn to be content with the ones you already have.
6. Instagram-worthy laundry baskets
Now that we're at the end of this story, I'll give one caveat — I can somewhat justify treating oneself to an expensive hand soap, throw pillow, or water glass. These items are outward-facing. They spark joy. They're "for guests". But I draw the line at laundry baskets. When you're chionging your household chores, an "ugly" one will serve you just as well as that $60 one you spotted on Pinterest. Save that money — your future self will thank you.
This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.
ALSO READ: 10 decor mistakes that can make your home look cheap