10 Things You Really, Really Don't Need

Shopping is an adrenaline rush. How else to explain the talking ceramic cat you had to have, or the face cream that you bought because it was guaranteed to return your skin to the hue it had in the womb? Sure, the Great Recession has shifted Americans’ shopping habits, but we’re still a spending force to be reckoned with. Luckily, there are things we just don’t need on this planet. So take a look at some items you might want to trim from your shopping list.

1. Microwave oven

I haven’t had a microwave since Clinton was in the White House. Sure, on occasion I’ll miss the opportunity to melt down butter without burning it on the stove. I’d just rather give the counter space to something more deserving, like cookies. Or cupcakes. Or brownies…

2. Electric wine bottle openers

Waiters can open a bottle of organic wine, at the table, with just a mere flick of a wrist and cork-screw. Mentally raising a cork out of the bottle with special brain powers would be cooler, but for now a simple corkscrew works fine. And gives good strength training!

3. Bread machines

Sure, bread machines can be an awesome way to get perfectly-shaped loaves of steamy, fresh bread. But allow us to face the delicious reality of fresh bread. If you’re taking the time to make fresh bread in your bread machine, you probably have the time to bake fresh bread in your oven. Hard realities, folks. Hard realities.

4. Neck creams

It’s become casual sport in Hollywood to guess an actress’ age by her neck, which still remains hard to control by Botox or a lift. So now there’s a whole industry of creams dedicated to the neck. In reality, you should just use the same creams and treatments on your neck as you do on your face. Moisturize tone, mask – just bring it down a few inches lower than your jaw line.

5. Beauty products tested on animals

To which we and super cute-bunny-that-fits-in-a-hand say – really? Products like said Botox are continually tested on animals with appalling results. There’s a whole world of products, beauty or otherwise, that are cruelty-free. You can find them here.

6. Hand sanitizers

I’m not saying medical professionals should go without, or that we should immediately start diving into gas station bathrooms to dance around barefoot. But washing your hands will kill germs just as easily as hand sanitizers. Sanitizing your paws every time you touch a door knob will kill most bacteria. But the tough ones that survived will multiply and will be stronger than the cousins you killed off. (Read more about that here.)

7. The latest product from Apple

iPods are fun. As are iPhones and yes, even iPads are kind of cool. Do they get more fun as the latest updates cycle through every year and/or month? (As giant UFOs bearing the Apple insignia lower into our horizons.) Sure, maybe we all need the ability to instantly play music/record/brew latte with our phones. But why not let your old apples actually fall from the tree before you replace them?

8. Automatic toilet flushers

One of the greatest questions of our time is obviously – do toilets really need to flush on their own, causing us to flee to the other side of the stall to avoid splash back? And repeat.

9. Motion-Activated Anything

Recently, I saw an advert for a motion-activity candy dispenser. (Because obesity isn’t enough of a problem in this country. Yes, I’m waving a cranky cane right now.) Motion-activated devices are fantastic for people with disability issues. But how many wheelchairs do we see on escalators? We also opened doors for centuries without the power of electricity.

10. Throw pillows

When you’re lost under a gigantic pile of plush, you have no one but yourself to blame.

This post first appeared on EcoSalon.

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