As a minimalist and someone who is currently in a big life transition window shopping is one of my favorite things. I love to browse through shops, get ideas and inspiration, and take photos of things that catch my eye–and sometimes buy something if I know I’ll use it right away or is what I’ve been looking for. 😀
Yesterday I spent a few hours window shopping in the sunshine (we’ve had rainy weather for weeks so I was excited to spend time in the sun!) and in the process got the idea for this post.
Whenever I travel or am visiting a particular spot (including being a tourist in my own city!) I’m often on the lookout for a gift for a friend or family member (or for gift ideas in general). When it comes to gifts I’ve found myself over time looking for a few different things in something that I would buy:
- Something that has a practical use
- Something sold in a local shop rather than a large store (or something handmade by local artists/designers)
- Something that fits within my budget
As I was thinking about this post last night I realized that these three criteria fit into what I’m hoping to talk more about on this blog–minimalism, sustainability, and budgeting. 🙂
With that in mind I walked around to a number of different shops to see what stood out to me. I did make a small detour into a local jewelry store to browse and it turns out they were selling nose piercing jewelry and I had been looking for a 1mm nose stud for ages! I was going to buy one on Etsy as soon as my budget allowed but these were on sale for $4 and good quality! So I was able to pick one out then and there (a small light blue stud) and they were kind enough to bend it for me as well (I’m always afraid I’ll break it when I try this with my own pliers). That was definitely the win purchase of the day (and the only purchase aside from parking and my snack of sweet potato fries–is anyone else as obsessed with sweet potato fries as I am?).
Sustainable, Minimalist, and Budget-Friendly Gift Ideas
As I was walking around in a few stores, I started to notice that there are quite a few items that are sustainable, practical, and unique that would make wonderful gifts for birthdays, other special events, and just because. 🙂
In one of the jewelry and clothing stores I walked into I saw a really unique idea for a necklace (that I may be going back to get eventually because it’s a great idea!). I love wearing necklaces but storing them has always been a challenge for me–I think I spend more time untangling my necklaces than actually wearing them, especially when I was in college and rushing around to work and classes. This necklace concept gives you one chain and a series of interchangeable features–it’s like having four or five different necklaces without having to worry about them getting tangled up forever. They had quite a few different styles, and it would make a great gift that’s minimalist and practical!
Along the lines of jewelry I started to see more and more items made out of recyclable goods, including bracelets that help fund efforts to remove trash and other pollutants from the ocean and coastlines. Not only was the bracelet something you could wear with anything, the proceeds from the purchase fund environmental protection efforts. 😀 (I googled 4Ocean and they’re a small company based in Florida that funds their ocean cleanup efforts through the sale of their bracelets, which are made out of recycled goods). *Not sponsored/not an affiliate link, just super cool!
Shifting gears a bit, I wandered into another store that happened to have a great selection for a range of prices. The first thing that caught my eye is their selection of metal straws, which they had for $3 each or bundled prices for a discount. They had a few different styles, and it was featured as an affordable, sustainable, and practical option! (I love metal straws, they’re easy to clean, very portable, and affordable so you can have them in different places to make sure you never forget).
On a different shelf there were reusable tote bags of many different styles that could serve as lunch bags, grocery bags, and travel bags. They’re compact and easy to carry/store, which make them a great gift item and something super easy to take back in a suitcase!
There was also an assortment of reusable coffee cups (from collapsable to glass), reusable water bottles (insulated or regular), and reusable straws for cocktail/shorter glasses (which is a great idea because all of the reusable straws I’ve seen are meant for larger glasses!).
Something I didn’t expect to see but thought was wonderful is dryer balls–which are an amazing gift. I bought a few of these a few years ago, because you don’t realize how many dryer sheets you go through until you’re not using them. Plus they’re chemical free, compatible with essential oils (I would put a few drops of Lemongrass on them–which made my laundry smell amazing), and they prevent static. In an effort to be more eco friendly I stopped using dryer sheets, unaware that there was a sustainable alternative, and was dealing with super staticky laundry and really frizzy hair lol!
More Gift Ideas?
Have you bought or received gifts in the past that you absolutely loved? Let me know in the comments! There are so many wonderful stores that sell practical and sustainable gifts, and most of them fit super easily into a suitcase!
I’m currently working on a post (with a few special guests!) featuring easy and budget-friendly shifts you can make in everyday life to be more sustainable, so be on the lookout for that soon!
P.S. As you may have seen on my social media, I adopted a dog a little over a week ago! His name is Oliver and he’s been adjusting really well! 🙂 Let me know if you’d like to see posts about him in the future!