Things I Have to Keep, Even Though I Don’t Want Them, Because Otherwise I Will Keep Buying Them

I wanted to make a whole multi-exampled post about this topic, but I can only think of one example. I know I’ve thought of OTHER examples while thinking about this topic before, but right NOW is when I want to write about it and I can only think of one. The topic is: Things I Have to Keep, Even Though I Don’t Want Them, Because Otherwise I Will Keep Buying Them.

And my example is headbands. I think of myself as liking headbands. Whenever I have a new hairstyle and I’m looking for ways to wear it, I think of headbands. But I don’t look good in headbands. It is some combination of my glasses and my face shape and perhaps my type of hair and my personality. All I have to do is put a headband on to remember this VIVIDLY.

I am not the only one to think so, either. When I worked at the pharmacy, I had a day I couldn’t get my hair to do anything so I put a headband in it. A co-worker (not a mean one) blurted out a laughing “Oh my god, you look like a politician’s wife!” So you see.

Several times I have, in a fit of “Don’t waste space storing things you don’t even want,” thrown out all my headbands. Which means that I can absolutely throw some money right out with them, because I WILL buy more headbands later, forgetting I don’t like the way I look in them. I’ll REMEMBER throwing out the headbands, but I’ll think, “Well, perhaps THAT haircut didn’t work with them, but I’ll bet THIS one would be adorable!” or “Well, perhaps I was just a bit down on myself that day and didn’t realize I actually looked cute in them.” I will buy more headbands, and lower the first one onto my hair, and oh dear.

So, even though it is silly to keep something I don’t like and never use, it is WELL WORTH IT to do so in the case of headbands: I need a headband (in fact, TWO headbands) to keep me from buying headbands. (Also, very rarely they come in handy if I want to do a face mask or something.)

I wish I could think of more examples of this, because I KNOW I have more items that I keep only so I won’t keep buying them. Perhaps after I post this, more will occur to me—or perhaps you will have similar things to report and those will jog my memory.

32 thoughts on “Things I Have to Keep, Even Though I Don’t Want Them, Because Otherwise I Will Keep Buying Them

  1. Kate

    For me, it’s that gradual tanning moisturizer/self-tanner stuff. I buy it, use it twice and leave it on the shelf. I’ve thought about throwing the latest bottle away-it might even be expired-but I know I’d be seduced again.

    1. H

      This one of mine too. (I didn’t think of it until I read your comment, though.) I tan but in a ruddy/red tone and the self-tanner stuff seems to be the wrong color for me. Every so often, I will buy more thinking maybe THIS brand will work or maybe there’s been a major advance in self-tanning formulas and the newer versions will work. I’m always disappointed so now I keep the last tube I tried in my bathroom in case I’m tempted.

  2. BKC

    Mine is hairspray. I think, “Gosh, I’ll get up early this week and give myself cute hair and then it will stay and be perfect!” But it never is and the nearly full can of hairspray is my reminder if I ever get those lofty ideas again.

    Oooh, also a bag of scrapbook paper I bought at a garage sale. I told myself, “If you use this up, you can go down THAT aisle at Michael’s.” But apparently only my heart is a scrapper. I have to believe it’s saving me money, though.

  3. Ms. Key

    I never verbalized it this way before but I do the same thing with headbands! When I wear them they bother me behind the ears, and they don’t stay well on my head. However, I always keep them around and have tried buying many different styles over the years. Haha. Maybe we’ve both seen those cute photos of gals in headbands and hoped for the best… Not meant to be!

  4. Stefanie

    I have probably at least eight headbands in my vanity at the moment. Thank you for reminding me that I should throw away all but ONE (maybe two) of them.

  5. kimi

    Hairbands for me, too

    Cute notecards – I don’t write people notes, but I like the idea of it.

    Hair straightener


    1. Swistle Post author

      Oh! Cute gift-tags is one of mine! I never use gift-tags: I either write directly on the wrapping paper or I use a sticker. I have to own a box of cute gift-tags or else I’ll buy more of them thinking I’ll use them.

  6. christa

    Headbands are good for keeping your hair out your face when you are washing it (your face that is)!

  7. Kim

    Eye shadow. Otherwise I lose my mind a couple of times a year and think that if I find that perfect color, maybe I’d be more inclined to wear it. Forgetting that I can’t stand the feel of anything on my eyelids. (“But I’m sure a *cream* would be different…” “Well, clearly a mineral would feel different…”)

  8. jkinda

    cute hats. they are only cute on other people.

    sleeveless workout tee-shirts/tank tops.


    1. Swistle Post author

      YES! Tank tops are one of mine, too! If I don’t keep a few tank tops around to remind me of how I look in tank tops, I keep buying more tank tops.

  9. Nicole Boyhouse

    I wear headbands when I’m exercising, because that’s what keeps those stray hairs off my face, the hairs that don’t fit into my bun. I always think I’ll use them when I wear my hair down but NO. It looks awful on me!

  10. Gigi

    Funny – I’ve done the same with headbands. And, at least according to all the comments, apparently very few women can pull off headbands.

  11. allison

    This is BRILLIANT. This is one of those things I’ve needed someone else to articulate. For me it’s high heeled shoes – my husband always wants me to wear them and every once in a while I think – well, all those things you said about headbands. And they ALWAYS look awful – they make me look unbalanced and they make my butt look bigger, and I end up feeling furious at my husband for instigating the whole thing, even though I really think he doesn’t see how bad it is. I think I look best in flat, clunky footwear no matter how dressed up I am, partly because it’s a look that works for me and partly because it’s how I’m most comfortable. But I need to own one pair of heels so i don’t keep buying new ones.

    1. KeraLinnea

      YES!! Once a year I make an effort with the hot rollers–“Maybe THIS time, if I spritz a little dry shampoo in my hair first, and if I section my hair really carefully, and wait til allllll the rollers are completely cool”–but no. Does not work. My hair is determined to be straight, and that is all there is to it. But I keep the rollers, because I would definitely buy them again. In fact, I have been in Target and looked at different hot rollers, because maybe these hot rollers will work better. And the only reason I haven’t bought more is I know I would feel foolish having TWO sets in the closet.

      And add me to the “headbands don’t work” crowd. I keep them for when I have shorter hair that won’t pull into a pony but can still get in my face. I use them for working out and face-washing.

  12. Bethtastic

    I have a dress that looks simply awful on me. I can’t wear the cute crewneck style dresses that always look nice with a coordinating necklace. Crewneck makes my chest look even bigger and more disproportionate than it already looks.

    But I keep that adorable dress and try it on once in a while to remember that I should never, never wear it, or buy that style again. Ever.

  13. Laura

    Personal journals. I have them stashed everywhere. I was just scolding myself the other day to just stop buying journals already. I actually have a new rule (and don’t they say if you have to have a rule, you have a problem?) no more journals until I completely fill one up. Of course, that would require the purchase of a medium point, black Uniball roller pen, and I just overcame my pen problem.

    Love this post. Another classic!

  14. Marie

    Yes! I have noticed this too, and i also can’t remember all my examples at the moment.

    Hairdriers. Yes, I have two now. Straight hair isn’t happening for me.
    Ditto with fancy brushes. My hair doesn’t do brushes.
    Any kind of facial makeup, especially with sunscreen.
    Facial scrubs. One in my shower and one in my cabinet, in case.
    Cat beds. Srsly. My remaining cat would rather just lie on the vent.
    Bunk beans of several kinds. See also: pressure cooker.
    Fie folder boxes.
    Maxi dresses. hahaha! The one is my closet is awesome. I just don’t wear it. See also: trench coat.

    Obviously, this concept is alive and well at my house.

  15. Monica

    Those creams or sprays that are supposed to make your hair frizz-free and shiny when you straighten it. They all just make my hair look greasy, but if I don’t keep a few bottles around, I just buy more, thinking this new one will work. Having a variety of hand makes me realize that they’re all useless and it doesn’t matter which brand it is.

  16. Monica

    To add to the headband conversation: I have probably ten of the elastic ones you’re supposed to wear while working out, and even though they’re the “no slip” kind they still always fall off if I don’t secure them with bobby pins. And if I’m already using bobby pins, what’s the point? But I can’t get rid of them because if I do, the next time I start working out regularly I will buy them again.

    I do have a few headbands I managed to pull off semi-gracefully when they were trendy in 2011. They’re the mostly-invisible kind that has a flower or bow or something decorative on the side. Makes it look like it’s staying in your hair all on its own. I still own them even though they’re out of style because I was SO PROUD that I had finally worn a headband successfully. Will I ever wear it again? Probably not, but at least I won’t buy any more.

    1. LCAmazing

      Monica, I had the same problem until I discovered Sweaty Bands! I sound like I’m shilling for them in an infomercial, and the name is dumb, but I’m unaffiliated with the company, and I love them anyway. They’re backed with velvet, which somehow makes them not slip at all, and I do hot vinyasa yoga for 1+ hour at a time. Headbands still don’t look GOOD on me, but that’s another matter.

      And since I’m commenting, Swistle, I understand that I sound unhinged, but I’ve read your blog for years and I adore you, and you once commented on my now-defunct blog, which made my day, but I’ve never commented here for some reason. BUT last night I dreamed that I visited you and you, your kids, and I went to a baseball game and redecorated your hallway. And I was trying to figure out your kids’ names since you welcomed me into your home, but you only introduced them by their aliases. It was a good dream.

      1. Swistle Post author

        I love this. I dream about other bloggers all the time. Now, tell me how we decorated my hallway, because I have never been able to think of anything good.

      2. SalGal

        Ditto the Sweaty Band love! They are fabulous at staying put and actually stay BETTER if your hair is sweaty. AND AND AND – Target is carrying them now!!! They’re crazy expensive and may not make you LOOK any better if headbands aren’t your thing, but they are so comfy and great at keeping sweat out of your eyes.

  17. Jenny

    My head is too big to wear headbands. They always pinch me and make me feel like my head is slowly being pressed between two planks. I always look at them and think, “Surely to God this one would be big enough” but no. My head is just implausibly large; orange on a toothpick territory. So I keep a couple around to remind me. The rest I gave to my daughter.

  18. Rbelle

    Yes to journals, workout headbands (they actually look fine on me, but they slip constantly, so I don’t wear them), and hair rollers/curling irons/flat irons (I have too much hair for curling – it took 90 minutes for a friend to curl my hair on my wedding day, and yet I still think I will someday invest the time. Also, I put hot rollers on my Christmas list every year! Why?). Lipstick. Stationery. And certain basic baby toys (blocks, nesting balls) that I would get rid of because it seems like they’re outgrown, only I would probably buy more/a different kind later because I think the toddler would still maybe play with them.

  19. Jane in Pa

    I was thinking that I had stopped doing this kind of stuff when I found myself with a new “anti-frizz/perfect the blow out/flat iron process” item in my cart at Target…despite the fact that I already have about 5 or 6 other items that were supposed to do that. Sad but true…

  20. nic

    Yes! This concept, but with necklaces (never owned a single shirt/top/dress that they go with, yet I keep buying them, giving them away, *oh look how pretty*-buying new ones). Also kitchen items, though mainly of the ‘from scratch’ variety: dry beans and chickpeas etc. that need a few hours to cook. I will never voluntarily spend more than half an hour a day thinking about / preparing food, so why do I fool myself into thinking I will cook those rather than using them precooked from a can? Keeping a few bags around though, just so I won’t buy more…

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