Quality Over Quantity – How I Buy Once for Decades of Use

There are those things in life we like to have more of, both in quantity and quality.  In this article we’re going to look at the benefits of both and what it means to place more value on quality than quantity.

Quality over quantity is the practice of placing more value on something with a higher standard than on having more in numbers.  When we focus more on quality, we reap the benefits of more time, sustainability, less stress, and even more money.

Do you think it’s more important to have more of something, or is quality more important?  What things do you think have more value in quality than quantity?

What Is Quality Over Quantity?

First let’s look at the definitions of these words:

  • Quality is a characteristic or a degree of excellence, as well as how bad or good something is.  A higher standard.
  • Quantity is the number or amount of something.

Quality over quantity is a concept that prioritizes values, experiences, and relationships over having and consuming more. It’s appreciating how great something is over how much of something we have. It emphasizes the importance of ridding our lives of unnecessary distractions to focus on the things and people that are most important. A lifestyle that values quality over quantity can ultimately be more meaningful and satisfying.

Quality time with friends - Quality Over Quantity - Gone Minimal
Three friends enjoying quality time and food

Benefits of Quality Over Quantity

When we focus on quality over quantity, we reap many benefits:

  • Sustainability
  • Saves time
  • Saves money
  • Less stress
  • Increased satisfaction
  • Improved style
  • More knowledge
  • More meaningful relationships
  • Increased health
  • More happiness

There are many more benefits of focusing on quality over quantity, in which case we should look at some specific examples to make more sense of it.

When we focus on quality over quantity, we reap many benefits

Examples of Quality Over Quantity

We’ve seen some general benefits of quality over quantity, but how does that work exactly?  Let’s take a look:

  • Clothing and shoes: When we choose quality over quantity, we choose sustainability as well as space-saving.  Higher quality clothing probably means less pieces of clothing needed, which saves us some space.  We are also spending less money overall, as we don’t have to replace items as often due to higher quality of fabrics and textiles.
  • Foods:  Quality over quantity means making better food choices.  Healthier foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and dairy products are much better for us than boxes and bags of foods with preservatives and little to no nutritional value like potato chips, cookies, crackers, and junk.  Guess what else this contributes to?  Less obesity and way less illness!
  • Exercise:  When we choose the right (quality) exercise, we reap the health benefits.  If we’re not putting in the effort to get or stay in shape, we risk getting injured due to poor form, and we waste our own time.  For example: when we go for a run but drag our feet, play on our phones, and don’t try very hard we don’t get nearly as good of a workout in the end.

Now let’s dive a little deeper into some specific categories where quality rules over quantity.

Man riding a bike - Quality Over Quantity - Gone Minimal
Man riding a bike for quality fitness

Areas to Apply Quality Over Quantity

Quality Over Quantity With Friends – Take a look at your social media account.  If you’ve got six thousand friends, you can’t possibly stay in contact with all of them in a meaningful way consistently.  It would be much higher quality interactions with six friends, as this is more feasible.  The same goes for a party or night out on the town, a party of four guarantees quality conversations and interactions over a party of forty people.

 Quality Over Quantity With Relationships – This is similar to the above point with friends, but on a more personal level.  When we choose more meaningful (quality) relationships with partners, we learn more and grow more than if we did the opposite.  Engaging in multiple shallow partnerships leads to more potential for heartbreak and pain, less meaningful events and partners, and less personal growth due to the shallow nature of these relationships. 

A party of four guarantees quality conversations and interactions over a party of forty people.

Quality Over Quantity With Clothes – Look in your closet and think about how often you have to replace clothing items due to wear and tear.  When we choose higher quality pieces, they last longer and resist wear and tear.  This saves money in the long run due to less frequent replacement.  Higher quality clothing also can mean less is needed overall, which can lead to some saved space in your closet!  

Quality Over Quantity With Possessions – If you’ve ever considered a minimalist lifestyle, you already know what I’m referring to here!  When we choose quality over quantity with our possessions, we save space and time as well as money.  Less possessions equals less clutter, which is less cleaning and organization which leads to more time for the fun stuff.  Wouldn’t you rather have a nicely and comfortably decorated home than a cluttered home?

Quality Over Quantity With Time Spent – This is a big one-because we’re all busy and don’t have a great deal of time to spare.  When we use our time wisely (quality), we have more time for the things that really matter.  So put down your smartphone, stop dilly-dallying, get organized and get that task list done!

Enjoy this relaxing day in the life of a minimalist as she discusses quality over quantity in this insightful video:

How Do You Buy Quality Over Quantity?

Choosing to buy quality over quantity take some time and practice, and this varies with the types of products being purchased.  There are a few things to look at when making the choice:

  • Choose where you buy wisely.  It’s not always about name brand or lowest price, it’s about how long the product lasts and if the store stands behind what they sell.
  • Look at labels for care instructions, product ingredients, fabrics, etc.  Consider what types of care you’re willing to perform.  Ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce-you probably don’t want them in your body.  Synthetic fabrics don’t last as long as natural fabrics so choose wisely.
  • Don’t fall for quick fashion.  If it’s trendy now, it won’t be in about 6 months (or less!).  Stick to clothing staples that withstand the test of time over fast fashion trends.
  • Create a budget and figure out where you need quality and where you need quantity.  Example: you probably need more eggs for breakfast, cooking, baking, etc. so quantity would suit you better there.  

Which Is Better, Quality or Quantity?

For some categories, quality is better.  Take your vehicle, for instance.  When you purchased it, you took it for a test drive and looked at fuel economy, power options, financing options and monthly payments.  You bought (or leased) the car that fit your needs that you could afford.  Quality meant more to you there because you needed a dependable vehicle to get you from point A to point B without the fear of breakdowns or safety issues.

Let’s look at another category: money.  That’s definitely something we’d all like more of.  With more (quantity) money, we don’t have to stress over paying bills.  We might even have enough for the fun stuff after all is said and done.  Does more money buy more happiness?  Not necessarily, but it certainly decreases the stress!

Minimal quality clothes over quantity - Quality Over Quantity - Gone Minimal
Minimal quality clothes over quantity

Is Quality Over Quantity Always True?

I think that depends on what we’re talking about.  Like with our examples above, there are some things that are always better in quality than quantity.  However, there are some things that are sometimes better the other way around.  For instance, time. 

The time we spend with others should have a certain level of quality to it, but sometimes that’s not enough.  We want more time with our loved ones and those we enjoy being around, which potentially puts quantity over quality.  

We want more time with our loved ones and those we enjoy being around, which potentially puts quantity over quality.  

How Quality Over Quantity Can Change Your Life

When you practice putting more focus on quality over quantity, it can change many things in your life.  You could be saving money by not having to buy as much, which makes it easier to pay the bills and even do something fun.  You save time by shopping less often and purchasing items that last longer.

That’s time you can spend with your family, relaxing, getting work done, or even catching some zzz’s.  So with more money, more time, and less stress-you’re happier and more well rested which could change anyone’s life!

Examples of Quality Over Quantity – From Real People

I asked 5 family and friends what top 4 areas (objects, people, time, etc.) they would value to choose quality over quantity. Here is what they shared and what I learned:

Area# of Family and Friends
Loved ones5
Streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Apple tv+, etc.)2
Home/living space2

Other Resources:

Making the choice of quality over quantity is not always easy to come by.  When you look at how much something costs now versus over time however, you can see where quality gets you more in the long run and can actually save money.  Whether it’s groceries, clothing, shoes, or even people, quality over quantity can be a better choice that can make major changes in your everyday life.

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