Use What You Have

I've been enjoying Merlin Mann's War on Clutter posts:

My War on Clutter
My War on Clutter: Never “organize” what you can discard
My War on Clutter: The Tools to Purge BIG
My War on Clutter: Inspiration for Independence Day
Vox Pop: Converting clutter from trash to treasure

Because we're moving in three weeks, I've been frantically packing MANY boxes, and I've done one haul to Goodwill so far, with at least one or two more to come. I did a variation on the 27-fling boogie, and as I've mentioned here, I implemented a plan for us to eat all the food in our house so that 1.) we won't have to waste much; 2.) we can pack the dishes, pots, pans, flatware, and glasses sooner; and 3.) it will be easier for us to clean the refrigerator and pantry as we near the moveout date.

As I've also mentioned here, I haven't bought shower gels or soaps since late 2006, which has ended up meaning that we had, so far, a seven-month supply of the stuff. It will end up being a lot more than seven months total, though, as we still have two bottles of shower gel, one Bath & Body Works coconut lime verbena soap, and last night I used all of my samples of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfume oil to make soap using a base I got from a craft store several months ago (nine soaps total). I still have more soap base and perfume oil, too. I wouldn't be surprised if my supply carries us into 2008.

Being conscious of this copious supply of bath stuff has been less than pleasant. I do love good smells, but I'm painfully aware of the need to declutter by using the things I have,

(I'm talking here about my particular impulse overbuys, which are:

  • bath stuff
  • hair products
  • perfume
  • lotion
  • cute office supplies like gel pens, little notebooks, and stationery
  • makeup)

and not buying new stuff just because it smells good or has seductive packaging. I can reduce so much of my clutter-related anxiety and save so much money just by using what I have. It's such a simple concept, but it's been a breakthrough of sorts for me. I've put an official moratorium on buying the things on that list until I've used all of my current supply of that thing.

My mom has always been big on stocking up on supplies. I agree that it's important to have about a week's worth of stuff you need, like food and toiletries, but I've been taking it way too far.

Anyway, my contribution to the War on Clutter blogging effort is the following:

  1. Identify the specific things you have way too much of (also your buying habits)
  2. Don't buy any more of those things until you use what you have (if the things you overbuy are, in fact, use-up-able)
  3. Get rid of anything you feel less than taste-confident about. As I've mentioned recently, I feel somewhat insecure about my personal taste. Most of my knickknacks are cute, but they look like stuff that would be in a 21-year-old's apartment (because hey, that's what I like). So if I'm not really proud of it, off to Goodwill it goes.


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2 Board Alley

But cute office supplies are . . .cute! Unless you never use them! I have been spending the last few years in my personal battle with knick-knacks. Unless the knick-knack does duty as something useful, like a vase, a bookend or whatever, I give it away, give it to Goodwill, or refuse to buy it in the first place. Who has time to care for all of that stuff?

But I do buy things like toilet paper, paper towels and Advil in bulk because they will be used, and once the semester begins, I like to streamline my life as much as possible, which includes slowing down the time spent grocery shopping.

Good plans.

Oh, absolutely, some supplies must be stocked up on, like the paper products you mentioned -- and many other things, actually. And I have every intention to continue to have yummy smelling things and cute office supplies; I just have TOO MUCH now so, like I said, I've instituted a moratorium on buying new stuff until I use all the stuff I have.

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