We all have more things in our home than what we are currently using. We might even have a lot of things collected – things we bought when we couldn’t find the other ones and/or things we bought in bulk or when it was on sale. Our spaces might be significantly limited – so there’s only room for a few things close by where we use them. I am asked regularly whether I think people should get rid of these duplicates – “don’t I need to purge the excess stuff?”
Some people think that most things in excess are the very things to pass along – donate, recycle, even throw away. You’ve probably heard “experts” talking about how if you have clothes that don’t fit, get rid of them. If you have 10 bottles of shampoo – donate them to a shelter or something. The bottom line of the thinking seems to be to remove all those unnecessary things and free up the space in your home.
With much of what I talk about – I believe that there are no absolute answers for people. Yes, you can create more space by donating the clothes that do not fit. Yet, what are the factors that motivate you to keep those same clothes? Considering your own situation means that the solutions fit your life. Remember, there is no one right answer.
Therefore, consider that all those things you have “extra” of are the things that you can go shopping for – right in your home. And you won’t have to buy them – again.
This idea is familiar with those who have a root cellar – or simply keep some of their food in the basement. Yes, it can function as a food supply in case of an emergency, yet it is also hopefully food that you move upstairs when you run out of that particular item and then replenishing the supply. We can apply this idea to other things that we have more than what we’re actively using right now.
The key is to make it relatively easy to find what you’ll need – it is about making it more like going shopping. What are the broad categories of things you have? If you have beauty products – shampoos, toothpaste, lotion – get these all together. Initially it can be the general group of bathroom items and then you can make sure each division is together. That way when you run out of shampoo, you go to the place where the extras are and pick up another bottle to resupply your shower.
If you have more than one size of clothes, consider what it is like to grab one of them not knowing if it will fit you. Like with anything you are keeping “extra” of, getting them sorted can make all the difference down the road. Get all the clothes that are one size down from where you are right now and keep them together. Under the bed bins can be great for this – it keeps the clothes out of the way, maximizing your usable space, and allowing them to be accessible when you need them. Where you store clothes that don’t currently fit isn’t as important as keeping them out of your usable space and having groupings for each size. Then when it’s time to dig into another size – hopefully smaller – you know that what is there are all things that will fit you. You get a “new” wardrobe without spending any more money – all by going shopping in your own home.
Many of us already do this to a lesser degree, we have an extra shampoo and whatever – so we don’t have to rush to the store if we run out or forget to pick it up at the store. When we pull out that duplicate item to use, we add it to the list for the next shopping trip. Even when we don’t pick up another – whether the store is temporarily out or we simply forget despite the list – there’s enough time to get that thing on the next shopping trip before we’ll need it.
It feels less like shopping when you have only the single duplicate, yet it’s about using what you already have. If the things you have are things you are going to use eventually – then why not set things up so you can access and use them with minimal effort? The key is to make sure they are things you will use – want to use – and part with those things you won’t use.
We can apply this idea to various things:
- any consumables i.e. food, cleaning products, beauty products, paper products, etc.
- a supply of possible gifts
- the décor you don’t have room for right now but want to switch out periodically or are simply not ready to part with
As you can see it is not necessarily about having to get rid of the things you are not currently using, it is about making sure you can use and appreciate the things you do have – even if it’s at some future point. Sometimes it even feels fun to “go shopping” in your home and rediscover the treasures you are now ready to use – some people have compared it to Christmas or a birthday, you have all these gifts you’d not quite remembered. This can happen even as you sort the things – preparing them for future use. If you will use those extra things in the future, you can create the systems to make it easy to find and then use them – to go shopping in your own home.