Convenience

How much clutter do you have in your home that’s purpose is convenience. There is no doubt that much of the clutter that enters our homes does so under the guise of adding convenience to our daily lives. Items that supposedly save us time, and in some cases actually do, but end up taking up a lot of space and possibly just making us a little lazy.

Here are a list of things that I came up with. Some of which I happily live without, others I soon will and others I won’t be parting with.

  • Laundry trolley:~ I don’t have one of these. I decluttered mine in preference for the extra exercise of lifting and bending. Also I chose a folding bag to take my clothes to the clothes line because a plastic basket was too bulky in my small laundry.
  • A Clothes Dryer:~ Some folks couldn’t do without one of these because of climactic conditions or housing style. While for many people, who live in the sort of climate I live in, these really are just a convenience. Either to save them hanging out the washing or for when wet weather does set in. In times of extended wet weather a quick trip to a laundromat occasionally would suffice. Neither my mother, mother-in-law or sister have one. I have a washer dryer combo machine so I have the best of both worlds ~ a dryer when I need it and no wasted space.
  • Stepping stool:~ I have two of these from when I lived in America. One was for upstairs and one down. Now I keep one inside and one in the garage. Handy for getting into, not too, high places. I have offered one to my son, which I will remind him to take the next time he is at my house. Having just one will mean I get a little extra exercise taking it from one place to the other.
  • Dishes:~ I have enough dishes so that I can have plenty to fill the dishwasher but have leftovers to use while it is operating. Right now the dishwasher is on the fritz and I am finding I require fewer dishes because the dirty ones end up back in the cupboard sooner. Standing at the sink doing the dishes by hand is once again a little more movement in my day. However I am still pretty keen for the dishwasher to be repaired.
  • Dishwasher:~ Despite my last statement this is definitely a convenience item. Out of 26 years of marriage I have had a dishwasher for twelve. I managed quite well without it in those other years. And needed less dishes.
  • Vehicles:~ My husband and I have two vehicles. One motorbike that he rides to work most days (big fuel saving there) and one small car which generally doesn’t get driven much except on the weekends. Do we need both vehicles, no, not really. However it would make the most sense to keep the car because the motorbike is not a good choice for my husband to commute 30kms to work on the rainy days. The reality is that having both isn’t just a convenience but also saves fuel and therefore money. Even taking into account the extra insurance and licensing. With one less vehicle I would have to walk just a little more and or take the bus occasionally.
  • Extra Supplies:~ It used to seem convenient for me to have spares of some things waiting in the wings for the moment they were needed. Shampoo, conditioner, other toiletries, pantry items, craft items, paper towel… It occurred to me at one point that all of this was unnecessary. The shops are close enough and running out of any of them was not going to cause life as we know it to come to an end. So I stopped stocking them and allowed the stores to do it for me.
  • Tools:~ I used to have in indoor tool kit so I didn’t need to go out to the garage to collect tools to do quick little jobs around the house. When my son moved out recently I gave him the indoor set to take with him. And you guessed it, the extra exercise to go out to the garage is good for me.
  • Trash cans in all rooms:~ One again how hard is it to take trash from a bedroom and into a nearby bathroom or the kitchen. Not hard at all.
  • Stuff on benches:~ If your cupboards and drawers aren’t full of spares and excess there will be room in them to store your everyday things within easy reach. Make-up, toiletries, hair brushes, kitchen gadgets, stationery items… This will clear the horizontal surfaces of clutter making them much sweeter on the eyes. A tiny bit of extra effort opening a door and maybe bending a little won’t do you any harm.

These are just a few examples of convenience clutter that I could come up with on a quick walk around my house and a little memory searching. With so much already gone from my home I dare say I have missed mentioning many “convenience” items that were once cluttering up my home. If you are concerned with all the extra exercise I mentioned against many of the examples above then consider this ~ A little extra exercise can only be good for you, but may be equaled or even surpassed by the reduction in effort required to clean your home with all that clutter out of the way.

Give this concept some thought the next time you are deciding should something stay or should it go. Can you think of anything in your home that might be convenience clutter that you could happy live without.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something you only keep in your home for those rare visitors that drop by maybe once or twice a year. They can always bring their own or do without. ~ Hair dryer, spare toothbrush, a variety of soap, talcum powder, more linen and towels than necessary…

Eco Tip for the Day

Spend a week only driving your car when necessary. Plan your trips to cover more than one task. See how much fuel you save. You might be surprised how often you go out in your car for quick trips that you really shouldn’t need to. Perhaps this will be inspiration to continue with this was of driving.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

  • Master Your Space As anyone who has been reading my blog for a while would know, my decluttering style is usually slow, steady and haphazard. That is, I declutter random items from all over the house, […]
  • Day 107 Unclutter the ironing basket Now I know that uncluttering your ironing basket doesn't actually remove anything from your house but it sure would lighten your To-Do List leaving more time for real de-cluttering. […]
  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Perishables Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. My pasta maker was for convenience! It went via free cycle not long ago. Not convenient at all, just a messy time waster. Francesca.

    • HI Francesca, I used to have a pasta maker too. I initially bought it (secondhand) for a craft project but that didn’t pan out. I used it to make pasta once but the family didn’t seem all that impressed. Then my hubby starting eating low cab so it was time to let the pasta maker go.

  2. Natalie (@NatalieInCA) :

    I’ve almost gotten rid of my second stepping stool a few months, but I have now re-purposed it under my standing desk as a one foot rest. I love my standing desk, will not go back to sitting.
    I use my dryer as little as possible but found it is a huge time saver for small items like socks, underwear, napkins, wash cloth etc… It is so long to hang them on the clothes line one by one with a clothespin so they don’t get blown away by the wind. I sometimes use an indoor dryer rack, but don’t have much space and it does not look good in my living room. I also have a clothes line above my bathroom tub for rainy days. How do you do it? And you are absolutely right, this is just for convenience. I lived so many years without a dryer in Europe.

    • Hi Natalie, that does sound like a lot of drying options. I am only one short of that. I have the outdoor clothes line, the airing rack (which I use a lot) and the clothes dryer. After extensive experimenting I do prefer to hang outside. The dryer gets used twice a week to soften towels, only for half and hour and then they go out on the line to finish drying. I like hanging the clothes outside because not only do I get the exercise but also a little dose of sunshine. I bring the dried clothes in by the armful which causes me to do several trips in and out but I just chalk that up to extra exercise. I actually enjoy it.

  3. Convenience items. There are so many of those I can think of. But I think we are beginning to declutter most of those. We do have a dryer but I think if we ever move that will go. I will pick someplace where we can hang things to dry. In our climate it doesn’t take long. I am amazed at how many things we used to have just for convenience. In most cases they were things given to us as gifts. I could never figure out why we needed a rice steamer, a tortilla steamer, two crockpots, baking stones we seldom used, two food processors (different sizes), etc. It just goes on and on. I’m so glad we have given away most of that. It’s nice to be free of that.

  4. I was tempted to have an upstairs and downstairs vacuum in my 66sqm apartment when I upgraded to a Dyson! Rest assured I sold the old one – cause I always preferred the Dyson (even lugging it around) over the old beast!

    Just yesterday I blogged about my laundry habit including no dryer. I live so close to multiple laundromats it seemed silly to buy one (even if my Dad thinks I’m not a real grown up or some nonsense – weird cause he’s usually so frugal!)

    When you said convenience, I was thinking more in terms of food – preprepared, complete with lots of packaging (fruit, salad, stir fry kits). Thankfully IGA isn’t that into those products so I’m not even tempted!

    • Hi Sarah N, I understand why you were tempted to keep the second vacuum, lugging them up and down stairs can get tiresome. I actually don’t mind taking mine up and down, what I do hate though is vacuuming the carpeted stairs. I hope my next place either doesn’t have stairs or that they are not carpeted.

      I agree, convenience food usually means unhealthy and highly packaged. Most assuredly best to steer away from it.

  5. Colleen I have been guilty of the Extra Supplies convenience in the past, especially if the items were on sale or specials at the supermarket. I now agree that there’s almost nothing that can’t be replaced easily (unless one lives in the country far from a store) or substituted with something else. As I’ve used up all my extra supplies now there is space in my cupboards for a few more countertop items in kitchen and bathroom to be stored out of sight 🙂

    • Good for you Megan S. The one think I have noticed is that supermarkets constantly have things on special so I just keep an eye out when my products are on the verge of running out and pick them up then. It is rare that I pay full price and they are never in the cupboard for long. usually only a matter of days.

  6. I find drinking glasses are annoying. You have them all washed and clean sitting in the cupboard , and there is too many. They get used and clutter up the sink waiting to be washed. You reduce them and you have a bad week and break a couple,( usually the ones cluttering the sink space) I like the small sized ones, they take up less space, but everyone uses the large ones for a glass of water in their bedrooms.
    I did replace my electric rice cooker with a microwave container, which cooks quinoa , polenta, and couscous . I used it last night and found it was less messy and faster than the electric one. I always make a mess with the saucepan method as well.
    I have two stainless steel coffee plungers. They have escaped notice until this weeks missions have made me think about them. They will be re gifted to someone I know whose glass plunger was broken by her rooster ( I have yet to get the details of this event).
    We have a step ladder which is so handy for changing light bulbs, batteries in smoke detectors and placing ‘stuff’ up in the top cupboards. My husband has an assortment of ladders for outside use.
    I have two laundry trollies! Would you like one Colleen?

    • Solution to the drinking glass crisis ~ Concoct some sort of way to make each household members glass. I made a set of wire beaded identifiers that hang on the edge of a glass for each person on my house. When they take a glass to drink from they are then responsible for rinsing it after use and putting there ID marker on it. This way everyone uses the same glass all day and only that number of glasses need washing at the end of the day. My hubby uses his marker all the time and puts his glass in a corner of the kitchen bench. He never uses more than one glass. I just put my glass beside his with no markers because with only two of us doing this only one has to be identified.

      My saucepan method for rice is pretty much foolproof but I have not tried quinoa or polenta so can’t help with them.

      I am curious about the rooster even. You will have to investigate and share the whole story.

      No I most certainly do not want a laundry trolley. Thank you for your kind offer though. Cheeky devil. I will talk to you about that at the cafe today. 😉

      • The saucepan method works great for quinoa, polenta, and just about any grain I have ever tried.

    • Wendy F – Rooster decluttering? That’s a new one.

      I have a rice cooker and it does get used reguarly, one of my work mates has a microwave one (his son broke his electric one), the main advantage the rice cooker has for me is that it is set and forget and that it keeps the rice warm – the rice cooker and crock pot are handy for busy evenings when the family is going in all directions. But once they’ve left home we won’t need a big one (to be honest I was admiring a 2 cup one on the weekend) but would probably consider a microwave option once the kids leave home.

      Quite a funny story why we have a rice cooker – I sent hubby to get 5 bags of rice for our survival/emergency kit. I meant 200g bags. He came home with 5 x 10 kilo bags.

  7. I had thought that I may not have much to contribute to this post. However!!!!! I recall that I have a combination rice/veggie steamer. I am not a big rice eater and I think I have steamed broccoli twice in the last 8 years. I would eat broccoli more often if there was a simple way to steam. Is there anyway I can do this in the microwave? I don’t like to boil it. Any suggestions, so that I may declutter this item of “convenience”?

    • I steam asparagus in the microwave and maybe broccoli isn’t much different. Just put it in a small casserole dish that has a lid, put a little water in the bottom and zap for only one minute. Worth trying this method. I used to do this in a plastic bag but I try not to use plastic these days.

      • I certainly think there’s an alternative method to this appliance.

        For years, when we would (maybe twice a year) do crab legs, I’d heat up a massive pot of water to boil them in. Fast forward several years, watched an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown. The proper way to heat crab legs is to wrap them in damp paper towels (I suppose could use real towels, Colleen?) and microwave them a few minutes until warm. This is for the legs that are precook/cracked. Much more simply than wasting all that water and electricity or gas if you have that. 🙂

        • Hi Michelle. We do broccoli in a covered Corning Ware casserole in the microwave all the time. Cooking time will vary with the machine and amount of food. Experiment with that. I have READ that cooking broccoli in the microwave is not at nutritious as steaming, but I don’t remember why. I know that although it appears cooked it isn’t as hot. Drop a blob of butter on nuked broccoli and it doesn’t melt quickly. Oh, and be careful when removing the lid. I learned the hard way that steam burns are painful!

          • I cook almost all our veggies in the microwave. Because I almost always start with frozen (often fresher than fresh because they’re flash frozen in the field), I do not add any water. I have two smallish glass casseroles that I use for this purpose. In my microwave, it’s 6 minutes from frozen to steamy.

          • Thank you so much for that! I think broccoli is going to become a new fav side dish. Seems like we only ever have corn or green beans and I do really like broccoli. Thinking that the steamer is going bye-bye and someone mentioned a plastic bowl on their food processor? I forgot that I also have a blender with a plastic jug (?). I’m sure it has been used just once in 12 years. Ridiculous! First, that I’ve allowed it to take up space and second, when did companies go to plastic when glass is so much better??

    • We steam broccoli in the microwave all the time. We put it in a casserole dish with lid. We don’t put water with it just leave it damp from the water we washed it with. Depending upon the amount and how cooked you like it you cook it for 1-2 minutes.

    • Calico ginger :

      You certainly can steam broccoli in the microwave – and all other green veges too. I use a small pyrex casserole dish with a lid and a little water. Depending on how crunchy you like your veges, you may need to experiment with the time. I also use use a stainless steel steamer that goes on top of the pot I cook potatoes in. Veges done this way are softer. The steamer has a graduated bottom so it fits on a variety of pots. Very frugal, as the steam from the spuds cooks the vegetables above and is not wasted!

    • I just hauled off my veggie steamer to Goodwill this weekend. It spent the last 4.5 years living in my garage unused. I do steam broccoli the way Colleen mentioned…in a casserole dish with a lid in the microwave. It works just fine.

  8. I think some people would consider my microwave a convenience, and is it ever :). Although I have a stove, I don’t want to give up my microwave. It is a time saver for sure. One thing that I learned the hard way to keep on hand, is a small supply of poster board. Sometimes my children need one of these at the last minute for school projects and I like having that on hand. I wished that I lived within walking or biking distance of everything I needed, then I would not need a car and all of the expense that comes with owning one. Maybe one day… I try really hard to do like the eco tip whenever I need to run errands. I plan it out so that I do not have to backtrack and cover as many tasks in the least amount of trips. It helps out a lot, saves time, money, and the environment.

    • Hi Jen, have you ever considered that having that poster board conveniently on hand trains the kids not to plan in advance. When I as going to school I used to ride my bicycle everyday. If I needed supplies I had to pick them up myself form the stationery store on my way home. If I left things to the last minute I would have had to go without. This makes me think that convenience causes more repercussions than clutter. We live in a day and age of having shops open seven days a week and even into the night yet we seem to carry more and more supplies on hand for convenience sake. That really doesn’t make much sense does it.

      • You have raised a valid point because sometimes my children like to procrastinate and not having the supply there would teach a valuable lesson.

    • Hi Jen. I always thought I was a weird person for not liking to go out many times a week to the same destination and liked to do it all at once. I am glad I am not the only one! 🙂

      • Hello Andreia, yes, I am strange like that and I take a list with me too. There is nothing worse than getting home and forgetting something that you needed :).

      • Nothing weird about that Andréia, I prefer not to go at all unless there is a friend and coffee involved. 😉 . Today I have to make a trip to the Apple Store because my power cord is on the fritz. I will not be letting them off lightly because I don’t see why these thing should die after two years. This has happened on every MacBook we have owned. I am very careful with my cable because of that and yet still it is dead. Not a happy camper.

        • I am happy to report the the staff and manager at The Apple Store were not happy that I was unhappy and relented to replace my power cord. It took a little convincing, as it should because there are plenty of dishonest people out there who are happy to rip companies off. They however could see that my cord had been well treated and didn’t want me to be dissatisfied with their product. I very much appreciate their generosity and good customer service.

    • Jen, I know what you mean about the microwave. We do a lot of reheating of food in ours since we try to cook in advance. Microwaves are a great invention. I’m with you about wishing I didn’t have to drive to everything. I also try to plan out my route so that things can be done when I am out and about and I don’t have to make a trip just for one thing.

      • The microwave is a convenience I don’t wish to live without either. In fact next time I will be buying a convection microwave because I would happily live without the inconvenience of having to clean an oven. Once it is just hubby and I to feed I think the convection microwave would be big enough.

  9. Hi Colleen! I like my dryer just fine. It was a convenience before I had children (and I did not have it them 😀 ) but with small children and the pace in which they get their clothes dirty, sometimes it is a necessity. Where I live Laundromats are not easy to find and well, with small children going out to dry clothes…very complicated for me. I have one ladder and it is enough, but I can’t get to higher places without it. Although I abhor doing dishes, I never really warmed up to the idea of a Dishwasher. They are not as good where I live and we have to remove the residues with water (?) before putting inside…so what are they good for? 😀
    Moni, if you are out there, some great news on the bedroom front! And related to today’s post, lots of things that I thought were “convenient” in the bedroom are going for good, because they were just clutter.

    • Hi Andréia, I was one of five children and not only did my mother not have a dryer but we also didn’t have an automatic washing machine. Nor did she use disposable nappies, which included the time when I was born and my siblings were just turned 1, 2 and 3. My mother also worked from home as a private dressmaker, made all our clothes and cooked every meal on a combustion stove which she had to get up early enough to light so it would be hot enough to cook on by the time we all got up for breakfast a seven. Trust me a dryer is a convenience item. Makes me realise how easy I have it now. I love many of my convenience items too and wouldn’t part with them for quids but it is good for my soul to recognise them for what they are and be grateful. I still hope the dishwasher can be fixed but if not I don’t think I will be paying to replace it.

      • Oh well, Colleen! You really did blow my bubble with your reply, lol! 😀 I have many a convenience this day that allows my life to be a lot easier than that of my mother and grandmother. However, my Mom always had a washing machine, or she had someone do her washing, so I don’t recall that chore at our house. I do remember, however, how hard it was from watching my grandmother and godmother do it. I think that the conveniences we have this day should be measured up, not against the past, because we have another kind of life, very different than before, but against our “real” needs. I lived 4 years of one child and 2 years of another without a dryer. I survived, they had clothes, and we could still not have it. However, I like the “convenience” the dryer gives me. I live in an area full of old people and I have heard more than once that we “young ones” have it so easy! I don’t really agree with that in many counts, but, hey, it always makes me wonder how I can make the best of the “easy” part modern world has granted me. 😉

        • Hi Andréia, we had a washing machine, it just wasn’t automatic. My sister and I learned to do the washing and ironing as soon as we were old enough the reach and helped mum out with this some of the time. If we wanted to earn extra pocket money we had to do extra work. Fair enough I would say.

          I agree about our lives being different these days. Once upon a time it was not only respected but expected that the women would stay home and raise the children. Now one is made to feel like some kind of loser for being a full time mother. And at the same time some women I am feel sure feel they must follow a career even though they would rather stay home and raise their children. This sort of pressure is what makes living in this day and age the bit harder I think.

  10. I finally ditched a ton of clutter that was sitting around just for the rare guest. What a relief! I, too, am struggling with the 2 vehicle concept. We have 2 cars (and 2 kids), so the picking up from school would be tough if we had to share a car. I am going to buy a bike and use it as much as possible while the car stays in the lot. At least we will save on gas (and we have no car payment!).

    • Tony, I live in Texas in the near-suburbs, and we only have one car. In fact, this month is our second anniversary of one car ownership. My husband rides his bike to work every day, and both of our kids go to the same school, which is not in the neighborhood and requires driving. However, my parents live next door, so we do borrow a car from them once or twice a month, usually when two kids need to go two directions at once. If we didn’t have that option, though, I’m sure we’d just make it work.

      We went down to one car when the other need too costly of repairs. It was an experiment that went on and on. You might try intentionally driving just one car and forcing yourself to make allowances for school, etc. to see if you could make it work for you.

    • I Tony, what happened to the good old days when kids either road their bikes to school or caught the bus. I try to avoid going at in the car at what I call Mother-o’clock. This is around 9 am and 3pm because that seems to be peak hour where I live. This is simply because so many parents drive their children to school these days. I can only imagine the waste of petrol.

      I found out when I moved here that bus travel to school is free but only if you live over 3km from the school. 3km! That is a long way to walk or ride on a rainy day. 1 or 2 km maybe but 3! I paid for the full student fair ride term ticket for my son because driving him every day would be ridiculous and a waste of time and petrol. Not to mention the fact that it was probably the most risky time to be on the road with all those folks who run late and then drive dangerously.

      I like your idea of riding your bike. Not only is it better for the car but it is also healthy. Just stay safe and wear a helmet. My son is most likely only alive today because he was wearing a helmet when involved in a terrible accident and his recovery was great too.

      • Agreed on all counts. If you saw a map of my town in Jersey (and the bad drivers with the traffic), you would see how I would never send my kids to school on a bike. It is scary enough to do it myself! I’ll keep you posted on my progress…

        • Sadly it is the same in most cities in Australia too. When I was a kid though there must have been several hundred bikes parked in the bike racks at our school every day. The speed of the modern age doesn’t only affect the adults.

          Are your kids not about to catch a bus either?

  11. I know not everyone has this option, but between my mother and I (next-door-neighbors) we have one crock pot, one blender, one electric skillet (which my Dad cannot live without and which I borrow about once a year), one food processor, one subscription to the newspaper, one lawn mower, and one weed eater. I also have a lot more serving pieces than she does, so she borrows freely from me when she has a party.

    • That is a perfect set up Cindy. Can’t work for me of course because the closest I have ever lived to either of our parents is about a 45 minute drive. I did live about 15 minutes from my brother once and that was nice because out kids went to the same school and my sister-in-law would sometimes collect my kids on her way past. The rest of the time they caught the bus.

      However I do borrow things from my neighbour on occasion.

  12. I am blessed to have a week off work and have been diligently sorting and weeding to make my house easier to maintain.

    However at the same time I am assembling an emergency back up kit so I have also been keeping a select list of basic that I need to have in back up supply. In our community most supplies come by barge and if anything delays or prevents the barge then the shelves are empty. We are trying to encourage more of the community to have an emergency supply so we are more resilient as a community. So it has been an interesting week of some out on purpose and some in on purpose.

    The biggest point for the emergency back up is that you have to rotate it so it had better be something you actually eat or use or you will be stuck with a bunch of survival supplies that no one would touch unless they were starving!

  13. A convenience item I won’t give up: my ice tea maker. Before everyone laughs, remember that most people have a coffee maker and no one thinks that’s odd, but I drink a lot more ice tea than coffee.

    A convenience item I decided to give up as a result of this post: my popcorn maker. I’d hung onto it for two reasons. One is that it reminds me of my grandfather. It’s the same type he owned, and he had popcorn for Sunday supper (dinner) every week. Also, although I feel suspicious of what’s in microwave popcorn bags, I tend to be dissatisfied with the quality of popcorn my makers pops, so I use microwave most of the time anyway. I’ll just use a pan if I want to make it the shake-a-shake-a-shake it method.

    • Oh my goodness, are y’all ready to laugh? I went to the cabinet to get my popcorn popper, and it’s gone! Already decluttered! That’s the second time that’s happened to me recently – I thought to declutter an item only to discover it was already gone. Does that mean the house is getting really lean, or does that mean that somewhere along the line I decluttered my brain???

      • Ha ha Cindy, I think it just means you have a busy life and there is so much going on that you forget things occasionally. I am being gentle here because I run into the same situation on far to regular a basis these days myself. Not with decluttering but with a whole lot of other things. Although ever once in a while I do have to consult my photo archives to make sure I have decluttered something rather than waste my time looking for it.

      • this reply just made me smile 🙂

  14. I continue to stock extra supplies not just because it is convenient to do so but also because it saves us a ton of money to stock up while the item is on sale and I have a coupon. I do put a hault on buying more when my stock is significant, as it makes no sense to stock more than can be used, but I am often able to get toothpaste for free with sales and coupons and see no harm in having a few tubes in stock that were free as opposed to having to buy some when we run out.

    • Hi Melissa, what you do makes economical sense there is no point in paying more if you don’t need to. However I will point out one thing. You said “I am often able to get toothpaste for free with sales and coupons and see no harm in having a few tubes in stock that were free as opposed to having to buy some when we run out.” You said here you are OFTEN able… which points out that these sales are quite regular so perhaps you don’t need to partake in them to the point of having to stock a few tubes at a time. Correct me is I misunderstood what you mean by “…a few tubes in stock…” I always bought toothpaste on buy one get one free sales when living in America but at no point did I ever have three spare tubes.

      With no coupons and not so generous sales in Australia keeping extra stock is not so common for me any more. I just keep a close eye on what we need and watch for sales when things are beginning to run out. Keeping track of this is easy because I have so little to keep track of.

      • No, you were right. I have typically have 3 extra tubes or so in our stock. I won’t go past what our space budget will allow though (I have a small plastic drawer separator for keeping toothpaste and when that is full that I won’t get any more even if it is free). As a kid I watched first hand what happens if you go past your space budget. My grandmother had a habit of stocking up on things she could get for free or for pennies and didn’t take into account what she already had on hand and at one point I think she may have had more tubes of toothpaste and more toothbrushes than most drug stores! I don’t want to let myself do anything like that as it just doesn’t make sense and isn’t a good use of space.

        • Hi Melissa, your grandmother’s situation does possibly bring to light the fact that the object behind coupons is to induce people to buy more stuff than they need.

  15. I think convenience is also a very life seasonal ebb and flow. I am pregnant with my third, and everyone but my first is sick with a nasty cold/sinus infection/ear infection/bronchitis. So having a deep stock of needs like kleenex, toilet paper, Tylenol and OJ has been wonderful. Yes the drug store is a block away, but getting two kids ready to go with me is a lot. Where for someone without small children it would be much easier.
    The other side of small children is that they really make you examine the clutter. Often by pulling it out of the cupboard and all over the kitchen floor. Some things are just not worth picking up over and over again. Inconvenient.

    My step stool is the same way. I have to hide it to keep the kids from getting into everything so when I need one, I usually use a chair. But we also have one in every bathroom that is used multiple times a day.

    Kleenex is usually one box out of the way and a box of hankies, where this week it has grown to a box every where I spend more than 10 minutes.

    • Desperate times certainly call for desperate measures Leigh. When I was a kid we only ever used hankies which were pretty rough on the nose after a week of bronchitis/sinus/cold issues. Like your situation, there were often three or four of us down at the same time. How I wish I had lovely soft aloe vera tissues back them. As much as I love to do my bit for the environment my aloe vera tissue are here to stay. I have one box by my bed and one in the living room but once again I only buy a new one when the old one has run out. I can always take the other around with me until the next time I get to the shop. I however, do not have a couple of little children to drag to the shop with me so the degree of difficulty is not so hard. In fact I could send my kids off to take care of the problem for me. So you are so right “…convenience is also a very life seasonal ebb and flow.”. One just needs to know where to draw the line.

  16. this also got me thinking about stocking up on supplies. Over two years ago my sister n law wanted to show me how to save all this money with couponing and store benefits. What it resulted in was a whole bunch of items that I have never used and probably never will and they are taking up cabinet space(again, its been over two years 🙂 ). I have them very well organized but I could use that space for other things. I now need to figure out how to get rid of it since most of the extras are over the counter medicines. Lesson learned, its only a savings if you actually use the products 🙂

    • Hi Angel and welcome to 365 Less Things. There are plenty of arguments for and against but as you demonstrate with your comment one can get carried away and end up wasting money even thought the intention was to do the opposite. Not knowing where to draw the line is the problem. Or allowing the obvious savings to cloud your judgement of how much of something you are really going to use or how much you need to stock. There is a balance best not learned the hard way.

    • Angel – I used to pride myself on having a stock always on hand – strangely, I still always managed to be running to the supermarket but that’s another story in itself!!!! Now my pantry holds about a third of the stock it used to and in the bathrooms I hold one toothpaste and one 4-pack of soap and one shampoo & conditioner in stock and that is all. We could probably pare it back further just to prove we could but I find this level comfortable – nothing worse than discovering 10pm while dripping wet that there is no conditioner left or at 7.30am that the kids have used the last of the toothpaste. Get the feeling this has happened to me?

      Sounds like you’re figured out that it hasn’t been much of a savings even though it was reduced spending. We don’t have coupons in New Zealand just each supermarket advertises the week’s specials usually on Sunday, I try to work my grocery list around that but I got some great advice here on 365 Less Things some time ago, to only part with cash if the items would be consumed within a month, otherwise it is better staying in your pocket until you actually need it or until the next time it is at a reduced price.

      • what a great thought “to only part with cash if the items would be consumed within a month, otherwise it is better staying in your pocket until you actually need it or until the next time it is at a reduced price”. I will be using this when I make future decisions for purchases. Thanks for sharing.