Day 159 Use it up

I want to lay down a challenge this week to all you readers out there.


Find at least 5 consumable items in your home that have been lingering on a shelf somewhere. My definition of consumable is something that can be depleted or worn out by use.  Concentrate on choosing these items over similar items you prefer to use until they are all used up and no longer cluttering up your home.

Possible reasons for lingering

  • didn’t live up to expectation
  • for some reason you just stopped using it
  • just have so many of a similar item to choose from
  • bought a similar item you like better
  • Something from a pass-time you don’t do so much any more

Items examples that might come under the term consumable…

  • Bottle of perfume
  • Craft supply item
  • Cleaning product
  • Toiletries product (Shampoo, body wash, moisturiser etc)
  • Food item
  • Product samples

I know I have a list to choose from and I am sure most of you have your own little secret stash. I will give this challenge two weeks and I will share with you on Sunday the 20th of June how the challenge worked out for me and I would love some feedback on how you all went.

I am looking forward to the challenge I hope you will join me.


This dome clock was a wedding gift, its pendulum was damaged during a move some years back but we kept it all this time because it was a gift. It is long past time to let it go.
Dome Clock

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Detergent is a good one! I bought a huge box of eco-friendly detergent that I don’t like and it’s been sitting on the shelf. Instead of switching to the Purex (got it for free) after finishing my last bottle of detergent, I started using up the eco-friendly powder.

    • Hi Lynn,
      thats the sort of item I am talking about. I have some shower cleaner I don’t like that has been wasting valuable space in my laundry cupboard but it is housecleaning day today and by this afternoon it will be goneski.

  2. Calico ginger

    What a coincidence! I have just hauled out all the teeny tiny bottles of conditioner that remain from hotel visits with a mind to use them up before I buy a new conditioner! Less clutter in the bathroom cabinet…

    • Way to go Calico Ginger, I have to confess I have a few of those myself maybe I should add that to my list. Aren’t some of those hotel bottles hard to get the product out of though, another bad design foisted upon the unsuspectiing public (I hate bad design).

  3. Colleen, that’s really good timing as my job for this week is to clear out my pantry as my ‘thing’ is food! I have a big pantry and it is full with tins of stuff. I really need to start using them up before buying any more. I don’t have a lot of storage space in my bathroom, so everything gets used used, and my European laundry is in the kitchen so no extras in there either!

    Also, I just got rid of a very similar dome clock from my mum’s house. They were so pretty and popular during the 80’s weren’t they?!

    • Hi Loretta
      My pantry is poorly designed so there are many deep and murky depth for things to hide in so I know where you are coming from. I might check that out too and the fridge while I am at it. It is almost pay day when I do my big grocery shop so best to use up as much as possible before then. As I said I HATE WASTE.

  4. I bought some lavender shampoo and conditioner I really wanted to use and I forced myself to leave it on the shelf until I had gone through all the full sized, but half empty, bottles of shampoo and conditioner in my linen closet. It took me a few months and I had to buy one small cheap bottle of conditioner, but I made it through and my closet it happier for it.

    • Hi Lady in Smalltown.
      Thanks for joining in. This seems to be a very popular subject. I am working through a bottle of shampoo myself at the moment. I don’t mind it but my husband doesn’t like it but I am determined we are going to use it up and not waste it. I now just have to remember never to forget and buy it again by mistake in a years time.

  5. Right now I’m not at home but I know there is a bottle of mouth wash that I don’t like the taste of. It is sitting in a basket in the bathroom. I keep hoping my husband will use it up. I’m sure once I’m back home I’ll find more (like those hotel shampoo/conditioners) although I recently did a big declutter of those items.

  6. My favorite in this category is storage emergency food. A long time ago I bought some canned supplies thinking they would last forever. Silly me: on one of my Rathole a Day projects, I looked at the expiration dates — all way, way past. So I emptied them and recycled the cans. A waste. Now I am looking for good, sustainable ways to pack in a reasonable Disaster Supply of food. Reminds me to keep dog leash and shoes near my bed. Disaster Planning–easy to put off, right?

  7. Colleen,
    I looked up the The Frugal Duchess link. Thanks! I had no idea that there were so many uses for mouthwash. When I get home, I’ll try them.

  8. A couple more ideas: Shampoos can be put into liquid soap containers for hand washing at sinks. Conditioner can be used as shaving cream.

    • Hi Patricia,
      thanks for joining in and for that little tip, maybe if I get enough responses to this Use It Up Challenge I could make a page about the alternative uses for products. I do already have a post about cleaning products along this line of thought.

      Hi Deb,
      I grew up in a Cyclone area where it flooded every year and we never kept a stash of emergency food and I still don’t to this day. I it may be the death of me one day but I am happy to take my chances.

  9. I like this challenge! Just a few days before you posted this, I just organized my bathroom shelves to use up the samples from hotel visits & freebies you sign up for online. I’m going to stop taking them from the hotels & signing up for them to so as to not contribute to the clutter.

    • Hi Daisy,
      Welcome to my blog it is good to hear from you. I am glad you like the idea of the use it up challenge. I am looking forward to hearing about your achievements at the end of the two weeks. Keep a record of what you have used up and if you used any clever tricks to accomplish it.

  10. Oh…..I love to use conditioner as a shave lotion. One of my favorite “use it up” techniques. Also, donated a whole bunch of those little hotel bottles to the girl scouts who were colecting for a domestic abuse shelter. Much better use for them, instead of taking up a shelf of linen closet space

    • Hi Sarah,
      you are showing up as a first time commentor and if that is so may a extend to you a warm welcome to 365 Less Things. I use up moisturiser/body lotions to shave my legs with at the moment I am using up old shaving lotion. Fancy that using something for what it is intended in an attempt to use it up, who’d have thought of that idea. 😆 I have solved the hotel shampoo bottle problem by leaving them at the hotel now. It is proving to be very effective.


  1. […] on day 159 I instigated a Use It Up Challenge which quite a few of my readers jumped on board with. We found […]

  2. […] it is: the halfway point into the Use it Up! Challenge. Again here is the original challenge issued by Colleen at 365 Less […]

  3. […] 365 Less Things. I have asked the author, Colleen permission to link to her first post about her Use It Up challenge which was in 2010. I just found her blog a couple months ago, but I did read it from the beginning […]