Once upon a time I bought far too much. I’d spot great bargains and buy them because I knew they were things that we would use, or that we needed - even if they weren’t really. I guess I overestimated what we needed and how much we used - maybe because I grew up in a large family and we always needed lots, or maybe I was duped by the two-for-one sales and the economy of scale.
It started with cling wrap. I scoffed at a comment I’d read online somewhere, someone saying they took a year to use a roll of it. So I wrote the date on the end of the next cling wrap I opened, and finished it almost 18 months later. I started to keep track of other things as well. 500mL of olive oil lasts me about two months. I realised we use less pasta and rice because we tend to bulk up on vegetables. We have used 9 rolls of toilet paper in the last month. I haven’t worked out how long deodorant and toothpaste last me, but I know I only need to buy them a few times a year. At the moment, the largest box of Weet-bix lasts us less than two weeks. This has revolutionised my grocery shopping. I stockpile less, I spend less, and I waste less.
Considering how much and how little we used food and personal hygiene items made me also look at how much I owned of non-perishable items. Clothes. Shoes. Books. DVDs. Recipe books. There are only 24 hours in a day, only seven days in a week, only 352 days in a year. I had enough recipes in books that I could cook something different every day for two-and-a-half years. A whole month of not having to wash clothes. Two weeks worth of shoes. Books that I was never going to read again. Did I really need all this stuff?
I started buying less clothes for the kids once I realised that I was packing away barely worn clothes when my eldest son grew out of them. I wash every few days, and he would always just take the clothes on top, so why not only have the clothes on top?
And I stopped buying craft and sewing materials at a faster rate than which I could actually use them, but that’s whole post of it’s own!
What about you? Do you tend to by more than you need, or only just enough?