Are You Gonna Use That?

So much stuff. I opened my linen closet yesterday to take out a shampoo bottle and had to pull things out to reach it. Tubes and bottles galore were stacked in front of it, most full or close to it. It was a cluttered mess. It had probably been two years since I last purged it. But still, how had I amassed such a collection of crap in that time?

As I turned this bottle or that to read the labels, I realized that, for the most part, they were products that had not delivered their promise to me. Some had yet to be opened because I used other products when I bought them. All, of course, were too much and currently causing me anxiety.

Over the holiday break, I cleaned out my pantry and was amazed at some of the stuff I found there. I had just run out of licorice tea in my office and planned to buy more while nearly an entire box was at my house. Cans of beans now expired, and a bag of almond flour was now rancid. It made me ashamed.

For all the shame I feel about my clutter, I bet I am not alone. Indeed, some of you keep a tight and tidy ship in all respects with no threat of one junk drawer. For the masses, though, corners and crevices throughout our homes and lives build up with excess and either eventually take us by surprise or take up space in the back of our minds, needling us for weeks, months, or years until we finally clean them out.

So, I am committing myself to doing better. I will only buy products when I’m running out of one and plan to use them. The licorice tea is now in my office to be drank instead of occupying space on the back of my pantry shelf. I assigned all other items to meals or deemed them necessary for freestyling quick meals.

Likewise, I’m giving away the bathroom products I didn’t like. I put everything else in its own “queue” as ready to use, so I can grab it once I run out of the current product. I will only buy something new once I need it. If an advertisement hits me for some new skin cream, I’ll note it, and it will have to wait until I’ve used the two others I currently have.

Where else can I find this pattern of clutter? Craft supplies? Kitchen appliances or utensils? The garage? Clothing? Books?

That last one feels sacrilegious to call mere clutter because I adore them, but I have no less than thirty books that have been on my shelves for over two years, yet I continue to buy more. Committing to only purchase books once I have read everything I currently own isn’t possible. Sometimes I have to buy one to read for a project. So, I have cataloged all unread books and will read five of them each year. Thankfully, audiobooks are gloriously exempt from all of this.

Whatever your brand of clutter, it’s taking up space in your mind and likely causing undue stress. It’s time for that New Year, New Me BS, and we have too much bullsh*t. What clutter do you have to clear out and keep away for 2024? Write to me and share your tips. I need them!

Author: Mandy

Your basic American primate, searching for magic and meaning.

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