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What Am I Missing Out On?

Recently, I was working with a client on a home organizing project. I can totally relate to the state in her house, as she has too much stuff for her space - a common issue for everyone, including me. We had gathered all the batteries together and realized what a serious supply she had on hand. We had a quick discussion over it and I said, “I don’t have this amount of batteries at my house. WHAT AM I MISSING OUT ON?” It’s kind of a funny question (especially about batteries) and we laughed because the answer was obvious. NOTHING. I'm not missing out on anything. How silly to think I’m missing out on something because I don’t have a lot of extra batteries in my home. Clearly, if I need batteries, I can just go to the store and grab some. It seems so simple, yet I see this over and over, in my own life and the lives of my clients. Why do we buy so much of something we don’t need right away? Extra bottles of shampoo, extra soap, extra clothing, shoes, greeting cards, kitchen supplies. Are we trying to take advantage of a sale and want to stock up? Are we anticipating needing it in the future and are trying to stock up for “what if?” Does it make us feel good to have extra on hand? Why are we choosing buy stuff we don't intend to use right away?

So what, Paige. Who cares about your battery collection? I’m just using batteries to represent everything in my house. If I save space by not hoarding batteries, what if I could apply that to other areas where I struggle to find space? Could I clear out serving dishes from my kitchen and use that space to store something I use every day? I don’t need to store 15 bottles of shampoo in my closet if I don’t have room for my clothing. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean I need to buy it. Just because I have the space to store it, doesn’t mean I should. Empty shelves are ok. I can store things at the store and buy another bottle when I need one. And if my kids need something right away, they may have to wait (GASP!) and learn a bit of patience. I promise, the kids are going to be alright.

So what do I GAIN by NOT having excess stuff in my house?

  • More space for things I need in my life NOW, not things I might need in the future. If I need something in the future, I can buy it in the future.

  • More time as I don’t spend any looking at the sale flyers anymore. Junk mail goes right in the recycle bin. I realize that sale ads are designed to make us want to buy things we don’t really need. Why waste my time looking for a store to tell me what I need? Don’t I know what I need?

  • Less waste as things don’t go bad waiting for that time I “might use it.” Anyone who has had a battery leak can understand why it’s not great to have too many on hand. Or how about when I bought kids clothing ahead of season only to find out my daughter had blown through that size and wasn't ever going to fit into the coat I bought on sale. Ug.

  • More time because I don’t have to clean it, organize it or manage it. AND I don’t have to buy bins to store things I don’t own.

  • More money because I can always find what we already own so I don’t buy duplicates. My wallet will be so much happier in the long run.

  • A sense of peace with a more streamlined space with room to breath, room to work, room to just be. I don’t have extra of everything overflowing everywhere (not just batteries). It feels so good and it's easier to keep my house clean.

So when I asked that client what I was missing out on by NOT having a small Walmart size stock of batteries, we both laughed. Turns out, I’m not missing out on anything. In fact, I’m gaining so much time, energy, and money by letting things live at the store until I need them. The next time you think you need to buy a lifetime supply of shampoo because it’s on sale, consider asking yourself what you’re missing out on if you DON’T buy it. If you’re stocking up on something because it’s on sale, consider buying just a couple. Your tastes may change. You may decide you hate coconut scented shampoo. You may be missing out on trying something new if you stock your cupboards with too much. Leave room for the future you to decide what you want. I promise, you're not missing out on anything.

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Blue Pencil is based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Locally servicing Fairfield and Westchester Counties. Remote consultation available.

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