Use What You Have

Lots of times we hold on to something “just in case”.  We may not have a use for it now, but we can imagine it coming in handy at some point in the future.  While this is not a bad plan, it gets out of control when we use that excuse to hold on to too many things, or things that are big and take up a lot of space.

I’ve started a new policy of using up my “just in case” things even if they are not my first choice for that task but will suffice.  Here are some examples.

I’ve been buying what the drug stores call “cosmetic rounds” (small, flat circles of cottony stuff) to remove my lipstick when I get home.  I keep a small amount in my medicine cabinet, and periodically refill it from the original packaging under my sink.

Recently, I went under the sink to refill my small stash, only to discover that I was completely out.  (Occasionally even my systems break down!)   While searching vainly for the bag of cotton rounds, I rediscovered a big box of small cotton balls that were left over from my daughter’s latest ear piercing nearly a year ago.  I decided to take the opportunity to use up this big box.  While I still prefer the cotton rounds for this task, I’ve discovered that two small cotton balls will do just as well.

I had another epiphany a few days ago when I was planning out my holiday cards for my clients.  For several years, I have been buying holiday cards from Organized Greetings, which was founded by an organizing colleague.  My clients love the amusing cover cartoons and clever messages inside.  And I love having the opportunity to send a card that will stand out from the crowd.

I pulled out my holiday card collection to take a count of how many Organized Greetings cards I had left from last year so that I could place an order.  Then I got curious about all the other cards in my holiday card box.  Since we started sending out photo cards to friends and family after we became parents 15 years ago, we stopped sending traditional holiday cards.  Yet I still had a stash of them.

Although my first choice would be to send out clever organizing-themed cards, I decided that it was time for those old cards to fulfill their existential function.  While not organizing-themed, they are still quite adorable.  I’m sure my clients will still appreciate the seasonal greetings.  And I can be clever again next year.

Take a look around your home and see what  you’ve been holding on to “just in case”.  Are there items that you could be using now, rather than buying something new?  You’ll be saving money, creating more space, and feeling very satisfied indeed!

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