Author Topic: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying  (Read 4989 times)

deborah

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Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« on: September 16, 2014, 06:57:15 AM »
Today I broke a dinner plate. It is a rare occurrence - a jar of coffee fell on top of it, and it smashed to smithereens.

I looked around my kitchen and realised that I have far more plates than I need - 32 dinner plates for example. Now, I know I will never use 32 dinner plates in one sitting, so it is just clutter, and I could get rid of all but 2 in the name of decluttering. MMM has suggested that decluttering is a good thing.

I also know that throughout the rest of my life I will use dinner plates, and occasionally break one. As I get older, I will probably break them more frequently. So I should probably keep them all and if I am fortunate, I will have enough to last the rest of my life. So one could say that at some stage I bulk bought enough dinner plates for the rest of my life. MMM has suggested that bulk buying is a good thing.

Looking around my kitchen, there are a number of other utensils like this, where I currently have far too many. Should I get rid of the extras?

Emilyngh

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2014, 07:10:23 AM »
Today I broke a dinner plate. It is a rare occurrence - a jar of coffee fell on top of it, and it smashed to smithereens.

I looked around my kitchen and realised that I have far more plates than I need - 32 dinner plates for example. Now, I know I will never use 32 dinner plates in one sitting, so it is just clutter, and I could get rid of all but 2 in the name of decluttering. MMM has suggested that decluttering is a good thing.

I also know that throughout the rest of my life I will use dinner plates, and occasionally break one. As I get older, I will probably break them more frequently. So I should probably keep them all and if I am fortunate, I will have enough to last the rest of my life. So one could say that at some stage I bulk bought enough dinner plates for the rest of my life. MMM has suggested that bulk buying is a good thing.

Looking around my kitchen, there are a number of other utensils like this, where I currently have far too many. Should I get rid of the extras?

Hmmm this is something good to think about.

I'm a major declutterer and I think for me it comes down to this: focus on the junk (unused stuff) and trash first.   

I was thinking about this the other day.   When decluttering I think we see too much the things that are closest to us, and thus get torn about if we get rid of the sweater we wear once a month, or the extra dishes that sit nicely in the pile that are useful, and ignore the half a basement or attic of trash that we have.   And ignore the closet full of junk that we'll never use, and our kid's room full of baby toys that they never play with, and the cabinet of old electronics that we've updated but are keeping for some unknown reason, etc.   And these are really what we should be first getting rid of-trash and junk.

Once we're completely confident that there's not a piece of trash/junk on our property, then, IMO we can ponder the dishes.   I, personally, would be inclined to keep them if (a) I don't have to move them, (b) they all fit nicely in one cabinet  that I really don't need for something else, (c) I'm confident that one day I will get through them all, and (d) looking at them doesn't bother me.

AndThen

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2014, 07:14:37 AM »
I recently was going through the same decluttering battle. I sided on getting rid of everything I didn't use, including the extra plates and forks. In my case, the freedom that came with having less stuff was more important than the few bucks I may need to spend in the future for a new plate. YMMV

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2014, 07:24:37 AM »
Do 32 plates fit on the same amount of shelf space as, say, 8 plates? If not, de clutter.

I am a fan of keeping it simple and taking up less space in general.

As far as other kitchen. Tools go, get rid of anything you can not use at the same time as the duplicate. ie- do you frequently use two wooden spoons at a time while cooking? How about two cheese graters? I recently goodwilled my crock pot and have been converting crock pot recipes for oven use in a dutch oven.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2014, 09:11:33 AM »
I've been hitting this same point in minimizing -- I've gotten rid of everything that may be deemed 'clutter', but still have more than I need, although I have plenty of space for it. 

The most successful area (and where I could still do some more work) for minimizing is my wardrobe, because I have a small closet but a hard time letting go of clothes.  I find that I have an easier time getting dressed the less clothes I have, though. 

Some of what motivates my minimalism is wanting to be prepared for anything life may throw at me, including an amazing opportunity in another state or the death of my husband (it's a bit morbid).  In that case I'd want to be able to downsize further and do it quickly. 

Which is all to say:  if you have ample space for those dishes, and you have no emotional attachment and therefore could get rid of them if life ever warranted it, it's okay to hang on to them for now!


Prairie Stash

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2014, 09:52:12 AM »
I try to use things up.  With plates we had some that broke easier, so I kept those on top and used them frequently, till they broke. Do you have stuff that is flimsy that you can use up first? It might take a year, I presume you're not moving next month and can wait it out.  It does take a small effort to reorganize in a way that puts the flimsy stuff on top which will increase the likelihood of random accidents destroying it.

When my wife moved in we had too many sheets and towels.  Applying the same principle we constantly used a few till they wore out.  Eventually we downsized by attrition.  It took years, there wasn't a rush.  The trick was finding a second storage spot that was not inconveniencing us while we waited.

Argyle

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2014, 10:13:56 AM »
I tend to think that the things in regular use, like dinner plates, should be decluttered only after you declutter the things you never use, like the abandoned yogurt maker or the hideous vase Aunt Elsie gave you.  And if they're not taking up space you need, then no particular need to get rid of them.  Though you could probably get down to 20 or 15 without suffering any ill effects...

Elderwood17

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2014, 11:06:14 AM »
Great thread with some great perspectives that are helping me.  I find it hard to get rid of something - even if I don't use it often - that still has plenty of life.  The biggest example is clothing.  I have tons of sweaters and sweatshirts that have been given to me over the years.  They are perfectly fine, and we have plenty of room to keep them.  For now I am concentrating on declutterig things that have some value on Craigslist and selling bigger items.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2014, 06:26:14 PM »
I try to use things up.  With plates we had some that broke easier, so I kept those on top and used them frequently, till they broke. Do you have stuff that is flimsy that you can use up first? It might take a year, I presume you're not moving next month and can wait it out.  It does take a small effort to reorganize in a way that puts the flimsy stuff on top which will increase the likelihood of random accidents destroying it.

When my wife moved in we had too many sheets and towels.  Applying the same principle we constantly used a few till they wore out.  Eventually we downsized by attrition.  It took years, there wasn't a rush.  The trick was finding a second storage spot that was not inconveniencing us while we waited.
This is exactly what Mr. Frugalwoods and I do. I don't get rid of practical use items (like plates or sheets) just because I have too many of them. I know that we'll use them all eventually and I'd rather hedge that future savings. We have ample storage space in our basement and I have everything in labeled boxs/bins, so it's easy to manage and our house isn't cluttered. We don't rotate stuff because we want to use everything until it absolutely wears out, so I have several sets of sheets we got for our wedding (6 years ago) still in their brand new packs.

I felt validated in my efforts earlier this week when our bathroom hand towel (which we've been using every day for 6 years) sprouted a hole. Two more holes have joined. I'll try and stitch it back together, but I sure am glad I kept the hand towels I got for Christmas 3 years ago (and have yet to use).

Squirrel away

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2014, 05:34:58 AM »
I would prefer to clear the clutter, if I broke anything it wouldn't cost much to replace as we don't have fine china or anything.:) We don't entertain much either so we don't need to keep lots of glassware or dinner plates. We only have two teaspoons as my hubbie accidentally used two of them to feed the cats their food so we threw them out. I was going to buy another set of teaspoons but we realised we don't need to have more than two.:D

One thing I do stock up on a bit is tinned food as that is handy and will always be used up.

MrsPete

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2014, 05:57:51 AM »
I'm not the person to ask about tableware clutter -- I own seven sets of dishes.  I have four sets of everyday dishes (they vary in plate size, color and style), my wedding china, my grandmother's wedding china, and a set of Christmas china.  I enjoy setting a lovely table.  I enjoy choosing the dishes that will enhance tonight's dinner rather than simply allow it to be eaten.  I like using my heavy, bright Fiestaware for a bowl of chili, or the rim soup dishes from my Pfaltzgraff for a pasta dish. 

In contrast, I have only two sets of glassware -- simple everyday glasses and a set of red goblets that look great with the Christmas china.  And I have only one set of flatware. 

While you may consider this clutter, I am 100% unrepentant about my hoard of dishes.  I use them, and I enjoy them.  That's the line in the sand: If you have a lot of a certain item, but you're using it, it's not clutter. On the other hand, the most practical items -- if you never use them -- are clutter.  For example, I have about 8 coffee mugs.  They are NEVER used. 


I agree that clothing is probably my biggest clutter-item (and when my kids were small enough to outgrow their stuff, it was worse).  I think I buy fewer items of clothing than most people, but every couple years it seems that my closet has become too full -- again.  People give you clothing as gifts, you pick up a tee-shirt here and there -- after a while, it adds up.  And I find it difficult sometimes to say, "Yes, this is a nice dress, and it fits, but I haven't worn it in a while.  Time to go to Goodwill." It seems wasteful since you might want to wear it again later. 

I have a system that works well for clothing -- and you could do it with other things:  I put unneeded clothing into a box, and I put it on the top shelf of my closet -- marked with today's date.  In one year, if I haven't wanted an item in that box, I take it to Good will without opening the box.  That way I am not tempted to talk myself into wanting the item back. 


Ms Manageable Muttonchops

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2014, 06:14:13 AM »
I have collected my share of all this stuff over the years and I agree, it can be a burden! I have discovered (through experimentation) that it makes me MUCH happier when my cabinets are super empty. I never realized how much of a pet peeve it was for me when I had to shuffle stuff around in the cupboard to get to the one thing I wanted. We now have our cupboards "bare bones"....2 plates stacked, 2 soup bowls stacked, 2 large cups side by side, 2 coffee mugs...you get the picture. This has the added benefit of making it impossible to ever use the dishwasher because we simply cannot fill it.

However, I share your concern of "well, if I had kept those plates I wouldn't have to buy new ones now!" so I put all my doubles (triples...quadruples...etc) in a big box in the storage closet that our apartment came with that we would otherwise never use. This closet has been designated for this purpose, and the rule is, if we are ever moving, ALL of it gets given away. This is because I have decided that having to move all that crap even one more time would be ridiculous. It allows me to keep it for now in case something I have breaks, but I'm ready if the time comes to move to just scrap it all.

This works for me, but to each their own!

Astatine

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2014, 06:51:57 AM »
I've done some deep decluttering. I've got rid of everything that I didn't love, was associated with bad memories or wasn't frequently used. (Freecycle is awesome for getting rid of stuff!)

We went through the kitchen last summer and did a deep declutter (it was the last room that I attacked). We had settings for 16. Downsized to 8 dinner plates and haven't missed them. I'd still like a less cluttered kitchen but we use everything that's left pretty frequently.

Common stuff like crockery is cheap to replace from op shops, the recycle shed or free from freecycle. I don't feel the need to keep stuff just in case.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 06:54:16 AM by Astatine »

Cinder

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Re: Clearing the clutter versus bulk buying
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2014, 12:46:28 PM »
I've done some deep decluttering. I've got rid of everything that I didn't love, was associated with bad memories or wasn't frequently used. (Freecycle is awesome for getting rid of stuff!)

We went through the kitchen last summer and did a deep declutter (it was the last room that I attacked). We had settings for 16. Downsized to 8 dinner plates and haven't missed them. I'd still like a less cluttered kitchen but we use everything that's left pretty frequently.

Common stuff like crockery is cheap to replace from op shops, the recycle shed or free from freecycle. I don't feel the need to keep stuff just in case.

We have the problem that when the DW's mother and nephew come to visit, it seems like our ample supply of cups and plates and utensils all get used up in a day!  So when it's just us, we usually don't get deeper then half the stack of dishes without doing any for a week, but when they are there, whoooo!