New Year, New Resolve To Use What's On

One Woman’s Attempt To Use What She Has

I am, by nature, a thrower-outer. My husband even jokes that I don’t go grocery shopping because I think the extra food clutters my pantry shelves. He’s right. As just about anything in my house begins to accumulate, I suffocate.

For several months now, I’ve been religiously clearing closets and purging pantries in preparation for our impending move. Daily, I ask myself, "What can I get rid of?" and "Do I really want this in my new home?" The most common answer to date resulted in hundreds of items recycled, donated or trashed.

As I unfetter my home of its contents in epic proportion, I realize how much my family has that we can live without and how much we waste. I also realize that it is just as important for me to make total use of what I keep, as it is to get rid of what I don't use at all.

Admittedly, I have a nasty habit of buying expensive, fragrant lotions and not using them. So instead of just pitching a bevy of bottles to declutter my bathroom cabinet, I am now dedicated to a daily lathering of lotion. As well, I stopped saving things for a specific occasion. If I buy a new shirt, I wear it as soon as the mood hits me rather than waiting for the event I initially dubbed it perfect for -- which never seems to materialize. By making total use of everything I own, I'm aware of what I have, whether it's clothing, toiletries or food, and I don’t end up wasting money on new and unnecessary purchases.

My interest in using what I have handy reached a new level when I discovered a use for a tea so horrible I thought I had no choice but to burn the unused portion. While it tasted awful, it's strong, pungent odor was bearable. In fact, I thought it just strong enough to help deodorize my bathroom, and it was. It actually absorbed bathroom odors much like baking soda. My husband questioned why I had tea bags in the bathroom but he couldn't deny it worked.

And while I can't deny that consigning my unwanted clothing has yielded some return, it's not enough to defray moving costs. So, I'm even more inspired to use what I have to conserve money. The coffee mugs are wrapped in recycled Santa paper and the plastic grocery bags are protecting my chotchkes. I’m staring down a new life in this new year and I am resolute to move into my new home with only the things I truly love, need and will actually use.

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