Have you ever done the thing where you buy a package of batteries, pull out the two you need, stick the rest in the back of a drawer, and forget they’re there?
Which means the next time you need a couple of batteries, you go out and buy a fresh pack, pull out the two you need, stick the rest in the back of a drawer, and… you get the idea.
I cleaned out my closets this weekend, and I was about three minutes into it when I realised that I needed to start writing down all the stuff I’d forgotten I’d already purchased, so I wouldn’t accidentally purchase it again.
Band-Aids, for example. I found two separate boxes in two separate drawers.
Ink pens. Found a whole stash of ‘em that I’d forgotten I’d cached away.
Lipstick. I bought my favourite shade in bulk a while ago and found one full tube I’d forgotten about (in addition to the tubes I knew were in my purse and makeup bag).
Travel toiletries. Between the stuff I’ve purchased, the stuff I’ve swiped from hotel rooms, and the complimentary tiny toothpastes that I get every time I go for a dental checkup, it could be a full year before I need another miniature hygiene product.
Lightbulbs. Dental floss. Post-it Notes. You get the idea.
I consider myself a frugal person, and I rarely shop without some kind of planning or forethought, but my “do not buy this stuff because you already have it” list now includes twenty items, and that’s counting all of the travel toiletries in one group.
So now I have two lists, kept side-by-side on the same spreadsheet: stuff I need to buy in the near future (a new toilet brush, for example) and stuff I do not need to buy because I haven’t used it up yet.
That way, the next time I need a Band-Aid, I can open up one of the two boxes I already have.