Thriftiness getting in the way of decluttering?

I’m having a hard time…

Being that I have decided to only buy necessities this year, I’m trying to use up stuff I already have in my house.

As an example, let talk about… say…. toiletries!

I have all sorts of creams, hair products, facial stuff, make-up and so on. And it makes perfect sense to use up the items I have before I buy new!

Now, anybody that knows me, knows that, I have the shortest hair ever (by choice). I’d be hard pressed to use up one bottle of shampoo a year. I don’t really use hair products much. And I think I have a bottle of hairspray I’d be lucky to use up within the next 10 years.

If I manage to slap on some moisturiser in the morning, I’ve been good. Never mind facial cleanser, night cream, eye cream and other stuff.

I never really use make-up. If you see me dolled up in make-up even once a year, that’s a stretch πŸ˜‰

But, and that’s the kicker, being a girl and all πŸ˜‰ I do like pretty make-up and cool bottles of creams that smell nice, and my hairdresser always manage to convince me I need some products πŸ˜‰

I have gotten really good the last couple years, only buying the creams/shampoo I actually use. BUT I still have cabinets full of things given to me, and items bought and not used up (or ever used). I’m not kidding you, when I tell you, that I use so little of everything, that it’s going to take years to use it all up.

So what’s the problem you might ask!

Well the challenge is that, while it makes perfect sense to use up the stuff, I really, and I mean reallyΒ want to declutter my place, I just want the “crap” out of here!

In a way I’m letting my “thriftiness” get in the way of my decluttering .Β There are times I just want to let a “tornado” (yes, that would be me) loose and get the stuff out ofΒ my house.

But then my sensible (or we could argue, not so sensible) mind takes over.
“I should use this up, it makes perfect sense, since I’m not really buying much this year”
“I should give this away or sell this stuff, rather than recycle/toss is”
“I need to put it away, so that my sister, mother, friend, neighbour…(please feel free to add any others..) Β gets a look at it, before I give to charity/recycle/toss”

All these arguments makes perfect sense – but they are getting in my way of getting the stuff out of here, and achieving the uncluttered space I’m working hard to get to. And it’s starting to frustrate the heck out of me.

Well, why don’t you just “toss” it all?

I don’t know, it’s what I want to do, but is feels sacrilegious to just “toss” things that are worth something to other people, and that might even generate some money for me. But right now holding on to stuff, just so that I can give it away, to family or friends, or make half a dollar on it, are starting to become a hassle, that just seem to stop me cold in my progress.

So what is a girl to do?

When I sat down to write today, I wasn’t really planing on writing this. I suppose this post took a turn of its own;-) It seems my frustration is bigger that I realised. Β But, while writing this, I’ve come to realise what I need to do, to get a little closer, to achieving my goal of a somewhat more decluttered space.

I will keep stuff that I know I will manage to use up within a year.
Just take the toiletries mentioned above, I will keep hair products that I actually will use, but that darn hairspray is going. I’ll keep items I use, but (even if its a gift) I will get rid of things that I don’t see I will ever really get around to using or even start using within a year.

I will, when I declutter, ask friends and family if they want it (when it makes sense to ask) but, I won’t hold on to it longer than a few days, before they go out-the-door.

I will try to sell stuff that hasΒ enoughΒ value to make sense to sellΒ (furniture or expensive items), everything else I won’t stress with. I understand that I might be able to make a buck or two, and total by the time this is all said and done I might have lost out on a 100-200 dollars or so, but that’s OK! I’d rather not having all the frustration and stress. And I think my bank account will survive πŸ˜‰

But I will no longer, let the “rules” above get in my way. I’d rather just; not ask, not sell, not give away, if that makes my declutter process less frustrating and easier.

There is such a thing as, peace of mind, and right now, I think a decluttered space takes precedence over trying to be so darn “sensible”!

What about you?
How do you handle the balance between being sensible and “thrifty” and the need for a less cluttered space? Β I would love any advice you might have, on finding a good balance.

21 thoughts on “Thriftiness getting in the way of decluttering?

  1. I’ve dealt with this two, but I’ve determined that if I don’t use something for a year, it’s not worth keeping. And some products and toiletries expire. I struggle too because I hate clutter, but if there’s a good deal on something I will stock up. I think it’s just about finding a balance.


    1. I agree, I’ve actually been pretty good with toiletries πŸ™‚ I know some toiletries expire and they DO go out-the-door. And I also stock up on some products, that make sense πŸ™‚

      My toiletries yesterday (actually my hair products) was just the trigger, regarding my general issue, of trying to combine decluttering, “using up”, staying “green” by reusing/give away/sell.

      I’ve found that my “using up” thoughts combined with “reuse” (especially give away and sell) are resulting in things not getting out of the house at the rate I want,

      I’m finding that I hold on to stuff I have “decluttered”, so that family/friends can have a look if they want some, before I give to charity/recycle etc. and therein lies the problem! The result is that things pile up in a “out-the-door” pile… in my guest room 😦


  2. My mom was very neat and tidy but she grew up during the Great Depression in the US and WWII so she really made use of everything and held on to stuff ” just in case” . I always feel a tad bit guilty getting rid of things due to her influence. My problem these days is candles.My mom had tons of candles that she held on to for years and now I have them. They do not smell good and do not burn clean. I have a hard time throwing them out ” just in case” the power goes out. I would be more convinced I should throw them away if it hadn’t been for the fact that last year I was without power for two days after a big snow storm and I did use a lot of the candles. I should throw them out and replace them with just a few large, nice smelling, long burning candles but it seems like a waste of the old ones. That is my thriftiness confession!


    1. I know what you mean, that generation was way more thrifty than we are today.

      Thinking about it, I have quite a pile of candles myself πŸ˜‰ I bet you were happy you had held on to some during the power outage! And if you have the space, why not? Me on the other hand! Could do with getting rid of one or two πŸ˜‰


  3. I am so getting what you’re saying! I even wrote a post about it too πŸ˜€
    I also feel bad at tossing things I know others might want or need, but then as a result I’ve been holding on to baby clothes (for example) from my daughter in the hopes to give them to my sister when she gets kids. But that ‘when’ has become an ‘if’ and it’s been eight years…. So I kissed them goodbye and gave them away to Goodwill. (Which kind of isn’t the same but I also have things like the ones you talk about)

    Well. Good luck! I’m with you, I’m going to do another round of throwing away this month!


    1. Thank you for your well wishes πŸ™‚ there is no doubt, I’m going to be more ruthless decluttering. Writing the post yesterday put things into perspective!

      My piece if mind is way more important than trying to make a buck or holding it for family (who can afford to buy their own stuff πŸ˜‰ ) I will of course recycle as much as possible!

      I’m just going to go a little easier on myself, when I can’t find a way to give/charity/recycle the items within a short timeframe. I will allow myself to actually toss the stuff πŸ˜‰


  4. I can soooo relate to everything you wrote! I have the same clutter problem in the bathroom as you described in your post. Also have a problem with buying/ collecting too much writing stationery and notebooks, pens etc. I have managed to cap my spendings on craft tools/ materials, but every few years I over-buy again. My solution to all of this was first of all to get a professional organiser in for an initial consultation. (Systems for Order – Denise Childs). Not having a lot of extra cash, I have opted to work on as much decluttering as I can, then enlist the help of willing, highly-organised friends. I have a lovely friend (about 6 years older than myself with a 10 year old and 14 year old) who has decided to devote 3 hours, twice weekly to the cause until my house is neat and clutter free. I am so blessed. Having a toddler does not allow me any time to procrastinate when cleaning out various spaces, and also, I have trouble letting go of things I might need “just in case”. She took some things straight to the op-shop today so I wouldn’t be tempted to rehome them in the house ;-). What a blessing!


    1. Sounds like you have found a good one, in your friend πŸ™‚ decluttering is so much easier when you have someone to help you out! I wish you luck, I’m sure with the help you will have it done in no time πŸ˜‰


  5. I often get the same problem as you – I want to get rid of stuff that I could actually need! I realised that I was trying to declutter TOO MUCH – that it wasn’t a big deal if I had a drawer full of clothes I don’t wear regularly, as long as I knew I would need them sometime soon (e.g. sports clothes, classic dresses, t-shirts; or in the case of toiletries – hair spray, etc.). Some things it’s logical to keep even if we don’t use them every day. That’s my thought, anyway!


    1. I agree, there are some things that make sense to keep, as long as there is room for it in the house πŸ™‚ and I guess there is such a thing as decluttering to much!! I don’t think I’m quite there yet, though πŸ˜‰ still have ways to go… But I hear you, I’ll try not to go completely over board decluttering πŸ˜‰


  6. I am a minimalist. And a man. I use the 1:2 ratio for items to horizontal surfaces. If the living room has four horizontal surfaces (four tables) – altogether the room (tables) would hold two items. In this case, a small globe and a flower vase (with fresh cut flowers.) The two remaining tables remain empty. Always.

    (If you want to see clutter, go to a thrift store.)

    In each of my restrooms only three items are visible: 1) one roll of toilet paper – on the roller, 2) one towel – on the towel rack, and 3) one ‘pump’ hand soap – on the counter. Everything else is put away.

    Q: How then do I store my back-up items?
    A: I don’t own many of them.

    I also live alone in a four-bedroom house. Problem solved.


    1. Oh my gosh! 1:2 ratio, oh man, I’ll be at this for years πŸ˜‰ I’m impressed! Definitely something to strive for in my two bedroom house! But I’m not quite sure I’ll get there anytime soon, if ever πŸ˜‰


  7. I was really excited to hear about Original Unverpackt in Germany which is a new concept store using no packaging! For me, this gives a whole new definition to minimalist. Great post, it inspired me to keep things simple. –C


    1. I took a look, that’s a great concept when it comes to buying food. I wish they would do this more places in the world. I would definitely shop there if we had such a store here in my city.


  8. Especially with your “girlie stuff” . . . you might contact the local battered women’s shelter to see if they could adopt some of your stuff. Often the women have to leave home with nothing but the clothes on their backs.


    1. That is such a great idea πŸ™‚

      I’ll check up on what kind of shelters we have here, where I live (I know they have a group you can contact, not sure if we have an actual shelter where they can stay). But I’ll be sure to check that out. Thank you!


  9. Toiletries also do go bad after a few years. Some spoil & smell bad, some separate or get thin, so it doesn’t pay to keep them too long.


    1. I agree, there are things that seem to not last to long (and those are already tossed) and then there is things (like that darn hairspray) that just seem to last forever… πŸ™‚

      I just collected a pile of things from my makeup/toiletries that will be leaving this house shortly πŸ˜‰ and I’ve gotten better at getting other things out-the-door as well, since I wrote this post πŸ™‚


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