I’ve talked a lot about how I’m working to cut back on the amount of stuff in our lives on here. I think that DIY can be a great way to remove unnecessary clutter from your life, but, you have to be careful to not get trapped by it.
Making our own laundry detergent has definitely brought fewer bottles into our lives, made it so I’m less likely to make a trip to the store just because we’re out, and, as a result, kept the 8-14 other things I’d have found on that trip that we “absolutely needed” out of our home. I think the same is true of making my own shampoo.
Not all DIY projects work out like that though.
The other day my Mr. did a few experiments and came up with a way to turn plain ol yogurt into nice, thick Greek yogurt. Awesome, right? Until the next night he went to the store and came home with another carton of plain yogurt and suggested he was going to turn THAT one into Greek yogurt too. Suddenly I was having visions of my fridge entirely filled with untouched cartons of DIY Greek yogurt.
I gently suggested he wait until we finished eating the first one.
Lest you think I’m calling my Mr. out on this, I’m just as guilty. I did an experiment to create curried peanut butter (it will be tomorrow’s recipe) and, while I did wind up limiting myself to a jelly jar full, I really wanted to make batches and batches of it. “I have the time!” I thought, “the supplies and the method! You can never have too much curried peanut butter…we could give it as gifts!” I said to myself. …except, uhm, not really. It is wonderful. G really likes it and so do we. But it’s not like I’ll never have peanut butter and curry powder on hand again. I can always make more, and if I make a ton now, who is to say we’ll eat it before it goes bad? …and what if we need some plain peanut butter? Won’t I be mad then?
It’s outside the kitchen too. When I discovered this bias tape maker I found myself making yards and yards of bias tape I didn’t actually have any plans for. In my head I was justifying it to myself by saying that making it now would save me time later down the line when I needed that bias tape. But if I’m honest with myself, the likelyhood of my specifically needing Christmas patterned bias tape that’s 1/2″ wide probably isn’t that good.
This really is the core issue of our organizational problems. Both my Mr. and I think we’re just “planning ahead” when we bring home or make things we don’t need right then. “Ooh, I don’t need this yarn that’s on clearance right now, but I might need it in the future, and I won’t be able to find this kind of deal then.” …except it doesn’t seem to ever work out that way. That “bargain” we found or made winds up being not quite right, so we have to buy something (at full price) anyways. We store our treasures away, waiting for that magical day when we’ll be so proud of ourselves for being prepared. But that day doesn’t usually come. We’re stuck wasting space and money we could be using on “someday”.
So, for everybody organizing along with me. Today’s trick isn’t to get rid of something or clean something. It’s a thought I want you to have before you buy or make something. Ask yourself “Do I need this? Do I know exactly when and how it will be used?” If the answer is “no”, pass it by or let it go. I promise, 49 times out of 50 all you’ll have missed out on will be more things to trip over, dust or let go bad in your fridge or cupboard.