Over the summer I have been on my usual holiday cull and simplify binge. Each holiday I sort through a few shelves and cupboards, and get rid of anything we don’t use or love. I truly believe that keeping a lot of things “just in case” is a waste of space and resources. Keeping something for 10 years on the slight chance you might use it, is crazy.
This does not mean that we don’t keep extras of things that we do need. We always have spare toiletries, dish detergent, cleaning products, non perishable foods, and stationary on hand. Realistically, without having at least a small stash of consumables, you will be at the shops most days. Once you go to the shops, you always pick up a few extra bits that you don’t need. Suddenly the budget is blown, and your house is filled with things you don’t need.
How much should you keep on hand?
How much you keep on hand really will depend on how often you get to the shops. For us, we get to a large shopping centre every 6 weeks, so we need to keep enough of all the basic essentials on hand to last that long. Most people live closer to the shops and go there more frequently, in which case you will need less. The idea though, is to have enough on hand to avoid needing to go to the shops between the weekly or fortnightly shop at the very least.
The second thing that will what you store is the space you have. We store spare toiletries in the bathroom vanity, cleaning products and spare food in the laundry, and stationary in a cupboard.
The last (and probably most important) thing that will determine how much you store, is how much you will use. There is no point storing enough shampoo for a year if you go shopping regularly. Keep just enough to get you through to your next shop. Here on the farm, we typically have 6-8 bottles of dishwashing detergent, a spare set of toothbrushes, several toothpastes, and a spare bottle of shampoo and conditioner. I also keep a range of stationary on hand because the kids will often come home and announce they ran out of glue a week ago, and they need a new one now. Clearly having spares ready is helpful.
How ever much you do have the following will help keep your supplies organised:
– Use a First In First Out system where you put newer items to the back or bottom of the pile so that older stuff is used first. This helps prevent random bits and pieces lurking at the back of the cupboard.
– Do a regular sort and check what exactly you do have on hand. Even if it is only once a year, check what you have so that you don’t go buying things you still have plenty of. If your kids are like mine, they have probably rummaged through the box or cupboard and moved things around.
– Make sure you have a designated spot to keep all your supplies. Keep the places labelled and use boxes or containers to help keep the supplies sorted and in order.
Over to you: What supplies do you keep on hand? How do you make sure you have enough without going crazy?