Having Just ONE of Something... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, in my quest for minimalism -- I've been pondering having just *one* of the things people typically have more than one of. Does that make sense? Here's an example: bibs.

 

We have exactly one bib in use and have had excactly one bib in use since babe was about 8 months old. I got tired of washing, looking for, storing bibs. It's a sturdy, wipeable vinyl bib. I feel like only having one bib has helped us take better care of it. It's still going strong! We take The Bib with us when we travel. I put The Bib in my purse when we go out. I don't need another bib.Same with The Sippy Cup. I tend to do this with shampoo and stuff too -- like just have what we're using and when we're close to running out, get one more. We only have one lotion in our whole house. Only one set of nail clippers. One tweezer. One bowl per person etc.

 

 Sometimes I feel unprepared since so many people "stock up" on things and have multiple of the same item. Then I think, well if the zombie apocalypse comes I'll have bigger fish to fry than only having one shampoo.

 

Anyone do this? What kinds of things do you only have one or two of that people typically have way more of?


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#2 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 02:10 AM
 
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Then I think, well if the zombie apocalypse comes I'll have bigger fish to fry than only having one shampoo.

 

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#3 of 26 Old 03-09-2013, 04:47 AM
 
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We have a tiny kitchen and tiny apartment. We try to keep as little as possible. We were recently given a lot of dishes and storage containers. After living with 6 plates for a week, we're getting rid of three of them! We'll keep one extra in case a friend comes over. Three plates, two bowls, four forks, two spoons.The dishes are too much if we have too many. We will reach for a clean one instead of washing a dirty one. I have two bibs but that's because they're cloth and one will almost always be dirty. One tv, I know lots of people will have one in their room but we've decided not to.  

 

I want to say one day we'll go down to one car, but I know that when we get land like we want, we will want one vehicle for working the land and one that doesn't get shit for gas mileage to take out.

 

I try to stock up food though. I buy in bulk when it's cheaper and make a lot from scratch so I like having the ingredients plentiful. I want to know that I can a while without a paycheck and still eat. 

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#4 of 26 Old 03-09-2013, 01:50 PM
 
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I love reading about how some people have made having *1* of something work so well for them. This is something I've struggled with for years. If I find jeans that I love, I'll rush back to the store and buy 5 more pair. I'm a shampoo (well, WEN) hoarder- same goes for face wash, makeup, etc. Sheets, dishes (I have more Fiesta plates and bowls than we could use in 2 days and we're a family of 6) I'm trying to consciously make decisions about how many of something I really truly NEED vs how many I like to have. And I agree that you definately take better care of things and don't misplace them as often when you only have 1. My winter racing tights cost $80 and I have one pair- you can bet that I know where those suckers are and don't lose them almost daily the way I do hoodies, which I have 10+ of.

I always worry that I won't be able to find the stuff I love if I run out- it is pretty hard for me to find jeans that fit, so that's probably a bad example, lol- but really, there isn't going to be a shortage on plates anytime soon. Or hoodies. I would love to be zen with having only what I need and not panicking that I'll need it and not be able to get another one....

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#5 of 26 Old 03-09-2013, 04:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KayleeZoo View Post

 If I find jeans that I love, I'll rush back to the store and buy 5 more pair...

I always worry that I won't be able to find the stuff I love if I run out- it is pretty hard for me to find jeans that fit, so that's probably a bad example, lol- but really, there isn't going to be a shortage on plates anytime soon. Or hoodies. I would love to be zen with having only what I need and not panicking that I'll need it and not be able to get another one....

 

 

I do have only "one" of many things - and at least 5 backups :)

 

There isn't a lot of shopping options for me in my region and I also loathe shopping, so if I find something I like I buy lots of backups and then I can forget about it. I have a backstock of my entire wardrobe for example and I just wear the same thing until it wears out and then pull out a new one. I like not having to worry about replacing items and also I like the feel of a pair of shoes, for example, that will feel the same for years without having to be distracted by accommodating a new "feel" or style (do the pants work with the new shoes? do I need new socks with these shoes? are they going to hold up in the rain, etc. - issues that I literally never have to think about again.) I shop like this for the household also. And to some extent our groceries since we eat very simple food and don't mind repetition.

 

This has worked really well for me also because I've noticed that quality is variable and prices tend to climb, so buying a pair of the same shoes 5 years ago cost 80% of what an equivalent pair of shoes would cost now. I think I have enough shoes to last another few decades, when shoes will probably cost $250 each!

 

I would never have literally only one of something, though.

 

This is a good topic to discuss!

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#6 of 26 Old 03-09-2013, 04:24 PM
 
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PumaBearClan, I lol when I read your post- the company that makes the running shoes I wear just changed the model I train/race in and I hate the new version, so I bought 3 pair of the old ones. I cannot stand the thought of having to wear running shoes that aren't the ones I love, lol.

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#7 of 26 Old 03-11-2013, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the interesting and thoughtful replies!

 

I'm just trying to be aware of what I think I "need" extra of and constantly reevaluate. I did recently find a shirt I LOVE at Ross, so I bought two of them (black low-V long tee with stretch, fit and looked GREAT). I did that because I know Ross changes their stock constantly (close-outs and such) so to me that was a smart buying decision. So I will wear the one until it wears out then have the other.

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#8 of 26 Old 03-12-2013, 06:33 PM
 
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For the most part, this is us... I don't really know what is normal to stock up on in other households, because my mom was the opposite.  She is a hoarder and has hundreds of bottles of shampoo, for example.  (Unopened, some expired, others not. And she keeps buying more.)  She has several refrigerators and a three car garage packed full of food as her pantry, several fridges, etc.  That's beyond the full kitchen and two dining rooms full of food.

 

I think I took a bit of an opposite approach to her because I tend to have only one of things.  Well, maybe not one of everything, but definitely on the low side.  Our baby gets swaddled every night, so we have three swaddles - one for that night, one for the next night, and one just in case she pees on it or something.  We have one car.  We have one wooden spoon.  (I have a Rubbermaid tote in the garage for extra pans/pots/spoons, etc.  So if I'm making Thanksgiving dinner and need a couple of extra pots to multitask, I'll be able to... or if I buy a wooden spoon and it comes in a set of three, I'll save the other two.  But I just have that one "extras" bin and that's it.  It's not in day to day use.) 

 

I used to be into stocking the pantry but found I was always in stock-up mode, and then things spoiled or I just never used them.  Now I make conscious efforts to NOT have a pantry... We do have a freezer but I'm trying to be really mindful of what's in it.  I will sometimes buy a really good bargain of food item if I *know* we're going to use it up, but I'm starting to like the look of having less full shelves.  Call me crazy, but we waste (and spend) much less as a result.  Weird.

 

I figure, you are going to get about the same uses out of something whether it's the only thing or you have a bunch of them.  If I have ten pairs of shoes, it will take ten times as long for me to wear them out than if I had one pair that I wore every day.  So I don't really see a huge difference, but then again, I'm not really much into needing variety from that type of stuff.  (Except in purses - I have a weakness for them!)  So I have one pair of sandals, one pair of boots, one pair of snow boots, one pair of hiking boot, one normal pair of shoe, etc.  But that's about it.)  Yeah, sometimes it comes to bite me.  Like the other day I woke up and wanted to wear my hiking boots, but remembered at the last minute that I had gone to the park the day before, gotten them muddy, and was distracted when I got home so I didn't clean them off.  So I had to wear my winter boots, which wasn't SO terrible but it didn't really go with my outfit.  Whatever, though.  That was less stressful to me than having a closet full of second, third, etc. pairs.

 

For the most part I do like having one (or few) of things.  But I don't want to commit myself to that 100%.  It's more of a guideline than a rule.

 

ETA:  Just the other day I did a laundry closet cull.  It seemed like I was *always* washing towels, bedsheets, etc. for everyone.  So I cut it down to one towel per person, one backup for each bathroom, and two guest towels I stashed in the guest room.  Same with bed sheets, I kept two warm sheets and two summer sheets (and matching pillowcases) for each bed.  Much more organized of a closet - and I've had MUCH less laundry to do now that people weren't chucking towels into the bin after every shower.  It actually HALVED my laundry load.  And electricity bill, etc.  Now even if a towel gets worn out quicker, how much does it cost to replace a towel?  (We don't do fancy ones, lol.)

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#9 of 26 Old 03-12-2013, 06:44 PM
 
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Re: Shoes - I was so, so, so upset when I finally replaced a pair of Teva sandals I had worn for 18 years until they finally gave way.  Seriously, those shoes were amazing.  I wax poetic about them often, lol.  I wore them almost daily for all those summers...  Just a little cleaning every once in a while and they'd be as new...  Anyway, within the first few months of wearing the near-identical pair of *new* Teva sandals... they were fraying and giving me blisters and separating.  Ugh.  Such a disappointment.

 

BUT, re: clothes and such... what if I grow a couple of sizes?  Or just no longer like a style?  And I have ten million pairs of whatever clothing item I can no longer wear on backstock?  At least, even if I have a beloved shirt that is just worn to bits, and I mourn its loss, at least I can find something that will fit me in the new season of my life when I replace it.  Just my theory.  For example my feet have grown since my pregnancies... I can't fit into my old shoes... If I had a lot of shoes that were still in great or new condition I would be so upset, and that money wouldn't have been saved after all.  Same goes for having to pay for storage for the other stuff, moving costs if you move, a bigger house maybe, etc.  It's not bad to have a backstock of certain items - God knows it's hard enough to find a flattering pair of jeans for example! but I don't know if, for me, it'd be worth the cost to have five backups.  Maybe two.  If I found a great pair of jeans I'd probably get two if they were mind blowing.  But then I'd have to be sure I wouldn't gain/lose weight etc.

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#10 of 26 Old 03-12-2013, 08:50 PM
 
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We don't have much stuff.  We just moved several states away in our (one) pickup, pulling a 5x8 trailer.  We have gotten some (semi) essential furniture since we got here... couches, and a kitchen table and chairs.  My DH's weakness is books and mine is kitchen stuff, and we both cut down A LOT so that we could pack it all and move!  Actually, most of the stuff in our trailer was DS's.  Baby stuff that we saved for the next LO, and hand me downs from friends' kids (we wont have to buy him clothes for years)!

 

As far as clothes go, we share a small three drawer dresser.  DH actually has more shoes than I do, HA!  I have a pair of winter boots, sandals, and cowgirl boots.  One winter coat and one jacket.  One suitcase to share, one backpack per person.  We all share one shampoo at a time, but if they are on sale when we need a new one I'll get two or three (same with soap, toothpaste, etc). 

 

We have a good supply of bulk beans, grains, flours, rice, etc.  But do the bulk of our grocery shopping in small batches (DH works in a grocery store so we are there daily anyway).

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#11 of 26 Old 03-13-2013, 06:44 AM
 
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You've made good points, tiqa! Fortunately I've remained the same body size all my life thus far and my preferences for clothing are based on comfort, not style :) But I can see how this would not work for some people.

 

I'll light a candle for your expired Tevas...

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#12 of 26 Old 03-16-2013, 08:39 PM
 
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When I finally got on top of washing all of my towels I realized I didn't have enough space to put them all away. So I remove half from circulation and wa la, less laundry.
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#13 of 26 Old 03-18-2013, 03:01 AM
 
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We live in an apartment and probably already have just *one* of everything from so many moves in the past year. :-D

I do pride myself in diapering two kiddos on *one* cloth diaper stash. A modest one at that. wink1.gif We EC too so that helps cut down cloth diaper laundry.

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#14 of 26 Old 03-19-2013, 08:01 AM
 
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As with the winter leggings, having one of something means you keep much better track of it.

For me the test is what makes my life easier and better. For me, having one pair of scissors in almost every room (in a very specific home, which I put them back in and will make you do it too) makes my life easier. But having one winter coat makes finding it every morning for the kids or remembering to wash it when it is dirty much easier.


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#15 of 26 Old 03-19-2013, 09:47 AM
 
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When ds was little, he only had one pair of shoes and one sippy cup. And he still has only one pair of shoes and one sports bottle, now that I think about it, lol. It meant we never lost them. There was never a sippy cup lost under the couch getting moldy. We never lost a shoe because I made sure we had his shoes before I ever left a location.

 

But, like others, I regret that I didn't have spares of certain style shoes that were discontinued.

 

I've been glad to have more than one set of sheets because eventually the bottom sheet tears. I suppose some sheets are sturdier than others (like ones with a lower thread count because each individual thread is thicker) but my family, especially me and ds, really are bothered by the feel of them. We've never needed spares due to accidents. In 12 years of motherhood, ds threw up in bed one time and never had a toileting accident. I usually wash the sheets and put them directly back on because that is easier than folding them.


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#16 of 26 Old 03-19-2013, 12:20 PM
 
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We have one tv and one car. One pair of shoes I live in, one winter coat for each of us (if you don't count DH's Blue Jays coat lol) and one pair of rainboots and shoes for DD. The rainboots were a necessity; she's a puddle lover! I have more sheets for her bed because she often wets through her nighttime diaper and pants. I'm still decluttering and hopefully will have more for this list smile.gif
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#17 of 26 Old 03-19-2013, 02:39 PM
 
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But, like others, I regret that I didn't have spares of certain style shoes that were
I've been glad to have more than one set of sheets because eventually the bottom sheet tears. I suppose some sheets are sturdier than others (like ones with a lower thread count because each individual thread is thicker) but my family, especially me and ds, really are bothered by the feel of them. We've never needed spares due to accidents. In 12 years of motherhood, ds threw up in bed one time and never had a toileting accident. I usually wash the sheets and put them directly back on because that is easier than folding them.


We keep one set of sheets per bed, but use our left behind king size top sheets to be the emergency sheets for all other sized beds. Also for building forts, etc.

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#18 of 26 Old 03-21-2013, 04:44 AM
 
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Having one of many things works well - one bed for DH and me, one couch for the family, one wardrobe DH and I share, one TV, etc..

 

But, one bib? My kids could go through a couple of bibs a day  (when they were babies)  and if it were rainy it might take more than a day for them to dry.  So, yeah, we had more than 1 bib - must have had at least 5. But they were cloth. But, if OP is happy w/ one and finds that works for her, great.

 

Stocking up - yes, I do it because in maintaining a household I find it convenient not to have to (for example) buy toilet paper twice a week; or buy a can of beans every time I want to make chili. Instead,  we buy multiple cans of different varieties and use them, monitor the supply, and when we are getting low on some, re-stock.

 

Some stuff I like to have one in-use and 1 back-up. For example, jam. One jar is open in the fridge & the other is in the pantry. When I use up one, I can get the back-up out of the pantry & put jam on the shopping list.

 

Also, like some posters, it's often hard for me to find clothes that I like that fit me well - so if I find a shirt in a shop that's good, I'll try and buy it in several colors.

 

It also depends on life-style & location. If you live in a place where it rains a lot , it is often good to have more than 1 pair of shoes (if you can) so you can wear a pair of dry showed while your soaked shoes dry out.

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#19 of 26 Old 03-21-2013, 05:33 AM
 
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Certain areas we have more than one of things. Like clothes, we have more than one pair of pants each, or socks, underwear etc. Or cloth wipes. But as far as household items and things, most things we only have one. In the kitchen, the only thing there is more than one of would be cutlery, plates and bowls. We have 3 saucepans but one is small, medium and large so suit different purposes. One set of sheets. A bathrobe each (no towels at all). My kids have two pairs of shoes each as they forget to put them back by the door so easier to have a back up. Usually they are both play shoes but one is a bit nicer/fancier for when going out somewhere. The other is fine for the dirt/beach etc. I have one pair of shoes. One hat each. One pair of sunglasses. One handbag. Definitely all toiletries we only have one. And when we need a new one we buy it. Toothbrushes, etc. But we really don't have a lot of toiletries compared to most people. Could pretty much list on one hand what we have.   

 

I definitely don't do the back-up clothing that others have mentioned. By the time a shirt has worn out (usually faster for me as I don't have much clothing) I am well and truly sick of that shirt lol. And if it were to take a long time to wear out, my clothing style likely would have changed by then as I go into different phases. I like wearing something out and then being able to start fresh with something else new and different than what I had before. And I don't buy pyjamas for me, I wear old clothing which is comfy but too worn to be used during the day. Like out of shape t-shirts or ones with a stain, etc. They are still perfectly fine to wear, just no longer aesthetically pleasing for out and about.

 

We basically only have more than one of the things where the convenience of having two (or more) is worth it. It wouldn't be practical to have only one cloth nappy for your baby, for example. You can still not go overboard though. But some things convenience outweighs anything else. For me, many areas are much more convenient to just have one though!

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#20 of 26 Old 03-27-2013, 04:04 PM
 
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We have one car now. Not by choice, but because the other one died. It's not easy, but it will save us money soon. 


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#21 of 26 Old 03-27-2013, 04:19 PM
 
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I haven't had any luck talking DH into not using our dishwasher, so having enough plates, bowls, etc. that we won't run out before we run a load kind of goes with the territory. Also, we routinely have several people over. 

 

Bibs... she would drool through several a day. And i don't necessarily want to run laundry every single day. We may not have enough items to run laundry every day. Now that she is older and doesn't drool so much, we could probably get by on a 1-bib plan. I'll have to give it some thought. 

 

I'm in the stocking up on clothes camp. if I find something I like, I buy several colors because I usually have a hard time finding stuff that I like, and inevitably when I really need a given item I can't find one that I like. I've worn pretty much the same size since I was 14, excluding pregnancy and birth-related changes, so I'm not too worried about having it end up being the wrong size. I put all the items in my wardrobe though--I don't wear one and keep one in reserve. I have some sandals that I adore, and bought a pair when I wore out the previous pair... now i wish I'd bought another to have in reserve. 

 

The set of sheets we got at the time of our marriage ripped after 4 years. We bought duplicates when we found another set we liked, because we figured by the time these ones wear out they probably won't make that product anymore. 

 

I probably should pare down on shampoo, etc. It would certainly make things simpler. There are so many products in the shower and I don't need that many. 

 

I am pretty minimalist with shoes. One pair of boots (though I do want to get some rain boots), one pair of Danskos to wear to work, one pair of sneakers, one pair of daily-use sandals, a couple of pairs of dressy sandals. I do want to revisit my old battered shoes though. I like to have a pair as backup in case I am doing something mucky, but I don't need 3 pairs, and they're starting to get kind of grody. 

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#22 of 26 Old 04-02-2013, 08:05 AM
 
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Interesting, I don't have one of anything like that, but I certainly have been more mindful about not having more than I need with a reasonable amount of resupply for when it runs out. Like I tend to have one bottle of shampoo in use and one in reserve, two at most if I catch it on sale, but no more a shelf filled with 10 shampoo bottles as you never get through them before they go bad! And for dish towels, I find that if I have too many then they just pile up or DH used 5 of them to cook one meal eyesroll.gif , having less, but still enough to get us through a few days is a good thing there. So I guess I apply the general philosophy, just not quite down to one.

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#23 of 26 Old 04-26-2013, 09:22 AM
 
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Old thread, but I'll add that when we were moving I packed up all but 4 mugs of our many, many coffee mugs.  That's one mug for each of us. It meant washing them all every day. It also meant they weren't piling up in the sink and across the counter. It was really nice, and I was all for keeping it that way. You can only use one at a time. But dh and the kids seem to think they're being deprived if they don't see that abundance of mugs in the cupboard.

 

Dh and I are fundamentally different this way.  Mostly it's not a problem. But he's a cell-phone-o-phile and doesn't see anything wrong with getting the latest, greatest phone even though he's already got one (or seven, or more).  He broke one, got a temporary sent to him, got the repaired one back, now his boss has him testing a new line before they hand them out to the rest of the employees.  He's making noises like he wants to give me one of the 'old' ones, none of which are more than nine months old.  I'm already using his hand-me-down blackberry, which I'm perfectly happy with.  I can't see giving it up to take on a new, fundamentally different system, just because it's there. And it kind of bothers me that he thinks it's okay.

 

Hmm, maybe that was slightly off topic.  lol.gif


Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#24 of 26 Old 04-26-2013, 10:08 AM
 
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Journeymom, our DH's should get together. Mine is obsessed with Apple gadgetry. We both have iPhone 4S's and I love mine; plan to drive it into the ground so to speak. He's drooling over every new thing that comes out and spends an hour or more a day researching romours. He wants the latest iPad and iPad mini even though he has an older one that he uses all the time without issues. I asked him WHY he needed a new one and he looked at me like I had two heads. Boys and their toys....
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#25 of 26 Old 04-26-2013, 12:07 PM
 
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Journeymom, our DH's should get together. Mine is obsessed with Apple gadgetry. We both have iPhone 4S's and I love mine; plan to drive it into the ground so to speak. He's drooling over every new thing that comes out and spends an hour or more a day researching romours. He wants the latest iPad and iPad mini even though he has an older one that he uses all the time without issues. I asked him WHY he needed a new one and he looked at me like I had two heads. Boys and their toys....

 

Exactly. Use it up, wear it out.  And that's the problem! It's not a need, it's a want. eyesroll.gif


Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#26 of 26 Old 05-11-2013, 10:02 AM
 
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Old thread, but I'll add that when we were moving I packed up all but 4 mugs of our many, many coffee mugs.  That's one mug for each of us. It meant washing them all every day. It also meant they weren't piling up in the sink and across the counter. It was really nice, and I was all for keeping it that way. You can only use one at a time. But dh and the kids seem to think they're being deprived if they don't see that abundance of mugs in the cupboard.

 

Dh and I are fundamentally different this way.  Mostly it's not a problem. But he's a cell-phone-o-phile and doesn't see anything wrong with getting the latest, greatest phone even though he's already got one (or seven, or more).  He broke one, got a temporary sent to him, got the repaired one back, now his boss has him testing a new line before they hand them out to the rest of the employees.  He's making noises like he wants to give me one of the 'old' ones, none of which are more than nine months old.  I'm already using his hand-me-down blackberry, which I'm perfectly happy with.  I can't see giving it up to take on a new, fundamentally different system, just because it's there. And it kind of bothers me that he thinks it's okay.

 

Hmm, maybe that was slightly off topic.  lol.gif

You can send those phones my way ;)

 

Discovered my inner minimalist last year.  I am still working to pull it out of the closet, however.

Some of these posts got me thinking of other things I can purge, yay!

I am also guilty of returning to the store to buy a duplicate item of clothing, or the same style in a different color.

We have way too many blankets right now.  I have slowly been urging myself to let go of one or two here and there.  Mostly the kids blankets that are an issue, but my youngest is transitioning out of infant everything and into toddler sizes, making the decision to let go easier (what's the point of a blanket if it won't cover ya toes?!)

I am done having children (at least for the next 8-10 years minimum!) and it feels great to finally let go and see the infant items leave my home.  I know many Mamas get sad during this transition, but I am personally doing a celebratory dance when my youngest gets to "upgrade".

I am soon going to purge:  towels, my shoes, toddler puzzles, winter hats/mittens/etc., smaller or non-loved blankets, maybe kid cups, small kitchen things, kid books, maybe carseats, maybe my hoodies, grown-up DVDs because all we could ever need is on Netflix or TV, more kid toys...

I have recently purged or decided to sell/donate SO much.  I am really starting to see a difference in my home.  And with a few items gone in one spot, it helps to get a better organizational system for everything around it.

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