Downsizing: Consumables

Jack and I are 14 days away from the big move! Every week we go back through our ever-shrinking list of possessions, weeding out more and more that we don’t need. We’ve made some great headway, but we’re hoping to get the number down even further before the 30th.

One category of items we have found ourselves keeping are things that we have termed “consumables.” Anything that can get used up and replaced on a fairly regular basis is considered a consumable. As a rule, we don’t count these items as possessions. But recently we’ve struggled to decide what fits into this category. Shampoo is obviously a consumable, but what about the loofah? Paper towels make the list, but what about sponges?

One major thing I’ve struggled with is this:

photo4

Yep. As embarrassing as it is for this minimalist, I do tend to hang on to drawing/coloring tools. Love me some office supplies!

As I look in this bag, I can mentally find a hypothetical use for every item. I use the pencils to make lists. The colored pencils are for sketching new sewing patterns. Dry-erase markers are for reminders on the bathroom mirror, and the sharpies are for charts and the calendar. Everything in this bag has been used in the last year, and I know that eventually these items will run out or be used up and I’ll have to spend money on new ones. Theoretically.

But if I dramatically downsized this bag, how much of it would I realistically miss? How much would I actually need to replace in the near future? When was the last time I threw away a pen because it was out of ink? When was the last time I used a Sharpie dry? How many times have I bought new pens or markers because I lost my old ones?

Maybe I don’t need to keep so many backups. Maybe I just need to keep better track of my stuff!

What do you think? How far do you think I can reasonable downsize this bag? I’ll post an update with “after” pictures soon!

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12 thoughts on “Downsizing: Consumables

  1. For me, I’d keep only what I really really wanted. Apart from your sketching which may need colour… I’d keep the bare minimum & give the rest away to a friends child. My Mum however would keep them all & a stack of plain paper for when kids come over & need entertained!! (It works so well I’ve wondered about buying some to store) so if your friends have kids… Keep them all & remember to bring them out to play with. If you’ll never see a child in your house, I’d keep the ones you LIKE using & donate the rest.

    • Good ideas. Because of the move, I probably won’t have children in our house for a while. I think I’ll likely end up paring this bag down dramatically. I’m still on the fence about the colored pencils. They are useful for sketching patterns, but I think the last time I pulled out my sketchbook was 6 months ago at least.

  2. I try to buy as few plastic markers and mechanical pencils as possible, and stick to colored pencils and regular wooden pencils (they make them with sustainable wood sources now!) because there is nothing to throw away when they run out. We also have lots of crayons here! Have you considered a regular chalkboard and chalk instead of dry-erase? That said, I do have maybe two Sharpies, and I can’t seem to find a practical and earth-friendly alternative to plastic ink pens. Good Luck!!

    • I’m tossing around the idea of painting a chalkboard wall in whatever place we find in Athens. I love the idea of using chalk instead of markers. I definitely will look for eco-friendly pencils, though! That’s a great idea.

  3. I am so guilty of this. Every time there are back to school sales, I stack up on supplies. Then by December, I have no idea where everything went. Right now I am looking at three pencils,one has a point and no eraser, another one has eraser no point. Well you get the point I only have one WORKING pencil.

    • The office supplies aisle in any store in my Achilles heel. I love new pens, markers, and post-its. I have to force myself to stay away from that part of the store all together. :p But I end up just like you – with only one working pen or pencil when I need it.

  4. I find it difficult to throw away useful things. I’m pretty good dumping useless junk, but useful things like pens, erasers, markers, rulers, pens and pencils is difficult for me to toss. Maybe it’s a mind thing or maybe it’s just the way the world works. But, I can say this: if two or more things are in that bag and they’re doing the same thing, only keep two of them. The other stuff is useless. Better still, give them to a friend. If you ever need more in the future, you know where to find them! 🙂

  5. I also tend to keep too much of “little” stuff, which I’m learning eventually turns into big piles! In agreement with a lot of the comments, keep what’s useful. And I’m with Jen, as you eventually need to replace, look for earth friendly items. I find this is one thing that helps me cut down on needlessly large quantities, since they usually cost a bit more! 🙂

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