In other words…Efforts to attain a more Mindful Pantry; Liberation through Reduction; and/or Managing the Well-Stocked Life. How’s that fer #firstworldproblems?
I’ve been following the Pantry Challenge over at Good Cheap Eats in an effort to once again be able to see the back of my freezer. But…being a type-A person, it isn’t enough for me just to clean out my pantry/freezer. Once I get rolling, LOOK OUT!
For me, this Pantry Challenge has re-ignited my drive to work through all the shampoo, lotion, cleaning supplies, perfume, vitamins & supplements, spices, teas, sunscreen, scented candles, and any/all other old funky stuff I’ve been stocking up on. Not to mention all manner of hair products that were supposed to change my life. Oh wait, I guess I just mentioned that, huh?
I’ve managed to avoid confronting all this stuff so far despite all the anti-clutter chatter because I keep it all out of sight and (relatively) organized, therefore it can’t be “clutter,” right? However, since it isn’t cluttering in a visible way it has just been growing. The curse of storage space! (Never thought I’d say that).
Now, I can’t control the fact that it is going to take forever to work through the backlog – We can only use so much lotion, so much shampoo, so much sunscreen. But I can control my buying – ie NO MORE BUYING!
Imagine the “savings!” No new shampoos until all the shampoos in the linen closet are used up. No new cleaning products until all the ones I already bought are used up (and then replace them with natural alternatives). No new lotion until all the bottles of lotion floating around the house are empty and recycled. No new sunscreen until every one of the 50 bottles I already own are gone. Sigh.
How do you balance abundance with reason?
Moving from a 600 sq ft apartment in Los Angeles to beautiful CO (where you can buy 3 houses for the price of 1 LA abode)…well, I might have gone a bit overboard (ie: just because I have a 100 sq ft pantry doesn’t mean I need to stock every square foot of it). LA was a place where I needed to be prepared for days or weeks with no shopping, but had no room to store all that entailed. Here in CO I have all the space in the world, but no impending Armageddon. Tack on to that the life-change of going down to one income and having the time to coupon…Well we’re in need of balance, let’s leave it at that.
Last summer I started delving into mindfulness, and it has helped in every aspect of my life but most superficially (or not?) in my house. While not a main tenet of the practice, heightened awareness has me questioning just about everything around me: Why is that couch there? Why are the toys stored this way? Why do I have all these spices? Why am I keeping every sample I ever got from Clinique? What is all this stuff, and if I’m not using it what is it for? If I’m not using it, then who am I saving this for? or for what special occasion?
Balance and abundance are key words around here – but how to BALANCE the ABUNDANCE?
I’m slowly coming to believe that Target is always going to be there. The grocery store will always be there. There is nothing that I really and truly NEED, you know? Can I just be grateful enough to recognize that I technically have everything that I need? I live an abundant, privileged, beautiful life. WHOA. Profundo.
For me I also see an aspect of recovery to this – getting over couponing, getting over scarcity, getting over LA and the emergency-mindset, getting over myself, getting over the shock of early motherhood. The mental recovery is leading to recovery of physical space and the mindfulness to make creative, progressive, and healthy choices about the things I collect and surround myself with (even if they are well organized and out of sight). Again – WHOA.
If you’ve read this far, to you especially I say: Use the things you are “saving” for a special occasion – YOU are a special occasion! Life is a special occasion. Being alive today in this moment is a special occasion. Truly. I’m not just burping butterflies, I mean it!
So…how to balance the abundance? I don’t know! Yet. But I think I’m on the road to find out. And of course, I’ll let you know what I learn along the way.
Have you been through this? Have any tips about managing the well-stocked life to share?