Thursday, April 10, 2008

Surplus

So I'm sorting through all my cabinets, and it hits me:

The guilt of stuff unused.

You know what I'm talking about. The second breadmaker that you picked up for double-batches of cinnamon rolls. The Italian platter that was half an inch too wide to fit in the kitchen cabinet.

I look at these purchases, and I regret the money I spent.

But that's no reason to hang on forever. Accept that I'll never preheat the bread warmer before dinner starts. Give it to a friend who has always wanted one.

Find the surplus and make a plan for using it up. Heavy on vases? I'll be sending a lot of bouquets this spring.

The less you spend on your purchases, the less you will regret the ones which are mistakes. And every shopper makes them, no matter how cheap or smart you are.

Do you have something you wish you'd never bought? What is it and how do you plan to let it go?

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not buy the stuff I get rid of. As a child care provider I guess I am like a lot of teachers. I get these 'gifts' from all of the children for Christmas and Mother's Day. Please do not think I am an ungreatful twit, but gosh some of this is just not to my taste and I can only keep so much. Like a candle with the sent of Monkey Farts. Yep. I got one. Like more bath salts and cheap perfume than I will ever wear. I do not want to be ungreatful, but what do you do with it all? It goes into a box and off to the Goodwill store.
The item I brought and regreat spending the money was on one of those water dispensors. It was huge. Took up too much of my kitchen, and it took forever to 'draw' a gallon of water from it. Then loading the 5 gallon water jug onto it was impossible for me. We live in an area with super hard water, water that has a mineral taste to it that we do not like. So I buy bottle water by the gallon now for drinking, tea, coffee and for mixing juice. I gave the big dispensor unit to Goodwill a few weeks ago. It had sat unused in my storage room for more than a year. Now someone else can use it. It cost us about $130.00 for the unit and 2 bottles. So that was an expensive lesson learned. Roxie

lynnae said...

I am living this lesson right now. Slowly I'm decluttering my house, and I'm finding all kinds of stuff I wasted money on. It's depressing, but a good lesson learned.

Meredith said...

Yes, I'm not shy about giving away gifts, either.

Why keep it when someone else will be thrilled to have it?

I have honed my buying to things I pretty much will USE, but I still find that some things won't work as well as I thought or are no longer needed anymore.

It's not a case of buying anything that's a bargain, but of realizing when the time has come...and acting on it!

That said, I'd better get back to the closets!!!!!

Jenny's Vegcafe said...

I spent ten dollars on a large wooden lazy susan that does nothing but take up space on my kitchen counter. I bought it for my pantry and it's too large to fit. Every time I think about I feel foolish.

The Hen said...

I don't think there is enough space to write it all...so much better than in the past though.

artgirlATL said...

yes, if the rain holds off I'm participating in a church/financial peace yard sale. I'm selling an old sewing machine since I've inherited a my grandmothers and no longer need the one I got at Wal-Mart. How much should I mark it? I paid $99. Of course I know that doesn't mean squat. But in my cheap little world it does way in. Maybe $20?

Caroline said...

Yes, it's called the "Body Shaper"! I know you all have seen the infomercials and you're laughing at me for ordering it!

Anonymous said...

I got suckered into buying the gazelle exercise machine (Dang that Tony Little infomercial!!!). ;) I will be selling it on craigslist and hope there is another person - like me - who is lured by his fancy machine. Except hopefully they will actually use it.

Michelle

ktoth04 said...

freecycle is the way to go!

Emily said...

shoes. I buy them second hand and can't pass them by. but usually I wear the same 2 or 3 pairs. :)

Shannon@Idylwild said...

Homeschool books are my "why did I spend my money on that" weakness. I love books anyway, but I have a shelf full of curriculum that I either won't use for years or just don't need. Some of it is going to a book sale tomorrow, but some of it I'm putting into use this summer when we're not "doing school" but don't want to watch tv all day!

mama k said...

craft supplies.

Knitting and crafting is my sanity. However, I tend to stockpile way more than I'll ever need. "Sales" and good deals are my downfall.
I have been trying to pare down a bit and destash so that I'll have less clutter. So I've been feeling the guilt of unneeded purchases lately.

HopewellMomSchool said...

Some days that would be my house--I truly hate having a basement! It is a junk magnet!! lol..My plan? Buy a lot of trash bags this month and use them! Great post!

Frugalicious said...

I had a custom piece of glass cut for the second hand baker's rack I purchased. It bothered me so much the bottom shelf did not have the glass for it. I did not account for the bars for the frame and measured incorrectly. There sits this large piece of glass. I tried to sell it on craig's list,but to no avail. It is stored in our garage, waiting for the right project. I was so angry I wasted the money, but I am forgiving myself. The baker's rack was second hand after all. The missing shelf was not from my misuse.

I appreciate your honesty. Typically we do not accumulate stuff we don't use. Well, I don't - my husband is another matter. For the past several years we have moved on average every 3 years, so it was a great opportunity to take unused stuff to the goodwill. I just get into this mood where I can purge stuff we don't need. Your post has me thinking I may not be as good as I thought.

jules said...

The water pic. Bought new for $50. Still in the box. Never been used. At all.(shaking my head)

Daughter of the King said...

Have lot's to go on Craig's list...
Don't even know where to start...the box of Christian books that I am not keeping will probably be first.
Deby
the older I get, the less I need or WANT...wish I had learned this lesson earlier..and I too am a BIG re-gifter..otherwise I think it is a WASTE.

Anonymous said...

The mountain of toys that never seem to be played with or needed.
They are going to a local playhouse soon.

My large dishware collection that sits in the cabinet collecting dust because I don't use it because it is "special". Silly.

the books that could have come from the library but I dearly love books. But still, there they sit. Those are going to the women's shelter because they always lack books in the library section.

Margo said...

After I re-organized my closet, I realized I have gobs of candles! Fortunately, they make good gifts and can be used up. In fact, I like to give and receive gifts of soap and candles and food.

I currently am frustrated with my husband. He hangs on to things that he doesn't use AND he doesn't like putting them in storage, so our little house has extra stuff in it that I can't do anything about. Well, I'm trying to adjust my attitude. . .

Amanda on Maui said...

I regret my flour sifter. It's the click handle kind, which everyone recommended to me. I only paid 5 dollars for it at Ross.
It worked too slowly. Sifting flour with it took forever.
There were also 3 layers of mesh, so cleaning it was not easy.
I also stupidly tried to wash it with water. So, now there is a large blob of flour stuck in it.
Nothing I can do to get it out of there.
I have to trash it and get a different style.

Joy of Frugal Living said...

Just last night I was also thinking of giving flower bouquets with some of my surplus vases.

I find a lot of the stuff I should declutter is stuff I have been given.

Several years ago when we had a long move to make, we did a major decluttering and got rid of all of our junk furniture. It would have cost more to move it than to replace. While I wouldn't want to do that with the lovely older, solid stuff we have now, it was very freeing at the time.

Karen said...

A GIANT steamer. Granted, I paid only $6.95 for it a couple years ago...and did not know the wonder of a steamer basket at that time. It came in handy, though, when my daughter was working her way through the vegetable family. I uses it about twice per month to make homemade baby food. Should I keep it or get rid of it? Will my handy steamer basket do just fine?

Anonymous said...

amanda, that's so funny - a blob in the middle of your sifter. :) I never use a sifter except a small tea strainer for clumpy baking soda. If you use a spoon to fill the measuring cup, rather than dipping it in the flour and thereby packing the flour tightly, you really don't need to sift IMO.
This time I will sign as
"a-nony-mouse"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the push to get rid of unused stuff. Everywhere I look are things that I have no use for and don't know why I bought many of them in the first place. I also have lots of things that were gifted to me that I don't really want. I am about ready to go the route of the Lentils and Rice lady and get rid of practically everything. Well, maybe not to that extreme, but I AM going to have a whopper of a yard sale and anything that doesn't sell there is Goodwill bound. AND I swear I will bring less in in the future! The clutter in my closets and cabinets is cluttering my mind! I think I will feel better mentally when this stuff is gone.

Nanny said...

I bought a deep fryer a year ago and have only used it once!

Great Blog!

God Bless!!

Kristy said...

Ugh, I'm in the middle of a declutter also. We just had our 3rd child, and live in a 1000 square foot house. With homeschooling going on, it is time for a declutter! I tend to buy a lot of homeschooling items that I never use. Ebay, here I come! Although, once I bought a yogurt maker that I thought I would regret-ya know, the *use it once and never again*....Well, it was a great $2.50! I use it all the time!

Anonymous said...

oh dear.

Well, I'm looking at them right now: Books I HAD to have, which will be Ebay'd at a fraction of the cost I paid. If they even sell then!

And an All-Clad hand-operated espresso machine on clearance at TJM. It really IS cool, it really works, but it's awkward to clean and store. I bought it so we can have fresh espresso when we camp. Except...we don't camp where there is no electricity. Ever.

deb meyers

Jennifer F. said...

Something I regret buying? Oh, about half my wardrobe. What is it that they put in the air at department stores that makes people think that snazzy colors and patterns look great and forget that they only ever wear gray and black? Or maybe that's just me.

One thing I HOPE is not going to end up on this list is that we just stretched our budget to buy a *triple* jogging stroller. My husband thought that perhaps I should leave the house once a year or so, and we realized that this stroller would allow me to walk places with my three children (the oldest is three). So far I've used it every day...but I'll feel terrible if this huge, expensive thing just sits in our garage!!

A Dusty Frame said...

Mine would be the Tupperware huge round thing to put veggies/dip in.
I have NEVER used it, but every time I try to get rid of it I think of the 20+ dollars I spent on something I just "had to have";)

Lizzie

Ewokgirl said...

My most recent example is a pair of sandals. I bought some brown sandals last year to wear with my dressier clothes, except once I'd worn them a couple of times, I didn't think they were dressy enough. So, I just bought a new pair yesterday. What a waste!

Anonymous said...

I think about this alot!! My husband loves to shop, stores,malls, antiques stores, garage sales, flea markets....women always say "Wow you are so lucky!" but I really don't enjoy shopping....I feel like we are so blessed and we don't really NEED anything. He is really good about giving "stuff" away....but I almost get sick when I go to the mall and see people in a buying frenzy.....I don't feel the need to buy lots of new clothes every year....I have a couple of pairs of jeans and couple of pairs of dress slacks and probably more sweater sets and blouses than are necessary....when I read about people going hungry and the needs of children thru Compassion International....I just can't get to excited over the latest fashion item....I guess I am just boring...Pam, South Bend

Tubo Family said...

Hmmm, more than one thing that's for sure. Some over-zealous bargain-hunting, a little "well that didn't function as I hoped: and lots of well-meaning but inappropriate gifts. Lately though I just want to purge; DH & I have agreed long-term goal is to move closer to my family so now I look at all our stuff thinking "if we aren't using it now and I wouldn't pay to move it, it can go!".

Janette said...

I was given many things from my grandmother's house. Of course I could have not taken them...
Now, they are on hold for my adult children. I plan on asking in two or three years what they want. The rest.........it will have to find a new home.
I do regret buying a set of dishes that I did not order correctly- and was too embarassed to return.
Ah- youth!

SK and Family said...

I am looking forward to purging our possessions~it will be after we move! I cannot wait to go through everything (some things that I have missed b/c there wasn't room in this house) and decide what will stay and what will go...
:)Kat

diXymiss said...

Regrets? I've had a few... (cue Frank Sinatra). Your post brought to mind the beautiful Mikasa "turkey" platter I bought at a tag sale (for $8.00). At the time, I thought it was such a great bargain. It turned out to be 1/2" too wide to fit in the cupboard (sound familiar)? I don't know what I was thinking, anyway... Thanksgiving is always at Mom's house. It's been moved with us now a total of four times, but has never been used. Crazy!

Owlhaven said...

I blogged about this-- good idea!!

Mary, mom to many

Rachel said...

My mom and I just had a HUGE yard sale. We sold lots of stuff and gave the rest to a local ministry thrift store. I hope all the items go to better homes than ours.

Yon Saucy Wench said...

In a moment of terrible weakness, I bought a pair of leather boots. They're gorgeous and unique. They fit my foot and calf like they were made for me. I fell totally in love with them. They were also completely impractical and wickedly expensive. But a little voice said, "Come on. You work hard. You deserve something nice..." So I did it. Guilt set in about 5 seconds after I'd written the check -- we can't afford this! What was I thinking? I should have returned them on the spot, but I was didn't want to do an about-face in front of my friends. The guilt and shame have grown worse and worse. I no longer love them. They're this terrible symbol of my weakness, greed, and irresponsibility. I actually feel ill when I see them in the closet. I wish I'd never bought them. I'm listing them on ebay.

Amy said...

I am doing better, but when I first started thrift sale shopping, everything was such a great deal that I would bring home stuff that we didn't need. I am now trying to whittle down to what we need, although it can be very overwhelming at times. I find the more I get rid of though, the happier we all are :)

natalie said...

I have terribly low sales resistance to clothes under $1... therefore I have too much in my closet, and lots that I don't wear. Now that I'm not pregnant anymore, I'm going to wait for my weight to stabilize (read:hopefully reduce back to "before baby"!) and then conduct a massive purge! Mwahahaha!
(Sorry, the thought of purging just makes me feel gleeful!)

Loni said...

I dislike shopping, and dislike returns even more. So, I usually ask for a friend or family members opinion when buying things. The problem I have is that the people I usually ask are so opinionated that they convince me to get something they really like, not what I really like. And, I keep whatever it is around for a while to see if I'll get used to it and like it. By the time I realize that isn't going to happen, it's usually too late to return it. So then I am stuck with clothes I hardly wear and dishes that I spent way too much money on but don't want them displayed in my kitchen anymore. And since I paid so much for them, and since I asked a family member to help me pick them out, when is it okay to get rid of them?