Long ago, I caught a Doctor Phil episode where he was mediating between a couple. The dude didn’t want to scrape the bottom of the peanut butter jar. The wife was not having it and was ready to toss their marriage. I had no idea this was worth arguing over!
Would you scrape the bottom of the peanut butter jar? Or is that beneath you? Does it feel satisfying to use it all up? Or does it feel petty?
There’s no right answer, of course, but you might have guessed where I come out on this most days.
I love knowing that I’ve gotten maximum use out of most things.
This little turn-of-the-last-century chant runs through my head when I wear a hole through my socks, when I scrape the inside of the hand cream tube, or when my favorite purse finally breaks a strap:
Use it up
Wear it out
Or do without
The Art of Running Out of Stuff
As a professional organizer, I hear a lot of, “I might just keep this because I might need it someday.”
Sure, there are a few useful “extras” hiding in our basements, closets and attic. In reality? Mostly our household storage spaces are where decisions go to die. We hold things so we don’t have to make a decision. We buy extras way before we can use them, and then buy replacements for the extras because it’s easier than searching in the dark spaces at home.
Things rot in storage or expire on the pantry shelves before we get to the bottom of the jar.
When was the last time you purposely ran out of stuff? Face cream, your favorite snacks, household cleaners? I’m not talking about toilet paper. I hope that never happens to you. But the other stuff?
If we can get better at gracefully running out of stuff and replacing it with only what we need, our lives are more simple, and our homes are less cluttered.
One of my favorite tools in this crusade is the Last Drop scooper.
Maybe this is the year you learn to become an expert at the art of running out of stuff. Something to think about.