Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Conquer Clutter: Buying in Bulk

(Photo credit: J. Arnold and CELF)

The last couple of days I have been highlighting some challenges found in the study by UCLA about 32 families called Life at Home in the 21st Century.  Today is about buying in bulk.  Buying in bulk, referring to buying large quantities or sizes of things NOT buying from the bulk food section of the grocery store, can be good and bad.  Sometimes it is nice to have a back up in the house of things we use regularly.  It saves us from going to the store as often.  Sometimes we can get a better price.  These are all good things about buying in bulk.  But, a study was done to show that when people buy in bulk, they tend to use and eat more than they would otherwise.  Also, it is important to be careful not to buy too much before it expires and it ends up being tossed.  It isn't a bargain if we waste it.  Another reason to be picky about what you buy in bulk is brought out in the UCLA article.  It tends to add to the clutter in the home.  For example, how many cleaning products do you really use and need?  I can fit all my cleaning supplies in a 12" x 12" space.  I have very few and it is nice to have an uncluttered cupboard that isn't full of different kinds of cleaners.  Last year, I started using half as much laundry detergent and dishwasher soap, so mine lasts twice as long as it used to.  This year I may cut it down to one third as much and save even more.  My dishes and clothes get just as clean and I save money and space in the cupboard on top of that.  I use Castille soap that will last a very long time because you use very little mixed with water.  I use vinegar and baking soda.  It is more environmentally friendly and the smell doesn't bother me and my skin isn't irritated like it is from other cleaners found in the store.  I believe that it is wise to be prepared and have extra on hand, but think rationally and figure out just what you use in a year or a time period you feel comfortable about, and avoid getting way more than you need, even if it is a good deal or free. 

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