How De-Cluttering Will Save Money In Ways You Might Not Have Expected

my bathroom cabinet barfed

It’s been on my to-do list for FAR too long. Cleaning out the cabinet under the bathroom sink is something I kept thinking:

  • “I gotta do that!”
  • “It’s getting out of control!”
  • “Ugh. I’ll just throw this in there for now.”
  • “I’ll definitely clean it out this weekend.”
  • “I thiiink I have one of those (insert whatever item here) but I just don’t know… better just pick one up to be safe!”

My poor husband Aaron doesn’t get any space in the cabinet, that is, expect for a small glass cup that he keeps some little things in. The over-flowing stacked-up and over-stuffed mess was ALL mine and I knew it.

I finally took Gretchen Rubin’s (author of the book The Happiness Project– highly recommended by the way) advice to “Tackle a Nagging Task”. I sat on the floor and just started. The excuses weren’t cool anymore. The time for action had begun.

It sounds so simple and like such common sense but JUST STARTING – meaning just taking the smallest amount of action can instigate amazing amounts of productivity.

The contents of the cabinet were all over the floor and I started to realize how many duplicate items I had. I had unknowingly been buying things multiple times because I had forgotten I already owned it!

Outta’ sight outta’ mind? Yep. Exactly.

Here’s what I found multiples of:

  • 3 cans of shaving cream
  • 8 (omg) bottles of sunblock
  • 4 bars of soap (plus I have TONS of travel size soaps that I’ve been stockpiling for some reason)
  • 4 Razor blade replacements
  • 2 cans of hairspray
  • 3 bottles of hair gel (I don’t even use it except for on my bangs, maybe)
  • 4 (say what?) bottles of conditioner (plus lots of travel size ones I’m been “collecting”)
  • 1 bottle of shampoo (again lots of little ones I’ve been saving because you just never know, right?)
  • 4 mini promotional tubes of toothpaste
  • 1 toothbrush
  • 3 bottles of sunless tanner (I don’t even use it!)
  • 2 bottles of face mask gel
  • 1 stick of deodorant

Had I kept the clutter at bay I would’ve saved a chunk of money. Lesson learned cabinet. Lesson learned.

P.S. Looking to declutter and minimize? CLICK HERE to learn about the Fearless Minimalist Guide


17 thoughts on “How De-Cluttering Will Save Money In Ways You Might Not Have Expected

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  1. Dana

    a timely post as my weekend plans involve some serious clutter busting! i did some last year at one point and found soooo much lotion! it all went in one basket and i swore to not buy a single drop more until it was all used. i'm guessing it will be somewhere around 2015 when i actually run out :)

  2. Allison

    If you're looking for something to do with all of the travel/sample size items you might reach out to a local shelter or soup kitchen. I collect all of mine and donate them to an organization that gives them to the local homeless. They're very in-demand items and easy for me to provide for free!

  3. Meghan

    Oh my gosh, I have been that person! I read The Happiness Project a couple months ago, and it was a great book! The Spending Diet really got me annoyed with excess. Plus I've been inspired by The Tasmanian Minimalist blog. Anyway, I re-organized my bathroom space and overflow cabinet to have all of my travel size lotions in one drawer, all soaps in another and am refusing to buy anything until I've exhausted my existing stash. The travel size hair products are gone, and I've made good progress on the lotions and soaps. It feels so good to have less! I used to be the type of person to buy ahead. Like I'm not out of this yet… but I should go ahead and get a refill now. I would justify making an impulse purchase because I knew I'd end up using the product. Now, I wait to buy the replacement until I am actually out. , PS – There's still a lot of work to be done on the make-up front. It's all organized but there's plenty of eye shadow and such to last for a while. I'm debating whether I should keep/use or pitch…

  4. Maryl

    My "breeders" are disposable razors, emery boards, hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide is the one that mystifies. Can't even think the last time I used it, so why do I have three bottles of it?

  5. Ella

    I did the same when I moved in my new apartment and found out we had 7 nose sprays among other things!! Also I found lot of products that were barely used but too old to be used more…

  6. Dinahsoar

    Hi my name is Dinah and I use to be a Bath & Body Works products hoarder! Ha ha! I'm trying to use up all the products I have on hand now. Been giving away most of it as gifts…so I don't have too much left now…going to make the switch to more natural products.

  7. Anna Newell Jones

    Such a good idea to give those extras as gifts Dinah. Gets them off your hands, out of your space and saves you money on gift costs! Perfect!

  8. Cherie

    You can now use this as an opportunity to do a "use it up" month – or longer – and save money. I do this every now and then by vowing to not buy any new item if I already have that item or similar (or a substitute) in my house. Then, because I don't live near a store, I keep one backup of regularly used items. This "use it up" idea is a real eye opener as sometimes I have gone for months without purchasing a particular item.

  9. Anna Newell Jones

    Oh yeah, definitely going to be using it all up before I purchase anything new. It's crazy how I was pretty clueless about all the items I already owned but didn't remember owning. This is major motivation to keep my clutter at bay!

  10. ana

    hey, i love this post anna. i just do not understand the buy-in-bulk/stockpile thing. well, maybe because i just don't have the storage for it. but still. resisting the urge to buy more than you need really makes you think about what your *really* do need. and makes you use up what you have already.

    thanks for sharing your tips and experiences here. i'm really enjoying blogs about cutting back on "stuff" and focusing on reigning in the finances. (gail vaz-oxlade's blog is another one i enjoy)

  11. Abigail

    lol, cosmic, I just cleaned out our bathroom cabinet this afternoon!
    I know exactly what you mean… and I too love the lesson from the happiness project! As a result I've been recently finding the time to tackle bigger projects I've been putting off for YEARS. And it feels good to have them completed and also to have them not cluttering up my brain.

    I also like the idea of never leaving a room empty handed, this helps me do the 5 minute clean up, Gretchen talks about doing every night. Instead I find little ways to stay on top of it all throughout the day. I look around the room and like a crazy bag lady, I scoop up random armfuls of crap to take to its rightful home- the kitchen, etc. ahhhh feels so good! (of course as I write this my room could use some extra attention!).

    great post!


    aka @GrayDayShop and tiptoethrough.blogspot

  12. Carol

    Great idea! I wanted to buy (another!) pricey bottle of perfume and my husband reminded me of just how many bottles of pricey perfume I already owned! I agreed to use all of my already purchased perfumes before buying. It’s been 4 years, yes 4! I’m almost there! Yay! My counter space has increased and I have less to dust! Now, I’m working on my closets.

  13. Pingback: Let It Go | Whit B Nimble

  14. Laura

    One article I read detailed a woman using up all of her ‘travel’ shampoos and it took over a year. A part of the spending diet should be also to just stop taking things – even if they are free. The hotel just has to produce more and we have more and more little plastic bottles floating around. Donating them to a shelter is a great suggestion if you want it all out of your house on the weekend. Or, make up ‘blessing bags’ for the next time you travel and give them to homeless (put in a razor, shampoo, socks, fem hygiene, etc all in a ziplock bag, along with a gift card for Subway or another food stop). As a single person, it’s amazing how slowly bottles are used up in the shower. There is no reason to stock pile ever! Thanks for the inspiration to clean out this weekend (and re-read Gretchen’s book).


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