Running Out

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We should run out of stuff.

There’s a prevailing and destructive concept that most of our households struggle with which traps us in an unending cycle of hoarding, waste, and feeling overwhelmed by too much stuff: We can’t run out of that!

I have a vivid memory of freaking out to my friends in high school that my mom hadn’t gone to the store and I didn’t get to have my preferred breakfast. Fortunately for me, my friends weren’t idiots and they pushed back telling me to eat a sandwich and relax. I needed to learn to be more flexible.

I bought a lot of it because I know we’ll use it.

This is a really destructive mindset we have to vanquish from our brains and buying habits.  Unless it’s at an incredible price, you’re certain you’ll use it all before it expires or spoils, and you have adequate storage space, this isn’t a wise choice–it will just create clutter and potentially waste.

How I approach it
  • We can’t run out of essentials. Medications are essential. Diapers and toilet paper and soap and clean drinking water are all essential. You should NOT run out of these things. I think we can all agree that running out of them would be bad. We need to eat. We need to be able to do life.
  • We need to redefine “essentials.” Having our favorite snack around is not essential. If we’re trying to be minimalists and simplify life, it’s important for me and my family to reassess so we’re in agreement about what this should look like, because no one likes change or surprises
  • We need to be less manipulated by sales and do more with less. Most people I know stick pretty closely to a budget and therefore, take advantage of sales. There’s nothing wrong with doing that so long as we’re purchasing items we really want and need. And it should be reasonable. I used to spend a lot of time and effort to buy Tide at good prices, causing myself crazy stress instead of thinking outside the box for a better solution. Now I make my own detergent, which we LOVE, and it’s virtually stress-free.
  • It’s critically important for our hearts and minds to be without. Do we realize that when we always get everything we want we’re spoiling ourselves? We’re training ourselves and our kids that we have a right not to be without our favorite sandwich or chips or fruit or juice or soda. When we DO run out of things on a consistent and frequent basis, 2 things happen:
    1. We get used to it and can receive it with a better attitude. Think about the unpleasant things you have to communicate on a frequent basis (your favorite shirt is dirty, it’s raining and we can’t go outside, someone already checked your book out of the library). Unless it’s catastrophic, we handle it well, because we’re used to it. We want our responses and those of our kids to be “OK,” not screaming tantrums. Running out of non-critical items needs to become mundane.
    2. We become less prone to gluttony. This isn’t a word people use a lot, but since America has an obesity epidemic and all of us would at least say that we want to be healthy, we need to be more intentional about portion size and wise food choices—eating foods that will fuel our bodies instead of just satiating our cravings.

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