There are two types of things in our lives — consumable goods and what I call hard goods. Consumable goods are things we buy, use, and re-buy to sustain our lives. Hard goods are items we buy with the intention of keeping them long term. There are some important differences between consumables and hard goods. First, the obvious is that consumables get used up and need to be re-acquired. Second, it makes sense to purchase consumables in quantity because of their consumable nature, provided you have ample space to store them. But one of the most important differences is that while consumables get consumed, hard goods live with us until we choose to move them along. Another differentiating factor is that consumable items need to be balanced and stay in motion. If not, you’ve got trouble. Trouble in the form of overspending, crowded storage spaces, mystery inventory and expired products which equals more wasted money.
To avoid these perils, evaluate your consumable inventory regularly. This means keeping on top of three primary areas: the refrigerator, the pantry and your toiletries stash.
- Clean out the refrigerator weekly, preferably the night before trash goes out to the curb.
- Keep informed about what’s in your pantry and don’t buy things you already have. Sort through everything in your pantry at least twice a year.
- Except for toilet paper and possibly bar soap, only keep a few extra toiletries on hand at any given time. Toiletry goods expire quickly (especially makeup), so buy them only when you need them.
There you have it … three simple ways to make sure your consumables get consumed in a way that doesn’t crowd your life, waste money, or waste food.