Many years ago I did a consultation with a person who was looking for suggestions regarding how to store things in her kitchen and pantry, where she was running out of space. An avid cook, she was not interested in getting rid of any of her kitchen utensils, which really did get used.
As we’ve noted before on Unclutterer, in March and June 2015, there are many ways to make the most of a small space. But in this particular situation, I couldn’t see anything to recommend — the available space was being well used. There was just too much stuff to fit into the space, no matter how beautifully organized it was.
When there’s too much stuff for too little space, there are a few obvious options you can consider if you want to keep the stuff:
- Move to a bigger home.
- Add onto the house, if you own it.
- Rent storage space.
Any of these can be a reasonable strategy under the right circumstances. But in this case, the items taking up all the extra space weren’t valuable items that would justify such an investment. They were mostly bulk purchases of paper goods and food items from warehouse clubs like Costco or packaged foods bought on sale at local grocery stores.
Large-quantity purchases are appealing because they can save you money as well as shopping time — and sometimes those savings will indeed be the most important consideration. Also, some of those bulk purchases might fulfill your need for disaster preparedness supplies.
But if bulk or on-sale purchases intrude on your living space and make your home more cluttered than you find comfortable, it may be time to re-evaluate your purchasing strategy. What trade-offs of savings vs. storage challenges make sense in your situation? As with many types of items people own the question becomes: How much space (and which specific space) in your home are you willing to dedicate to this category of thing?
Of course, large-quantity purchasing is not an all-or-nothing situation. You can choose some selected items to buy in bulk and pass on the rest. I buy a couple things in bulk from Amazon, including my floss picks, because I can’t find the specific products I want at local stores. But I do indeed have designated storage spaces for those items — and, of course, packages of floss picks don’t take much space.
And there are degrees of bulk and on-sale purchasing. For example, consider just how many rolls of toilet paper you really want to buy: 25 or 50, maybe? You probably don’t need 500, no matter how good the price.