I was a firm believer in the phrase, "You can never have too many___________". Extra plastic bags, plastic bins, reusable shopping bags, cardboard boxes, pencils, blankets, sheet sets, socks, girls headbands.....the list goes on and on. I was sure that you could never have too many of these things. Now as I am trying to minimize the amount of stuff I have I realize that, "you can never have too many_______" is a myth and a clutter creator. Here is how I learned that. On day 1 of my quest for less, when I was just fed up with stuff everywhere and had hit a breaking point where I was really ready to part ways with a HUGE amount of STUFF I had been storing, I realized as I got rid of a bunch of it, that while it is nice to have some of these things on hand, there will be plenty of opportunities down the road to find these items again. For example-reusable shopping bags. They are handy, I love them, I have a huge stash in the van to use when I shop and I have a huge pile hanging on a hook in the house and when I go to some thrift stores there is always a bin saying, "free" filled with reusable shopping bags. Why do I need to store 30 shopping bags? I will get one free when I stop and do the Pepsi challenge outside the supermarket. I will get one free when I sign up for insurance at the beginning of the school year. I can pick one up at the thrift store next time I am there if I really need one. I DON'T HAVE TO STORE A 2 YEAR SUPPLY OF SHOPPING BAGS. You most certainly can have enough shopping bags. The same goes for a shirt you are saving as a painting shirt. How many opportunities will come along to ruin a shirt and therefore turn it into a painting shirt. Do you need to have a drawer of, "ugly, no good shirts to use for painting?" NO!!! Socks; I thought a drawer full of socks was wonderful. But guess what, a drawer full of socks is a pain in the rear end. Folding and sorting and keeping all those things in their place. A pack of 8 pairs to use and wear out, followed by a new package of 8 pairs seems much more logical to me. I mean socks are easy to come by. The stores aren't going to run out of socks. My aunt gives everyone a pair of socks every time she sees them, we will have plenty of chances to get new socks. I don't need to personally store 25+ pairs of socks. Lastly, baby blankets. When I was pregnant for the first time everyone always said, "Oh you can never have enough baby blankets" and I believed them. I mean what did I know, and they are all so soft and cute and cuddly and I kept every single one I got. And guess what? You really can have too many baby blankets. What I ended up with was 2 baskets of blankets, a tub under the crib of blankets and the cute ones hanging on the sides of the crib. I was constantly juggling blankets. I felt like I had to use them all and so I was always swimming in blankets. Then I had another baby and I got MORE and then I had another baby and I GOT MORE. Believe me, you don't need this many blankets. They are so nice, they are thoughtful, they are warm and fluffy and cute. But too many becomes a hassle and overwhelming-rather than being helpful. And when you have a baby shower, guess what you are going to get? MORE BLANKETS. Now burp cloths, well I still believe you can't have too many of those-especially if you have a spitty baby.
There are some things that I think are nice to have in large amounts: ziplock bags, paper clips, hair elastics for kids, toilet paper and paper towels and paper bags (just cause I am a nut and love them) just to name a few. But I am now realizing that it is better to ask myself, "is this the only opportunity I will have to get this item or will the chance come along again?" And if it will come along again then maybe I don't need to have a bunch of it, just for the sake of having it. There are things that you can have too much of, just ask anyone who is trying to declutter.