The “Do Not Buy” list

I’m not sure where I got the idea for a “Do Not Buy” list – it might have been during the time that I read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and a half-dozen articles about it.

Wherever the idea originated, it honors a basic truth: an afternoon spent cleaning a closet, cupboard, or other space in one’s house almost invariably reveals stashes of single objects that one buys, unwittingly, again and again. For me, it is disposable razors. For my husband, dental floss and notebooks. We both buy quinoa and cans of black beans in apocalyptic quantities.

Our solution? Keeping a “Do Not Buy” list on the fridge. It lists items that we have large stashes of, that we are not allowed to buy until we’ve used up what we already have, at which point we can cross the item out and buy it only when needed. It draws our attention to the things we chronically, mistakenly think we’re out of, and helps us remember the existence of the stash and its location.

On the current Do Not Buy list:

  • quinoa
  • black beans
  • razors
  • sponges
  • trash bags


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