How Often Do You Take Stock of What You Own?

Do you find yourself buying duplicate household items? You head out to the store in search of spot remover only to come home and find three used bottles sitting on a shelf in the closet? I used to run into this problem quite often. I had so many bottles of this and that on the shelves that I couldn’t find anything I needed and had no idea what I actually owned.

So one evening I came home from work, pulled every item out of the closet and reorganized. I took stock of everything I found. I merged half used bottles and threw out bottles of items I know I’ll never use. The simple act of accounting for items I already owned helped prevent future purchases and since I moved to this model I haven’t purchased anything unnecessarily.

I’m trying to carry this model into other aspects of my life. I try to maintain a running list in my head of personal products like shampoo, conditioner, shaving gel, etc. I’m also doing my best to keep an eye on our food supplies. I often find myself overbuying dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk, so now I try to take a glance through the refrigerator and freezer before heading out to the store.

Some things are certainly easier to take stock of than others. Since I only clean once a week I have a general idea of what types of cleaning products I have on hand. On the flip side I find it much more difficult to keep track of food, since we’re constantly eating at home and switching up our weekly menus.

I find it best to clean, reorganize and take stock about once a month. Since I cleaned out my closet last week I have a good idea of what clothes I own and where my wardrobe is lacking. When I saw a shirt I really liked at the store, I knew I should walk away, because I already own something extremely similar.

Organization is certainly the key. I’m quickly discovering that the more organized I become the less likely I am to needlessly spend money.

5 thoughts on “How Often Do You Take Stock of What You Own?”

  1. Simple: We keep a blank pad on the fridge; when we are running low on anything, it goes on the list. If it isn't on the list; we don't "need" it, but that doesn't preclude stocking up on pantry items when they're at a good sale price.

  2. I really admire you for going through and getting organized. Today is Day 1 of my ten day "staycation" and I am hoping to get a lot of things straightened up in our house. The only problem is there is so much to do I know I can't do it all, so I have to be careful to not get overwhelmed trying to do everything. Baby steps, like you are doing, are the best way to go.

  3. My daughter is moving and she was surprised to find out how many body washes, shaving gels, etc., she had under the sink. Mostly this was because I keep buying "free after rebate" stuff and giving it to her.
    She sold some at a yard sale and donated the rest to a local food bank that also gives out toiletries.
    In an MSN Money Smart Spending blog essay called "Why you should inventory your food supply,"
    I noted how surprised I was by the abundance in my cupboards. My goal was to eat everything before I bought more. Although I have succumbed to some irresistible deals (pork 'n' beans for 12 and a half cents a can), I've been concentrating on cleaning things out, just as you have done.
    There's still a LOT left. On the bright side, my grocery bills have been awfully low because all I have to buy is fresh stuff.
    Have fun at the beach.

  4. For those frequent travelers, bring home the guest toilet articles left in your hotel bathroom. Some churches donate them to shelters.

  5. @Mrs. Accountability — Good luck with your reorg.

    @Donna — We saved a ton of money these past few weeks. I completely avoided the grocery store!


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