An un-comprehensive list of things I don’t need any more of…

Last year, I blogged about cleaning out my handbag and discovering that I had (by actual count) 20 lip balm in my everyday purse. This number did not include the various tubes and stashed in coat pockets or around my house.

Since then, I have discovered that I’m like this with other things too. Have you ever noticed that there are specific things that you just always think you might be out of, so you buy another on, just in case? The classic example of this for me is baking soda/baking powder. If I am planning to do any baking and I’m at the grocery store, I will spend a couple of minutes wondering if I have fresh baking soda or powder at home, and invariably I will decide that it’s better to be safe than sorry and purchase another one of each, just in case. And this is why I currently have three boxes of baking soda and SIX cans of baking powder in my pantry even as I type this.

Windshield wiper fluid. Every time I find myself in an auto parts store or a gas station with a display, I buy a bottle of windshield wiper fluid thinking I should probably have some in the garage. Except I already have six gallons of the stuff.

Flash drives. These are always impulse-bought at Office Depot while I’m standing in the checkout line because, hey!, you can never have too many flash drives, right? Wrong! This technology will be obsolete before I ever need to purchase another one. (I do have a one flash drive on my key chain that I would give up for love or money, cause it’s come in handy loads of times. This is the one I carry everywhere: LaCie iamakey v2 8 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive )

Extension cords. I do not need to buy another extension cord ever again in my entire life. Indoor, outdoor or otherwise. The same goes for power strips and those adaptor things let you plug three prong cords into two prong outlets.

I want to be clear here that I’m not hoarding any of these things. I have zero attachment to any of them. They are just things that I tend to forget about having already. Am I crazy or do y’all do this too?


  1. Over the years we have been strange collectors. At one time I had 4 strollers. As a walker, I needed one for the bus, one for long walks etc, until I somehow had 4. Same with Barbecues. At one time we seemed to breed them. We had 3, then we gave away 2 and the one we kept broke, and then we had to buy one. I wish I had a purse full of lip gloss, mine seems to eat them. I know somewhere in my house they gather and laugh at me.

  2. Coriander. Coriander has not penetrated into my brain’s list of “spices I use, and therefore have on hand.” So for a while, every time I cooked something that called for coriander, coriander went onto my shopping list, and I brought home a new jar. At one point I had four. When I moved, I discarded all but the newest one.

  3. Oddly, I also do the baking soda / baking powder thing. And when we recently reorganised the storage area in our basement we discovered that we are apparently quite worried there will be a canned corn shortage at some stage.

  4. I do this too – the last time I cleaned out my pantry I found that I had six boxes of brown sugar and three bags of confectioner’s sugar. We have enough AAA and AA batteries to power a small country.

  5. Bounce Dryer Sheets. They don’t go stale, so I buy them whenever I think I might be running low or they are on sale. Currently I have enough dryer sheets to run one load of laundry every day for 6 years.

    I took them off the grocery list.

  6. Say, if you have extra baking soda, you can use it up by cleaning your drains! Just pour some baking soda down the drain and pour cheap white vinegar over it. It’ll fizz up like a volcano, which will scrub the gunk out of the pipes. If you do this regularly, it can help keep the pipes clean and prevent clogs, without pouring lots of chemicals down the drain. I don’t have any suggestions for using up the other stuff, though.

    I have a bad habit of overstocking my favorite cereal from Dorset Cereals ( It’s been on sale at my grocery store for the last couple of weeks, and I’m afraid they’re discontinuing it, so I’m stockpiling.

  7. Use that baking soda to brighten, whiten and soften your laundry!

  8. You can never (NEVER) have too much chapstick. Ever. I may also have this problem. Other things I buy, but probably don’t need, cans of coconut milk (we like curries), diced tomatoes, soap, bath bubbles/fizzies/soaks.

  9. Tracy, thank you very much for your tip! I have so many baking soda things I don’t know what to do with them. Having had a blocked kitchen sink for 3 days now, and tried everything under the sun – the baking soda and vinegar trick just did it! I am so happy, thank you

  10. No worries – we all do. My items of the moment are olive oil and my favorite salad dressing (4 in the pantry and one in the fridge!). What do I think would happen if I ran out??? Maybe I could use the extra olive oil I also keep buying to make some :)

  11. At the moment mine is cans of pumpkin. For some reason pumpkin was impossible to get for a while and so once it became available again I bought a few cans whenever I went shopping. I was using a ton at the time, but when I stopped using so much pumpkin, I kept buying it. I think I’ve officially gone over to stockpiling.

  12. I absolutely do this! I am particularly drawn to buying laundry detergent ‘just in case’.

  13. I don’t have multiple lip balms in one place, but I do have one in every bag and coat pocket and in each room in my apartment. I found if I kept moving them, I’d end up without one, so I just spread the love.

  14. Cats, I seem to collect cats… Oh, not what you were talking about…. I have this thing, too, about baking soda. Once opened, can never be used for baking again. I keep saying I am going to take it out of the box and put it in a jar and then it won’t absorb some funky smell and funk (yes, I meant funk, not the other ‘f’ word) up my baking. I use the ‘left overs’ to clean with, I use it to scrub my bath tub, counter tops, inside of my coffee pot, you get the idea. Just enough umph without the scratches. a damp sponge and sprinkle the baking powder on the sponge or item to be cleaned and scrub away! And yes, in the laundry and down the pipes with vinegar, which is a whole ‘nother story… (I swear, once opened, it seems to go ‘weak’ and then only good for the pipes, with funky baking soda.) And FYI, I use only vinegar to clean my floors, unless you count water and then it’s water and vinegar…

  15. heehee, too funny! I think we all have a little ‘hoarding’ (?) in us. Can’t pass-up a sale/discount or those blasted ‘coupons’!!! I’m really trying to do better!

  16. For me, it’s bottles of shampoo (not conditioner for some reason) and hand-made soaps. Whenever I run across a soap maker, I end up buying 2-3 bars. I should have enough soap to last the rest of the decade at least. Oh yes, and blank books. I have been keeping a steady journal since 1989, and I must have 30 blank ones still to be written in. Can’t help it. When I see a pretty one, I buy it. I adore blank books!

    • Susan

      January 23, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Benita, I totally forgot to add both handmade soap and blank books to my post! OMG I am worse than I thought!

  17. we collect laundry detergent.

  18. another use for baking soda? leave it out free choice for your goats. If they need a little tummy help, they’ll help themselves. I collect lip balm, too.

  19. i do this, i’m really bad with spices, baking soda, shampoo, etc. i’m trying to get better and look in my cabinets for stuff before i leave to go to the store. oh and deco sugar for cookies, cakes, etc. i have 3 red colors, 2 orange, a couple of green… oy!


  20. Okay, when I read Benita’s post I, too, realized I have those obsessions too!! Trying to make this year the year I use all the soap at least! Cats stay…

  21. Shirra, I had the same pumpkin problem.

    2 years ago? There was a dry summer and an early freeze, and the pumpkin crop across most of the US failed. There was enough for Thanksgiving, but the cans were nowhere to be found by January.

    Which is a huge problem if it is the only thing that moderates the stomach troubles of your 80lb dog!

    We tried everything…papaya enzyme, sweet potatoes, rice…nothing as good as pumpkin.

    Now when I see the giant cans in the 3 pack, I pick up a few.

    Nail clippers (though they’re all dull) and orange sticks. You can do anything with those…they’ll work as scissors and knitting needles, fish something out of a sink, or, heaven forbid…tidy up a ragged cuticle.

  22. This clearly has struck a chord with many of us. For my former husband it was ketchup. Anytime he was getting something like hamburgers or hot dogs he would buy a new bottle of ketchup just to make sure. And consequently we had, at one point, 6 or 7 bottles of the stuff, most of them unopened.

    Unsurprisingly, I have that problem with knitting needles. Specifically Addis. When I used to work for a yarn shop I acquired so many of the same sizes… I think I have at least 3 or 4 32″ size 8s. I also have several 24″ size 2s, from my Fair Isle sweater days. (Oh how I miss those days!)

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