Economy Size

You know what's hard about living in a small house?  Stocking Up.  As the child of two Great Depression survivors, I was raised to believe that one should keep things on hand in quantity, whenever possible.  Cough-HOARD-Cough the important stuff, because you never know what's coming.  But space is at such a premium in my house that I've never felt I was doing a very good job in that arena.

Case in point: Bath Tissue. We run out all the time. Not just on a per-bathroom basis; I'm talking whole-house dearth. It's not uncommon to hear one of us yelling to anyone in range "Which bathroom is the roll in?!?" Pathetic. I blame myself, of course. It's not that I have far to go to get to the store. It's not that I'm unaware of the fact that the four of us run through it at a prodigious rate. It's not even that I mind buying it. I just can't seem to think of it when I'm at the store. So by the time the bath tissue situation reaches the red zone, I find myself in the paper aisle of the store, in an unreasonable hurry to get the goods and get back home.

It's in those soul-crushing moments that I have wished, O have I wished, that I had room to store the biggest collection of bath tissue imaginable. But then I remind myself, there is only space for 6 rolls on the bottom shelf of the bathroom linen closet. So that's what I get, promising myself to remember sooner next time. Maybe I can invent a Bath Tissue Gauge that lights up like the one on my car's dashboard when the gas is getting low. An Idiot Light for the bathroom...or something.

But now that I'm deeply imbedded in a personal war on clutter, something incredible has happened. You may recall that I have challenged myself to empty, de-junk and reorganize one drawer, shelf, or basket every day. In the great military tradition of giving wars motivational names, I've dubbed this endeavor "Operation Relentless Dustbin". And it's going surprisingly well.

The other morning, Phillip watched in genuine amazement as I de-barfed one of our 3 (okay, 8) kitchen junk drawers. "Why do we have three melon ballers?", I asked him. "What's a melon baller?" he answered. I'm not really confident he's clear on the concept of melon, but I kept one and jettisoned the others. The drawer was done before the coffee. My spouse was deeply impressed. Not enough to offer to enlist in my fight, you understand, but hey, baby steps.

So pumped by my husband's encouragement was I that the next day, I tackled the bottom shelf of the bathroom linen closet. Where the bath tissue lives, when we have any. And do you know what I found?

A 24-in square cardboard box, hogging up most of the room on the bath tissue shelf. How had I never noticed this before? What could be in there, that is so precious to us that we have never disturbed its slumber, even at the expense of adequate basic supplies?

Stuff, it turned out, that I remembered packing TWO HOUSES AGO. That box was a time capsule of our bathroom, circa 2005.  Yep. And a lot of it was actual trash. I must have packed it at the end of the move, when all perspective had been lost. So all this time, I've been living in Insufficient Bath Tissue Hell, in order to devote space to a box I did not know was there, full of crap I did not need.

It will surprise none of you that I ended up cleaning all of the shelves in the closet that day. Like Sherman on his march to the sea, I left nothing behind but scorched earth. And then guess what I did? Yep. I went to the store and procured the Mother Lode of bath tissue.

How's Operation Relentless Dustbin going for you? Care to enlist?