Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More Isn't Always Better

We are conditioned in our culture to lean towards "the more the merrier" (for just about everything except family size!). I've found that, even with a large family, there are some things that are nice to buy in smaller sizes for various reasons, even if they cost a little bit more:

Condiments - a small bottle of mustard is about 88 cents. It lasts about three months in our family. Having a smaller size is easier for the kids to use and takes less space in the fridge. A squeeze bottle of mayo prevents my little ones from contaminating it with tuna or pickle relish and if they accidentally leave the bottle out on a warm day, there's a lot less waste. (You can also keep a larger jar in the back of the fridge for refills.

Ice Cream - Unless we're having a big party, I avoid the huge buckets of ice cream. Sure they're less cost per ounce but I don't really need those extra calories. We prefer to get the really good ice cream when it's on sale and just enjoy it for a short time.

Soda for sickness - The Seven Up or Sprite we keep on hand for illnesses are best in cans rather than 2-liter bottles. That way you can store the extra cans until needed instead of feeling like you have to use up a whole bottle. I especially like the "mini" Sprite cans.

Well, you get the idea for a few food examples. Are there any things for which you've found that "less is more"?


Nancy C. Brown said...

I'm thinking of things that are "special" to us, but "normal average everyday" for most others. Like TV. We don't have it hooked up to anything, so it can't just get turned on, we have to put a video or DVD into it to get it to make pictures. So, for us, a movie is a special occasion, and in order to keep it that, we can't watch too many of them, or they would cease to be "special."

We do the same thing as you with soda (only for illnesses). And several youth group kids gave up soda for lent last year, which my kids could never do. They also could not believe that my 13 year old had never had caffeine, in any form.

Smaller bottles of fingernail polish are nice for young teens who want a taste of makeup, but the parents won't allow anything else. And they can only wear it for a special occasion. The small bottle might gunk up faster, but then it is small.

Small boxes of dishwasher detergent are better than Sam's club buckets which take up too much under-sink room.

And fewer shoes (and I would think this would be especially true for larger families) --but shoes that can serve for many occasions-- help keep the shoe clutter under control.

I can even go so far as to say that fewer books are good. I have a friend who just tonight told me she lost the religion text she was going to use this year (Didache, has anyone borrowed it and not returned it?!) and she has so many books, she can't keep in her mind all she has.

We have one book shelf. If we get more books than it can hold, it is time to give away to the library. Then if we do actually need that book again, we can just check it out. This cuts down on clutter and keeps things under control.

Less is more, I've heard. We've made serious efforts in the last few years to "de-clutter" and simplify, and it has helped. And someday, hopefully when we're older but we don't know, we'll die and our kids won't have so much to deal with.

Love2Learn Mom said...

Great ideas Nancy. We like to do that shoe thing, particularly in the winter. Land's End has an "all-weather" moc which is really useful for all sorts of things. I've worn them to church with skirts, with jeans about town and just outside to get the mail. They have a boot-like tread but are easy to slip-on. I have these for myself and for most of my children. It is amazing how much the shoes pile up in our "cloak room" (as my daughter prefers to "mud room").

Nancy C. Brown said...

I like "cloak room" much better! I variously call that room the "back hall" and the "laundry room" which confuses everyone.
We do the Land's End mocs, too! Versatile.