Spend out

This is a phrase that Gretchen Rubin uses. I’ve always understood it because I have the same habits as she does. I get something new or special and my instinct is to want to save it. For what, I don’t know. Here’s her spend out advice from her most recent book, Outer Order, Inner Calm.

Spend out

Do you have the impulse to save things, to hold back? I sure do.

I loved my delicate white wedding china so much that I used it only a handful of times during the first twenty years of married life, for fear that I’d break a plate or chip a bowl. Finally, I decided to face my fear, use the china, and enjoy it as long as it lasted.

Beautiful stationery, fancy bath salts, fine cooking ingredients, fresh new white t-shirts, sharp tools, piles of enread books…these things are meant to be put to work.

It’s satisfying to use the things we own, and it’s wasteful to save them for a day that may never come.

Recently, I had to toss an expensive scented candle, still untouched inside its wrapper; I’d “saved” it for so long that the oils had separated and leaked. Why was I saving it?

Put things to good use. Spend out.

I love where she said things “are meant to be put to work.”

I’ve gotten better over the years, but I did just use up the bath salts I got last Easter and a bath bomb I got for Christmas so I’m not totally cured. To her point, the wait didn’t make them any more luxurious or enjoyable than they would have been at an earlier time. And having them unused and in my possession didn’t do anything for me in the meantime.

Except that it kind of did, but I think that’s the dysfunction. I often like things a little more when they’re in their pristine pre-used condition. Just like I like presents most before they are unwrapped.

Here are the most common things I could spend out on:

  • Notebooks
  • Bath supplies
  • Essential oil diffuser blends
  • Markers
  • Cards and stationery
  • Drinks
  • Bars of soap

Do you have a habit of hanging on to special things when you could be putting them to good use instead? What kind of things do you do this with the most?

2 Comments

  1. Lesley Maisey

    Socks! Pristine brand new WHITE socks. I love them and often have a brand new pair or two for months before I wear them. They are never the same as when they’re new…

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