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Why Can’t I Throw It Away?

it is hard to toss unfinished productsMary can be found at Farm Girl Cook’n where she shares some of her favorite recipes and introduces her readers to life on the farm. This post was originally featured there. 

As I was getting ready for work the other morning, my husband, in a very supportive and loving way — really it was — commented that maybe I could find room for one more bottle of shampoo in the shower. I tossed an endearing gesture back at him and continued my morning rituals.

It wasn’t until I was in the shower, looking at the bottles of shampoo and conditioner, that it just about hit me in the face. I had six bottles of shampoo in there with me. SIX.

And so, I asked myself, ‘Why, for the love of Pete, can’t I throw things away?’

Yes, I had just brought home some heavenly lavender-mint shampoo from my beautician. And yes, I still had some left in the bottles I had purchased the last time I saw her. Some citrus bouquet scent, I think. But then I noticed I still had dregs in the shampoo and conditioner from the time before last. Ugh, he was right. There really isn’t any reason to keep all those bottles of almost gone products … is there?

I don’t consider myself a packrat, nor am I living in an episode of hoarders, but that morning the light went on. I knew that in every drawer and every closet I would find nearly empty bottles, boxes, makeup containers that I knew I would use up in an emergency. Not only would I find these products, but under my sinks I have stashed hand- and dish-soap containers with just enough to cover the bottom of the bottle. Why, why, why?

Is it because I was a baby boomer who grew up thinking that there would be a nuclear winter and I would need all the shampoo and makeup I could find? Or maybe because I was raised by parents of the Great Depression where butter tubs and bread sacks would save us from starvation? Or could it be that I really just like the experience of opening something new — a new fragrance, a new color — and with one little whiff  all of my good intentions of finishing the old things up were gone? When I made the switch I had mentally moved on.

Honestly? I have no idea why I do this. However, I can admit that it does pain me to throw away anything that is not completely gone. So – what to do now?

Until I come up with a better idea my solution is to hide them under the sink until one day my children have to clean it out and put it on a hay rack at our estate auction. 

How about you, reader, do you hold onto things that aren’t quite finished? Please let me know I’m not alone on this journey!

Mary Lovstad

I am an Iowa Farm girl who aspires to write a cookbook featuring vintage and favorite recipes from my family and friends. I'd like to bring my audience the art of cooking like your mother, grandmother, or cooking inspiration. Cooking isn’t my only passion; I love gardening, anything vintage, photography, and travel. After many years teaching and working in the field of Information Technology, I am finally doing something creative and fun. In preparation for a “hopeful” early retirement I am trying my hand at being a food blogger, travel writer and amateur photographer. Instagram: farmgirlcookn

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Regina L. L. Wells

Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

Mary, you are not alone. My mother was a child of the Depression (and her father acted like it never ended), so I have developed the same tendencies. Fortunately, my Mom was also notorious for losing her mind with all of the stuff around and would purge anything and everything in her path on a whirlwind rampage. I've inherited that trait also, so I don't keep the collection of partial empties long. I've also gotten better about sticking with what works except for when I'm looking for a new product in a particular category or finding things I want to try so that I can review (which, sometimes, leads to me finding new favorite products and new partial empties that I've abandoned-LOL!).


Wednesday 6th of April 2016

That whirlwind thing is what keeps me in pretty good shape most of the time -- just out of no where I get a cleaning bug and I make good progress...Glad you can relate!

Alana Mautone (@RamblinGarden)

Friday 11th of March 2016

I don't save almost empty containers, but what I do (and it drives my husband crazy) is that I will keep a tube of toothpaste, or foot cream, and milk every last little drop out, with the full container sitting right next to it. It's almost a point of pride with me. Sometimes the almost empty container is there for weeks as I work out the last of its contents. (But I do hoard other things - like books and other reading material).


Wednesday 6th of April 2016

Oh don't even start with the books -- LOL Thanks for reminding me about those...

Carol Graham

Tuesday 8th of March 2016

I understand both sides of this issue. My husband throws NOTHING away. After 44 years of marriage, I have found some tricky solutions. He doesn't even throw garbage away most of the time. I usually ask him if he is saving the candy wrapper for some reason. He knows me well enough to smile and say nothing LOL. His desktop is a disaster so about once a month I gather all the bits of paper and sit down on a Sunday afternoon and go through them him . If I merely ask him if he needs all the stuff on top of his desk, he will inevitably say YES. But of course, we know that is not true.

On the other hand, I throw everything away that no longer has value. I go through my closet about once a month and purge. Take everything I have not worn in a year and give it away. As far as products are concerned, I use the same products that I have sold for 35 years so there is never any left over.

So.......I am afraid I can't help you. I have no idea why my husband keeps everything and I shudder to think what it would be like if he lived alone.

Mary Lovstad

Tuesday 8th of March 2016

It is a conundrum -- my desk is organized, I color code my calendars and closet, yet I have the need to hang on to those last dregs -- just incase I need them...

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