Minimalism teaches that one of something is generally enough. One of the first steps in getting rid of stuff is to free yourself of any duplicates you may have lying around.
Of course, minimalism can mean whatever you want it to mean, be whatever you want it to be. I am trying to embrace minimalism, but I have come to accept that in some cases, FOR ME, one just isn’t enough. Here are just a few things I not only appreciate having more than one of, but think of more than one as a necessity.
My daughter’s lunch box. We use the BentGo kids lunch box with my daughter. I like that is a self contained way to give her a few different things to eat every day. It means fewer reusable containers going to school (and probably getting lost) and fewer things to clean. It also helps me keep portions reasonable–I would probably pack too much if had more space (she almost never eats all I pack as it is).
I first bought a second lunch box just to have in case the first one went missing. My daughter goes to an after school program off site every day and a lot of things get left at school that we can’t go back and look for when I pick her up. For my daughter routine is key, and I wanted to have an extra lunch box in case one went missing, even though I knew we could brown bag it for a few days if that were the case.
Half way through the year I realized I could pack two lunches on the same day and that was a total game changer. Last year having a second lunch box meant less lunch prep for me every week. I appreciated only having to think about making lunch three times a week so much that this year I got a third lunch box so now I only have to make lunches twice a week. I know this might seem like a silly way to spend money, and I’m sure minimalists and frugalists would cringe, but it saves me time and gives me peace of mind, and isn’t that whole point?
Bedding. For everyone. When I first read the “get rid of any extras” advice, my mind immediately went to bedding. Surely they don’t mean sheet sets and mattress protectors, right?! You always have to have extra sheets!
Extra bedding absolutely feels necessary to me. Kids do gross stuff in their beds. Sometimes they throw up. Sometimes their diapers leak. Sometimes they sneeze and spray snot everywhere. Sometimes they spill their before-bed water (even though it’s in a no-spill cup! How?!) There are myriad ways kids can require a complete change of bedding, all the way down to the mattress pad, probably at two in the morning. I have three sets of sheets and two mattress protectors for each of my kids’ twin beds and my own queen (though I generally only use two sets of sheets, the third is for emergencies). If that seems excessive, your house has surely never been hit with a bad stomach bug. Or you haven’t had lice, which requires daily bed changes for up to two weeks.
Work out clothes. I have enough workout bras to last me six workouts. I have enough running outfits for four runs. (At home I usually workout in a bra and a pair of my husband’s boxers so I don’t need any actual clothes.) I only have three sweatbands but I can hand wash those in the sink and they dry in less than 12 hours. I generally keep my older pair of running shoes and use them on the elliptical so I can keep a complete set of running clothes in the car in case the opportunity to run presents itself. I only wash the “permanent press” clothes once every 1.5 weeks (because that is how long it takes to have a full load), and I could never reuse workout clothes between washings (they smell so bad!) I definitely need a good amount of running and workout clothes.
“Lounge wear” (including sweatshirts). I need to have enough loungewear to get me through one to one and half weeks while respecting my
excessively inflexible need desire to wear clothing that match my body’s cleanliness (see last week’s post). This also applies to sweatshirts, though I’m able to wear them without adhering to the cleanliness rules, probably because they go over another shirt. I tried to par down my sweatshirts, but I still have four of them. The thing is, I wear a sweatshirt most nights, all year round (Yay for frigid San Francisco summers?) so four hoodies doesn’t seem that extreme to me. I also wear them out a lot. I have one from my: alma matar, current school, daughter’s school, and husband’s organization (that one is actually his, but I kind of stole it from him because it’s extra big and incredibly soft). Sweatshirts were specifically mentioned in more than one “get rid of extra” articles I’ve read, but I just can’t par my collection down any further. I love me a good, comfy hoody and I wear them all the time.
Backpacks. I didn’t think I’d need two backpacks when my daughter started Kindergarten, but then we ended up getting a second one (thanks in-laws!) and I was really thankful to have it on those mornings when my daughter’s water bottle randomly decided to leak all over the place before we even got out the door. Now we always keep two backpacks and while we mostly use one of them, the other is needed on occasion.
Nap Mats. My husband takes our son to preschool on the bus. It’s hard enough to manage a 2.5-year-old in his nice suit without a lot of other stuff, so Monday mornings with the nap mat were really challenging. I got a second nap mat so I could leave it on Friday afternoons when I picked up the dirty one, allowing my husband an easier trip on Monday mornings. I’m sure we’ll be even more appreciative of the extra nap map now that our son isn’t wearing diapers. I also always appreciate when I have a little leeway when it comes to getting things laundered.
Kitchen utensils. My husband is in charge of all things kitchen, and he’s not exactly prompt when it comes to getting the dishes done. Sometimes I just don’t want to wash every single thing I need to make dinner. I like to have extras of most things in the kitchen, with the exception of appliances that require counter space and/or need to be plugged in. So when we got a Vita.mix (thanks mom!) I got rid of the Magic Bullet. But when we got a new rectangular pan for the middle range on our stove, I didn’t get rid of the smaller one that came with the stove itself.
And those are just a few things that I proudly own more than one of. I’m sure I could think of more, but it’s late and this is already a ridiculously long post. So I’ll leave it at that, and invite you to tell me what you have more than one of, or when you think just one is enough.