Posted by: navalanche | September 26, 2012

Spare room project – Rebate regrets

As the only clear area in the spare room is at the center of the room, I decided to work through the clutter in a circular fashion, left to right.

The first project involved sorting boxes full of rebated items.

It helps to note that once upon time, I was a rebate addict.  I obsessively collected items that were free or less than free after rebate.  I filled my closets and after they were filled, I filled boxes and dresser drawers with these items.  It didn’t matter to me that I had enough toothpaste to last me over the next twenty years, I was planning on have teeth to brush for a very long time.

I never considered that I had a problem, I just needed more space.  I kept stocking up.  I bought things that I had no use for like denture cleaner because it was free.

Note:  As a challenge, one year I collected rebate items from January 1 to December 21 and presented them to Joel for Christmas.  I can’t find the pictures but it took me four days to wrap everything in old Sunday comics and road maps.  I’ll write about that when I find the pictures and when I uncover the rest of the rebated items hidden in my house.

Then long story short, I started a new job with excessive overtime and I refused change my lifestyle.  I never slept and before long I became ill.  Recuperation took a very long time and during this period, I had little to no energy.

I stopped rebating but I never dealt with all the clutter.

One of the places I had stored items was in my spare room.  That area had been rebate central where I did all the paperwork for the rebates.  I would keep the products in boxes in the room until I received my checks and then I would take the items and store them elsewhere.

As I stopped rebating so abruptly, I had left two boxes full of products that were in processing and one box that I hadn’t sorted.  This is the box of items that I was waiting for rebate checks.

And this is the box of items that I had never found a home for.  It’s the box under the Dell printer.

All together, it looked like this.

I decided to sort them into piles of like items.

Many of the items were out of date as it was purchased between 5 and 7 years ago.

The first group was hair products with no date codes, I decided to keep some of them and give all the rest.

The second group was health and beauty products.  About 25% of the items were expired.

The next group was mostly cold and pain relief.  50% of the items were out of date.

The last group was various over the counter products.  All but a few items were expired.

In the past, I ignored expiration dates.  Not only was it a bad habit, I don’t have room for all these items.  Instead, I threw all of them in the trash.  That alone cut the pile in half.  I’m going to check my closet to see if I need any of the other products but I’m sure that most of it can be donated.

What a waste of time, effort and at one time perfectly good products.  It’s a good lesson for me to keep what I need and purge the rest.


  1. Wow that is a great clean-out! You managed that really well.

    • Thanks! It went better than I thought it could and helped me on my next project.

      • I read this blog post on BlogHer. An interesting perspective on why someone accumulates. I have NO idea if this could apply to you but I thought even if it doesn’t, you’d find it interesting:

      • I really liked her post. I particularly liked her statement “I consider my accumulation of stuff a symptom of poverty”. When I was very young, my father made a good living but I barely remember those times. My mother secretly (and not so secretly) drank and gambled away everything of value, except her wedding ring, and hid the fact that she wasn’t even paying the taxes on the house. Then my father lost his job. We had nothing but bills. My mother was too proud to take anything from others, except the government cheese, food stamps and cash from relatives (which she spent on beer). The electric and phone company didn’t shut us off but we often went without heat because there wasn’t enough money for heating oil. My clothes were so threadbare in middle school that when they split, I was sent to the nurses office for the remainder of the day as even the Home Ec teacher could not put them back together. The good thing was that everyone around us struggled, our family just had the least. I don’t dwell on the past but I think that poverty carries with it a stigma that bubbles beneath the surface and speaking for myself alone, affects your behavior. I haven’t blogged about my clothing issues yet, but it’s one of my biggest problems.

      • What an amazing story. I really believe the key to figuring everything out about us is self-awareness. If you can at least get a grip on WHY you do things, even if the truth is uncomfortable or you feel embarrassing, that’s the hardest part.

      • I agree but I certainly have an awful lot of “why’s” to work through 🙂

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