I’ve been on a pantry kick lately—tackling a number of client pantries around the Triangle. Truly, this is one of my favorite spaces to organize. It’s a contained space, can be transformed in just a day, and there are some fabulous tools that aren’t crazy expensive that can take a pantry from disaster area to downright Pinterest worthy in no time. However, I’ve noticed a trend. Many of my clients seem prepared for a zombie apocalypse (or at least a VERY LONG snow event) and it’s wreaking havoc in the pantry.

Wholesale stores (e.g. Costco, Sams, BJs) certainly have their plus sides. If you’re hosting a huge family for the holidays, or throwing a large party, run a restaurant or you have 11 kids, the quantities might make sense. There are some items that we all tend to use up and if you have some extra storage room (raise your hand if you have a dedicated Costco closet), then good on you! However, for many of us, myself included, my pantry and home storage is a bit more limited. Shopping at these stores just doesn’t make sense on a regular basis. My relatively average-size family of 4 just can’t use this stuff up that quickly. A vat of mayonnaise or a 6-gallon pack of olive oil just isn’t going to get consumed before it goes bad. I’m better off buying smaller sizes at my local grocery store.

Also, when shopping wholesale, it’s easy to get sucked in by price. If the best thing about an item is the price, then it probably isn’t a great idea to purchase it. Wholesale stores have a way of making us think we NEED stuff that we truly don’t, just because it appears to be cheap. If you are going to shop in bulk, be sure and have a plan before you enter the store. Go with a firm list of things you KNOW you’ll use, and use up within a reasonable amount of time. Think about your storage space in advance and only purchase things you have space for. Make sure items are kept in a space where you’ll see them, and therefore use them. Stashing things in various places all over the house often means it’s out of sight and out of mind. You might end up accidentally repurchasing items because you don’t know what you have.

I’m not a wholesale store hater (their hot dogs are really good!), but if it’s getting in the way of an organized, uncluttered life, it might be time to take stock of what you truly use and need and have space for. And consider buying in smaller quantities that don’t get in the way of the rest of your life.