When I was younger, whenever I was given a perishable gift, I would always save it for “a special occasion”. Bath soaps, chocolate, candles – all of them kept in their packaging until an event of important enough significance came up for me to use them. The problem is, that day never came, and so bath soaps, chocolate, and candles have expired through the years (can candles and bath soaps expire? I’m not sure… they can certainly go a bit weird. The chocolate expired, in any case).
I’m not just talking about perishable goods, either! What about those super fancy wine glasses, or the wedding china you never use? They all fall into this category too – they may not be perishable, but using them increases the chance they’ll break and need to be replaced, and so often they end up never getting used at all.
My point is, that “special day” never comes. So stop saving everything for a special day, and use it now.
What’s the worst thing that could happen?
I feel like the reason people save up their fancy perishable goods is that they don’t want to suddenly be in the perfect situation to use them, and not be able to because they’ve run out. Well, I have good news and I have bad news.
The bad news is that you’ll most likely never come to such a momentous occasion, thereby never using the products; and if you own something and never use it, there’s a strong argument saying you shouldn’t really have bought it in the first place, because what’s the point? On top of that, if an occasion really is important enough to finally crack open that champagne you’ve been saving for several years, it’s a sure fire way to put too much pressure on the evening and ensure maximum disappointment.
The good news is this means you can use these products whenever you like.
“Running out” is a good thing
I like to see it as a good thing if I run out of my expensive perfume, or if I managed to use an entire tub of fancy body scrub. This stuff is designed to last for a while, and to be honest, it’s more likely that I won’t run out than that I will. I own about 12 bottles of perfume currently, and I’ve only ever run out of a bottle once in my life (Beauty by Calvin Klein, in case anyone’s wondering). My bottles have literally lasted me 10 years. To most people, that would signify that I probably own too much. There’s just no point in owning so many bottles that you never run out. Similarly, if I only owned one bottle and I hadn’t run out in 10 years, I would still own too much perfume. There’s literally no point in owning products you don’t use. So I don’t monitor how much perfume I wear – I simple wear it whenever I’m feeling it. Which brings me to my main point…
Running out is a good thing! It means the product was well-loved. It means you got a lot of use out of it and at the end of the day, that’s why we own things to begin with; to use them productively. If you buy a fancy box of chocolates and never eat it, did you ever really own them to begin with? Asking the deep questions over here.
“I can always buy more”
OK, so we’ve established that there’s no point in owning fancy things unless you’re going to use them, and that running out is a positive thing. How do we ensure we actually use them? My method has worked for years. I simply tell myself “I can always buy more”. If I use so much perfume that an entire bottle runs out, worst comes to the worst I can buy another bottle. It lasts a long time, and clearly it’s a sign I like it enough that it’s worth it.
This is generally quite a good mantra because a) you’re unlikely to actually use up really expensive products to the point where you can’t afford to replace them, and b) even if you can’t afford it, you can save it for your next Christmas or birthday present list.
However, there are cases where it really is too expensive to replace an item all the time. Suppose you’re hooked on a particularly expensive hand soap (Molton Brown, I’m looking at you), or a fancy makeup item. The entire point of fancy things is that they’re not just everyday items – they’re a little bit of luxury. And so, by definition, they’re not always affordable.
How do you navigate this, when you really can’t “always buy more”? How often should you use these items? What if you genuinely can’t afford to buy those chocolates every week, but left to your own devices, that’s definitely how often you’d eat them?
The importance of little holidays
Birthdays, anniversaries, new year’s eve, valentine’s day… these are all examples of “little important days”. Many people don’t like to make a big fuss, and particularly Valentine’s day seems to be generally hated by everyone. But these little holidays do exist, and given the fact that they do, they can be great excuses for opening that expensive bottle of wine or using that face mask you’ve been saving. There are many, many “little occasions” if you care to look for them. I’m pretty sure I found a minimum of 3 separate occasions to celebrate the “end of my Ph.D”, and another several occasions to celebrate being accepted into music college. If something is particularly momentous, you could easily justify celebrating it multiple times, or over multiple days.
This is quite a good solution to the problem above. Save your fancy little luxuries for “special occasions”, but make sure to have special occasions quite often. Find as many little holidays, or little reasons to celebrate, as you can. And if there genuinely isn’t a reason to celebrate, make something up. Create a new tradition in your life – the first Friday of the month is a “spa day”, where you light your favourite candles and use your most luxurious bath products, for example. You can even pick things that aren’t official “special occasions”; bank holidays, the summer solstice, the change from summer to winter time, or even celebrate a really beautiful day outside.
The important thing is to stop holding out; stop waiting. The moment is now! The more reasons you can find to celebrate, the more there will be. And the more special days you can find, the more special your life will be.